I hate making general statements like, “we’ve all been in these types of relationships before” because we all haven’t. But the title of this article probably applies to most of us in some relationship we’ve had. And this obviously isn’t the “be-all end-all” answer to whatever you’ve went through or are going through if this applies to you. All I can do is give my thoughts about what happens when we allow someone to leave us hanging by a thread.
I wasn’t always the best at ending relationships when I knew they needed to be ended. Something about familiarity and being comfortable made it hard to leave. But what I was good at was learning from those experiences and being able to recognize the detriments that come from those relationships, even if I stayed too long or knew I shouldn’t have jumped in in the first place. But as Alanis Morissette once said, “you live, you learn”.
When someone is giving you just enough to keep you hanging on, you begin to accept less than what you really want and need. In other words, you settle. At first it may seem like you’re compromising and giving…which are definitely things you need to do in a relationship, but if you find that you’re constantly allowing the other person to get away with not reciprocating or not meeting your standards for happiness, it’s time to have a serious talk or let go. I’m not saying that things will always be equal in terms of who’s giving what and who’s sacrificing this or that…but if they are only giving you what you need when they can tell that you’re at the end of your rope – if they are barely giving enough to keep you around, it’s time to walk away. Your needs are important – you deserve to have those needs met time after time…not just every now and then.
Back to what I said earlier about being able to meet your standards for happiness. This is oh so important. If you start lowering your standards for your own happiness in a relationship, eventually you lose sight of yourself. You lose sight of who you are. You lose sight of what’s important to you. And before you know it, you don’t even know what makes you happy. Worse than that…you become apathetic, things pretty much stop affecting you all together. That is never acceptable. Don’t allow someone else to bring you to this point. It shouldn’t be where you only feel happy every now and then. If they aren’t a constant source of joy in your life, cut them out.
Unfortunately, relationships like this don’t only affect you, and you alone. It starts affecting other aspects of your life. If you keep waiting for the day that the relationship fairy will bop your significant other over the head…it’s not going to happen. And your entire life will suffer. You’ll take the pain and resentment with you to your job. You’ll think about it while you’re out with friends trying to enjoy yourself. Your family will sense that things seem off. And eventually you’ll be so unhappy that it becomes the center of your world – the only thing you can focus on. You’ll have full-fledged debates in your head about whether or not you should stay. You’ll mull over the good and the bad and every possible outcome, and you’ll convince yourself that eventually they’ll give you what you need…even though you know it’s time to move on. If you’re the type of person who likes to talk to get things off your chest, it will become the only thing you talk about. And people will get tired of it. They’ll get tired of giving you the same advice…because you never take it. Don’t let this happen. Leave before you find yourself wholly consumed.
Most importantly, you should leave because relationships like this start eating away at your confidence. You’ll start second-guessing everything about yourself. You’ll begin to wonder if you’re “good enough” or “worthy”. You’ll ask yourself if you should have given more…done more…accepted less. Please don’t fall prey to this. You didn’t do anything wrong by having needs. If they can’t meet those needs consistently, and you find yourself accepting less than what makes you happy, don’t waste anymore of your time and energy. Find someone who not only can meet those needs, but who also wants to meet those needs. After all, nothing is more beautiful than confidence.