Bridges: the link between relationships. They give us connection, they give us meaning, they provide a path for all of our emotions. They stay strong with our time, dedication, and above all, our honesty. Whether it’s love, friendship, or family, we devote a huge chunk of our life towards building a bridge between two hearts. And it’s difficult as hell.
A foundation takes work — hours of connecting, communicating, and experiencing the ups and downs of life. We are all kinds of emotional in front of the ones we love. We ugly cry, we pour our hearts out, and bare our souls. We place an immense amount of trust in another person who has the ability to fuck us over.
And sometimes, maybe more than often, that happens. One of us screws up (big time).
Sometimes the bridge we’ve built is unstable. There are cracks that we can’t keep covering up. It’s never easy to say goodbye to someone in your life without feeling like you are giving up—but sometimes, it’s necessary. Here’s how I knew when to burn that bridge to the ground… and when to try to build it up again.
Feel that bridge crumble
When the foundation starts to crumble, recognize it. Let it knock you off your feet. If something feels off, it probably is. Is the relationship unhealthy for either of you? Is the effort one-sided? Has the status of your heart changed? Did honesty come under question? The first step is to figure out what it is — and recognize that it’s toxic.
Burn baby burn
Burning bridges is a necessary heartache. It forces us to take a step back and readjust, which can actually be the healthiest decision for both sides. It’s often impossible to see the full effects of the damage the relationship caused until you’re out of it. So, throw that match. Eliminate the negative and start fresh — and prepare for it to hurt like hell.
Work through your shit
If you’re going to burn a bridge, make it count. Fully disconnect from the relationship and check in with yourself. Don’t look for a replacement. Acknowledge the relationships you have in your life that are empowering, the ones that have your best intentions at heart, the ones you may have left alone for a while. Dedicate more of your time and effort to them — and this includes the relationship you have with yourself.
Rebuild and restructure
People enter, leave, and re-enter our lives for a reason. Embrace reconnection — a time to start fresh. Those ashes left over, they can be built upon. Being away from someone only brings stronger clarity. You know yourself better, and you know whether they fit into your life now (and vice versa). If you feel that the relationship can begin again, then it can.
Communicate with your lover, friend, parent, sibling, coworker, whomever. Ask questions and acknowledge that the past was rocky. Take the time to move slowly and remember why you built that bridge in the first place. Build it stronger this time and make it more meaningful. It might be the same, it might be different, one of you might fuck up again (and again), but the people who are meant to be in our lives always seem to find a way back.