Thought Catalog

Sometimes It’s Okay To Walk Away

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girl walking away, finding healing, it's okay to walk away, girl on the street
Sam Foster

I did a fair bit of dating in my 20’s and had a few significant relationships within that time. Most of those relationships ended in someone trampling over my heart, and in all honesty, I should have seen it coming. I married my high school sweetheart at 18 and we became pregnant shortly after. As you can imagine that didn’t end well, and it wasn’t for lack of trying.

It’s hard to navigate a marriage so young, and it’s even more difficult to keep it intact. You all can guess how that ended.

Four years later I found myself in a serious relationship with someone that I pictured spending the rest of my life with. For once, I had a man who didn’t cheat, walk all over me, and treat me like I was disposable. He had a good career, was responsible, and for the most part had a good head on his shoulders. He was significantly older than me, and I liked the stability. We got engaged a year later, and everything was wonderful — until it wasn’t.

“Walking away from a life of sadness and hostility, was one of the bravest things I have ever done.”

Sometimes in a relationship things go stale without you realizing it. You are so busy floating about your lives to recognize that the puzzle pieces aren’t fitting quite right. No matter how hard you try to force it, those pieces are not going to fit together.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t in love; I’m sure he loved me too. Neither of us were happy. Our differences outweighed the good, and eventually, we felt like roommates. I suddenly realized that the man I had invested so much time into, the man I already considered my husband, was never going to be the person I needed him to be. Deep down I knew that I couldn’t be the person he needed either.

Wedding planning brought out the absolute worst in us. We were constantly fighting and stressed. His drinking became a constant burden. The dead silence in our home and our relationship was ripping me apart. As the wedding grew closer, friends began to plan showers, and family started searching for flights; I panicked. In my heart, I knew that I was making a mistake, but at that point, I felt I couldn’t get out. How could I hurt him like that? What would I say to my parents? What would our friends think? I made a commitment, so I needed to stick it out, right?

One night, I met someone that I never imagined would knock me off my feet the way he did. He was like a breath of fresh air in my stagnant life, and I felt like me again. Feeling horrible about what I was doing, made me realize I needed to choose.

Not between two men, but between the life that seemed mapped out for me and the life I knew I was capable of living.

In all reality, the new man in my life had no influence on my decision. He was being relocated by the Air Force, and I knew that our time was ultimately going to come to an end.

However, he did make me realize that I didn’t have to settle, and I was worthy of a love that most people only hope to find. My forever love was out there somewhere, and my fiancé wasn’t it.

Three months before our wedding, I made the most difficult decision I have ever had to make and I walked away. I got my own place and I began to put the pieces of me back together again.

I am happy to say that new man ended up being my forever love. The kind of love that makes you better than you were yesterday.

I use to believe in soulmates, but now I believe in hard work and dedication.

My husband and I did not get to where we are today because fate dropped us in the same bar one night. We got here because we continued to battle the hurdles and fight for our marriage. We got here because this is where we wanted to be.

You have to make the conscious decision to get up every day and fall in love with that person all over again. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it when you find the one worth fighting for.

Now, this is the part where I am sure I will catch a lot of opinions. As much as I love my husband and love our life together, would I walk away if we became so unhappy that we were destroying the people we once fell in love with? Yes! Would I walk away if we realized we were harming our children by staying together? Yes! Marriage is a forever commitment, but that does not mean you have to live a life of unhappiness in order to honor that promise.

Divorcees tend to get a lot of heat from society, saying we took the easy way out. I am here to tell you that divorcing my son’s father, and leaving my ex was not easy. It would have been easier to stay married to his father, rather than go through divorce proceedings, divide up our home, and to forever have to split time with our child.

But we would have been living in unhappiness, and neither of us would have the marriages we have now had we stayed.

It would have been easier to stay with my fiancé and stand on that alter in front of all of our family and friends rather than to break his heart, pack up my things, and say goodbye to the life we had built together. I don’t regret ending that relationship even for a second, but I hope he knows that I did what I thought was right, what I thought was best for everyone involved. What was best for our mutual happiness.

Walking away is not taking the easy way out. Walking away from a life of sadness and hostility was one of the bravest things I have ever done.

It was difficult and scary, heartbreaking and devastating, but it was the right thing to do. I would never want to teach my children that they should live a life of misery because they vowed to stay. I want my children to know that caring for their well-being and their soul is, and should always be, a priority. That love shouldn’t be taken lightly and marriage shouldn’t be thrown away hastily, but if you know you cannot repair the relationship or continue to grow in your marriage, it is, sometimes, okay to walk away. TC mark

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