When you think of the partner that you left and the suffocating guilt begins to claw painfully at your chest, when it begins to rise and burn in your throat, remember this: It is not your fault.
It is not your fault that your partner did not treat you well, that they put you down and upset you.
It is not your fault that your partner refused to give you the love that you deserved.
And it is not your fault that you had to leave because your partner created an unhealthy, unhappy, and toxic relationship.
The relationship did not end because you were not enough or because you were incapable of being enough to make it work. Your mistreatment at the hands of your partner never occurred because you were deficient.
It is not your fault that they hurt you. It is not your fault that they wore you down.
You did not give up on them. You did not bail on them. You protected yourself.
You must breathe in this knowledge and draw it into your heart, and you must truly accept that it is not your fault.
And you must know that you are resilient and powerful and brave. In choosing to no longer be downtrodden and broken—in choosing to leave—you are so brave.
In choosing to leave, you demonstrate self-love.
And it is so difficult.
It is so difficult to have tried so hard to demonstrate and enact love for another person, only to receive disappointment and heartbreak in return. It is so difficult to maintain a relationship that makes you feel small and fragile and voiceless.
But is also so difficult to leave the person you adore, the person you want to share your life and grow old with. To unpick and unravel the life that you have imagined and dreamed of, to let go of that person and the version of your existence which is entwined with theirs, to cut out and cast off part of your heart, it’s soul-shattering.
And yet, so too would staying wear down your soul, noxiously slow and excruciating.
To be broken to the point where you need to leave is not your fault, and to actually take that step and leave is incredibly courageous.
You deserve happiness. You deserve love. And most of all, you deserve a partner who every single day of your life makes sure that you know that you are enough.