Anyone who has been in a serious relationship knows how they can consume you. What often starts as a random meeting between two separate beings 10 or more months prior, transforms over months and years into an intensely connected dynamic between two halves in love. Before coming into this, you were your own, singular individual. And while you maintain your individuality and independence, it also gets to the point where you simply can’t contemplate doing life without your other half.
This works while things are going well. While both partners still feel and experience love, connection, passion, respect, and desire, it is a mutually beneficial arrangement that encourages the growth of all involved.
Yet when any or all of these components of a healthy relationship begin to dissipate, it no longer feels so good.
When you’ve been in a serious relationship for a long while, it seems sometimes that it becomes all you know. When it’s healthy and going well, this can be a good thing. But when things start to sour, it’s as if a mix of despair, stagnation, and entrapment flood your thoughts and stain your mind like a grease stain on a new shirt, as the world as you’ve known it begins to unravel. You sense those thoughts and feelings are there. You know you’ll have to face them. But a sizable portion of your being doesn’t want to.
When a relationship turns bad, your mind will run in a few different directions. First, you’ll question whether your reasons for being unhappy in the relationship are valid. Remember: They are. Questioning your world and your surroundings is a difficult thing to accomplish, and it’s counterintuitive for the mind to do. But you know whether or not you’re happy, and that’s one instinct that can always be trusted.
Your mind will run then run to whether leaving is really worth it. “Will the outside world really be better than what I am experiencing now?” “Are there really greener pastures on the other side, or is what I have now as good as it gets?” You are not worth sacrificing. You are important. If your wants and needs are not being met, then there is something better out there. Whether you’re unhappy because you and your partner just aren’t a good match, you’ve just grown apart, or your partner is abusive in one way or another, it does not change the fact that you are not getting what you need. You deserve to have your needs met, and you deserve to be able to find a person and a situation who will meet your needs. And fear should not be allowed to stop you from being happy.
The last place your mind is likely to run is to a place of self-doubt: You will begin to question yourself. Over the past few months or years, you’ve meshed yourself together with another individual; assuming your relationship was at some point or another healthy, you got used to the give and take that is the basis of a serious relationship. Whether that is still there or whether the give has shifted to one side or another, you become scared because you’re contemplating doing something you haven’t done in a while. You’re contemplating having to relearn giving to yourself and taking from yourself. And that concept is frightening. The world is frightening. And even acknowledging on a superficial level that you will have to learn to manage your world by yourself again is frightening. But you can do it. You’ve done it before, and you will do it again.
When all is said in done, if you’re not happy where you are, don’t continue sacrificing yourself in the name of what is comfortable. If your relationship is not working for you and not helping you grow, have the courage to walk away and find something else that does work. You are strong, and you can do it. You deserve it.
Just don’t be afraid to leave.