I will be the first person to stand up and give props to someone who is just ready to let go of a relationship. Any relationship. A relationship with a family member like your mother, father, brother, daughter, son, grandmother, etc. A relationship with your best friend that you’ve known since 1st grade. A relationship with a significant other. No person is bound to any relationship no matter what kind of promises you’ve made or contracts you’ve signed. If it’s time to go – even if for the simplest and simultaneously the most complex reason of you’re just not happy in that relationship anymore – you can go.
For me, leaving is the easiest thing. Running away is my instinct. Avoiding the conflict. Just waiting for it to all go away so I don’t have to deal. That comes naturally for me.
Staying. Fighting. Confronting the mess. Living in the muck and mire. Finding healing within all the hurt. Those things are incredibly hard.
Love is not something you fall into or out of. It’s not a hole you accidentally collapse into. Love is something you choose or choose not to do. It’s your choice. I live by that. I breathe by that. I tattooed that on my arm – but even I sometimes forget that.
I once saw this post by Word Porn on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “Great love is not found, it’s made.” And that just also really resonated with me because it’s basically another way of saying that love is something you do and make … not something you can catch or lose.
I know and swear by the idea that no one can make me happy except for myself.
When you hear a couple who have been together for a long period of time reflect upon their relationship – you will inevitably hear them talk about bad times they’ve been through. They will tell you how things got incredibly tough. They may say that there were years of tough times. And honestly, I just always glazed over comments like that. I just didn’t understand why you would live and go through something .. some vague circumstance that was so awful for the two of you – yet you stuck it out. You’re still together. And things are better.
I think it’s because so often when talking about a romantic partnership, you let the romance part get in the way of the partnership part which is actually more important and what gives your relationship longevity.
The thing is we give our friendships so much more grace. We have friends that we’ve known for 10 or more years wherein there were some extremely rough patches, but we can look back on that and laugh and smile about how we’ve grown together and we’re still here together …everyday…living in, nurturing, and growing our friendship.
The generations of people who are my age (early 30’s) and down are experiencing committed relationships in such a different way than our parents or even our older brothers and sisters. We move in together years before we are even ready to talk about marriage. We have kids without a thought to future commitment to each other. We quickly and often times without thought or foresight establish a bond to each other financially and emotionally with very little concern for where it’s all going.
We’ve also got access to pretty much anyone we could want to be with. Geography and travel time no longer stand in our way. The internet has put the world at our fingertips and allowed us to easily establish and grow relationships that span oceans, continents, and time zones. There are no limits.
So then what? What do you do when you’ve made these great leaps of faith just to be with this human being you felt you couldn’t live without? What do you do when you move in together after three months of dating, mainly because it was just the most logical and reasonable thing to do in the face of the money you were spending on an apartment you never stayed in anymore? What do you do when you find yourself married to someone just so that they can live where you live and you can be together? What do you when years have passed and now you’ve got this whole life and family together that just kind of happened along the way?
What do you do if you made one of those decisions, but now…now you’re not happy in love and you don’t know why?
You may have not made intentional plans for the way your relationship looks today. You may not know what to do with each other so you lash out. You might just be tired and are searching for things that you think are making you happy.
Other people – other things – they will not make you happy. YOU have to decide to be happy in the place that you are standing. YOU have to do things to make yourself happy. Sometimes that’s as easy as changing your perspective…getting a different view…letting go.
But sometimes – it’s harder than that. Sometimes it’s realizing that you love your life and the people you share it with. The person you share it with…and knowing that they feel the same way. And then making yourself happy. Deciding to be happy. Moving past the hard stuff. Being hopeful of the future. Allowing yourself to see beyond all the ugly and hateful things. Choosing your words wisely. Speaking in love, not anger. Being kind.
Allow yourself to be happy. Stop exhausting yourself by searching for your happiness in other people. Acknowledging what’s standing right in front of you.
Just be happy. Intend to be happy in the everyday moments that make up your life. Nurture the partnerships you want to keep, and fit in as much romance as you can.
No one person can fulfill you forever and always. No one friend. No one significant other. You’ve got to admit and realize that before you can make yourself happy. Before you can be happy. Before you can make great love. Before you can be happy IN love.