Ending a relationship is never easy. And often choosing to end it is just as challenging as being the one who’s told “it’s over.” When we’re the person who’s leaving a relationship, we often face a lot of guilt and doubt. Even if all signs point to an exit being in our best interest, having 100% certainty is elusive.
There are many reasons for this. First, we’ve become comfortable in the relationship and leaving it presents a great deal of uncertainty – which our ego doesn’t like so much. Second, we may be running some co-dependent patterns and even if we know the relationship is unhealthy, it feels rather addictive because we have trouble truly being on our own.
And then there are the times when we love the other person and see the good in him or her but know that being in the relationship is no longer for our Highest Good. These are the hardest relationships to leave.
There’s a lot of self-doubt when we feel we don’t have a “good” reason to leave, yet at the same time we know deep down that our values and the direction we’re headed in, no longer align. We feel selfish, guilty and often end up staying out of obligation.
But is obligation love? Is staying out of guilt truly not selfish?
Sometimes what seems like a selfish choice is truly a self-honoring choice. And sometimes what we think will hurt a person, will actually help them more.
That being said, I’m all for working on a relationship – no relationship is perfect, and every single relationship takes effort. However, some relationships come with “expiration dates” — meaning that you’ve grown as far as you can together and it’s time to move on.
It also takes an equal commitment from both people to work on the relationship. If one person in the relationship stops working on themselves and/or the love they share for too long, then distance is created. The more distant two people become, the harder it is to come back together.
Here’s the thing: there’s no excuse for becoming lazy or disconnected in a relationship. Sure, we all go through tough times where more patience may be required from our partner. But if we start to use life circumstances as a scapegoat for not showing up in our relationships, then we’re not being 100% responsible for our 50% of the relationship.
If you’ve struggled with a relationship expiration date and/or with figuring out the “right” time to leave a relationship, I’d love to hear your comments and questions!