Good Day, Dear Reader,
Today I’d like to talk to you about when it’s time to let a relationship go. We are talking about all types of relationships be they romantic, platonic, work related, or even familial.
A hard truth that is often a painful pill to swallow is that at some point, what was once good for you outgrows its usefulness and becomes something that holds you back. In terms of relationships, this can look like anything from a general lack of support to being caught up in a toxic (romantic or platonic) relationship that only seems to block you, tear you down, or take your energy.
Do you know what I mean?
When is it time to let a friendship go?
Years ago, I had a girlfriend who I would hang-out with from time to time. At the end of our visits, I began to notice that I would have a headache and feel drained. I began to pay attention to our dynamic and what I noticed was that whenever we would be talking about something she would always say something to “one-up” me. For example, if I said that I went for a hike the day before, she would respond with, “Oh yeah! I’ve been to that spot! Me and my boyfriend used to go there all the time.” No matter what I would say she would tie it to something she had done in the past with a boyfriend in the past and how great it was.
This kind of conversation can seem benign on the surface but when you start paying attention to people who talk like this, you quickly realize just how tedious, tiresome, and boring this kind of talk is. In a group of people, when one person monopolizes the conversation in this way by always bringing the subject back to themselves, you will notice people in the group shifting in their seats, averting their eyes, or zoning out in some way.
Few enjoy the company of a self-centered person.
Eventually, I began spending less and less time with this friend.
I use this example to get you to think about anyone in your life who may be like that.
More recently, I was speaking with a friend and she was explaining how she was noticing that many of her relationships, particularly those at work, were very one-sided. She found herself reaching out to her coworkers who had become friends and offering them her support and not seeing any of that support returned. She was the one stopping by their offices to say, ‘Hi!’ or see if they needed help with anything. Many would take her up on her offers for help but none would return it. She had come to a place where that was no longer acceptable. She wanted reciprocity and if her coworkers weren’t willing to do that then she decided to distance herself from them.
I agree. If your relationship feels one-sided where you are the one showing up, offering support, and staying in touch more than the other person then you are in an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship. Such an imbalance can only foster resentment and anger or at best indifference. You won’t stay interested for long in a person who shows little interest in you. Eventually, the connection will dwindle into nothing.
That is unless both people are invested in nurturing it.
The failing of relationships lies partly in one or both parties taking it for granted. This can be disastrous in friendship and devastating in a romantic relationship.
Our closest bonds must be continually nurtured with care, attentiveness, and appreciation.
But what if the relationship that has soured is in your family?
When family ties no longer support you, when do you cut them?
I have come to see that the old adage, “Blood is thicker than water” doesn’t hold water. Some times our blood relatives can be the most problematic for us.
For instance, I had a counseling client who had come to see a very destructive pattern in her family – holding grudges. She traced it to her father’s side of the family and saw how that behavior of holding grudges had filtered down to her siblings. It was so severe that few of the siblings had any contact with each other at all. And when they did talk it would just degrade into vicious and hurtful words.
At some point, she had to make a decision for herself that no matter how much she would like for her family to be close and bury those hatchets, it most likely wasn’t going to happen. And if she wanted to preserve her peace of mind the best thing she could do was to wish them well and go on living her life.
It’s never easy and often quite painful to discover that your family ties are not supportive of you. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make peace with that. I heard someone say, “Family is where there is love.” That rang so true to me.
Unfortunately, sometimes we are born into a family that does not love us, does not know how to love us, and does not want to learn how to love us. In those cases, as soon as we are able, we must create a family of our own. And that can be your friends, your pets, your spouse or partner, or whomever you choose to be your “family of choice” rather than your family of origin.
Your family is where you are loved and where you are safe to love.
So far we’ve talked about friends and family. Let’s move on to romantic relationships.
When is it time to let go of a romantic relationship?
This one can be a hard one to see. Usually, we are so deep in our relationships that we can become blind to the indicators that things aren’t right.
This can be particularly true of those who have a strong sense of loyalty or a value system that says to work things out rather than bail out.
We can find ourselves struggling in bad relationships for far too long.
So how do you know when it’s time to end it?
Ask yourself some questions –
- Are you two fighting a lot?
- Are you avoiding one another?
- Do you feel better when you are apart?
- Do you feel emotionally supported, cared for, respected, and loved? If not, how long have you felt this way?
- Is this relationship supporting you in reaching your life goals?
- Do you feel like the relationship is keeping you from doing, having, or being what you want?
- Do you think about leaving but are afraid to? Perhaps it’s financial? Or perhaps it’s fear of loneliness?
- Is there any kind of abuse happening – physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial?
How did you do with those questions? What came up for you?
Did you notice that I did not ask about infidelity?
There is a reason for this.
I have seen that infidelity in marriage is not a reason in and of itself to divorce. It is generally a sign of other problems in the marriage. And if the couple is willing to work on those issues then they can usually repair the damage caused by the infidelity and move past it.
If you are not married, however, and involved exclusively with someone and they are unfaithful then that is probably a pretty good sign that person won’t be monogamous in marriage and its best to let them go.
Ending a relationship can be one of the most emotionally painful experiences a person can go through. It can leave you feeling like a part of you is missing. But if you are in a relationship that is bringing you down rather than building you up and you’ve talked to your partner about it and they are unwilling to make suitable changes then the best thing you can do is respect yourself enough not to put up with it any longer. Cut your losses and end it. It will hurt but you will recover.
Lastly, I want to talk about work.
When is it time to leave that old job behind?
First, you need to figure out your career goals. What do you want for yourself in terms of a career and lifestyle? Is your current job helping you achieve that? Maybe your current position isn’t but is there a place somewhere else in the company that might? If so, talk to your boss or supervisor about your career goals and work with them to create a career development plan that will put you on track for promotion or transfer.
If you answered no to the above questions then it might be time to take a good hard look at your life and where it’s going. If you’re at a dead-end job, find a way out. Start applying elsewhere. Take classes to improve your skill set and make yourself a stronger candidate for a new job. Start talking to people in your social circles about jobs. See if they know of any openings that might interest you.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. Life rewards those who are brave enough to risk going after what they really want.
I wish to leave you with this thought: Don’t settle for any relationship that does not feed you in positive ways whether it’s a friend, family member, partner, or job.
Go where you are nurtured.
Go where you are supported.
Go where you are loved, respected, and appreciated.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Be sure to join me next time when we will talk about the power of your thoughts. You can create exactly the life you want for yourself. It all depends on your thoughts. We’ll go deeper into this next time.
O.k. my friends, until next we meet, take care!
Peace unto you.
Peace in your mind.
Peace in your body.
Peace in your surroundings.
Peace to all.
May there be peace all over the world forever.
© 2019 Tamara Jefferies, Wellness Expert and Holistic Life Coach
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