It’s so easy to look at a bad relationship from the outside and judge. How could she stay with him? How can she let him treat her that way? It doesn’t make sense.
But I can tell you it’s not that easy. You never really know how it feels until you’re in the middle of it.
Looking back on my past relationships, there were so many signs that I should have ended things, but I blocked them out because that was the easier thing to do. Or so I thought.
I’ve let relationships affect my mental health and my friendships. It’s almost like an addiction. I just couldn’t get enough. Of the fighting and the making up. The good and the bad. I couldn’t let any of it go.
These things are just some of what has come up in my relationships that should’ve been a sign to let go. I’m writing this in hopes that someone in a similar situation might read it and it’ll open their eyes to what’s really happening. That it might shine a light on why they’ve been feeling the way they’re feeling. That they might reach out to someone for help and find a way out of the relationship. If that’s you, I hope hearing these words from the perspective of someone who’s been in your position might help you realize that there’s a way out. Life isn’t meant to be as complicated as this relationship has made it for you.
I write this so that it might give some insight to someone who is struggling to understand why someone close to them is in a relationship like this. I know it was really hard on my friends to see me going through what I was going through and I’m forever grateful for them for sticking through it with me. They also are incredibly strong women and the I-don’t-need-no-man types, so I think it was hard for them to relate to what I was going through. If you’re one of those women, first of all I admire the hell out of you, but I also hope this helps give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be on the inside of one of these relationships.
I also write this as a reminder for myself. So that if I ever find myself feeling these same feelings or experiencing these same thoughts, that I’ll know it’s time. Time to let go.
I’ve also included some of Rupi Kaur’s poems from Milk and Honey that I found just a little too late. These poems put into words the feelings I could never describe myself.
You never feel good enough.
You give yourself entirely to the relationship and it never quite feels like enough.
You love yourself less than when you met him.
The person you’re meant to be with should not constantly be putting you down. When I first started dating my ex I was going through this amazing time of self -exploration. I had just really begun diving deeper into my yoga practice and I was just loving life. Fast forward to a few months into the relationship and the self-criticism began. I was too emotional, too messy, too forgetful. And then I became those things more intensely…more emotional, more messy, more forgetful. Almost like I was giving him reasons to criticize me. I went from this incredibly inspired and happy state to an incredibly dark and self-loathing one. I had become completely derailed from this path of self love.
Love should bring out the best in you, not the worst.
You fight. A lot.
Arguing is a normal part of relationships. Everyone has disagreements. But when it becomes a habit and it becomes an every day thing…that’s not normal. Can you imagine spending the rest of your life like that? Stuck in an infinite cycle of fighting and making up? No one should have to endure that emotional pain. Know that it doesn’t have to be your normal.
You’re constantly defending your relationship.
If you are truly happy, you shouldn’t have to prove it to anyone. The people around you will simply know. And if you’re not?…they’ll know that too. But you start telling yourself that they just don’t understand. And that it’s not their relationship, so they wouldn’t know. You tell them these fights don’t happen that often (even though they do). And that it wasn’t all his fault, there are things you could do differently too. You make excuses and become defensive of this man you were just crying over. You do everything to convince yourself that you’re happy. And it takes everything out of you. You block out any doubts you might have and push on with a smile. Tell yourself everything’s going to be okay.
Happiness should be effortless. If you’re exhausting yourself trying to tell yourself and everyone around you that everything is okay…things are not okay.
Your friendships have gone to the wayside.
The more people disapprove of your relationship, the more you close yourself off. You stop turning to people for advice because they just tell you things you don’t want to hear. You start to see less and less of your friends and depend more and more on him for your happiness and companionship. You might make excuses for why you see less of them like you’re just busy. You might get angry at them for not inviting you out even though you know deep down that you’re the reason for the distance between you. Because it’s easier to be angry at them than to open up to them about the fear you feel inside and to listen to the things you don’t want to hear. But you need to hear them.
You always put his happiness before your own.
You begin to change what you want and change your interests to fit the mold he has made for you. You let him build you into his life instead of building his life with you. And sometimes it’s not even that he’s asking you to change or making you conform to his image of what the future should look like, but you start to lose your own separate identity and your own sense of what you want out of life. You’ll do anything to make him happy, even if it’s not what you want.
You feel trapped.
This poem is the only words I have found to describe this feeling.
He let you go.
“THE THING WORTH HOLDING ONTO WOULD NOT HAVE LET GO.”
If they leave you in a horrible way like my ex did…don’t go back for more! They can apologize over and over but he will never be the same. Someone who truly loves you would never intentionally cause you such intense pain. Don’t make excuses for him. There are plenty of people out there who haven’t broken your heart the way he has. Move on. Accepting the end might be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever had to do. It’s hard and it’s painful. It may seem impossible at times, but you can do it. I promise.
If any of this is triggering something within you, please take a closer look at your relationship. Try to bring light to all the things you’ve been shoving deeper into your subconscious. If you feel yourself getting super defensive as you read this, is that maybe because deep down, a part of you resonates with it?
I’ve never been in a true love so I can’t tell you what it’s supposed to feel like, but I know that it’s not supposed to feel like any of these things that I’ve just described. You may feel stuck and like there’s no way out. But I promise you there is and you deserve SO much better. You deserve someone who lights up your life and brings out the best in you. There are people in your life who love you and will help you through the incredibly difficult task of ridding this toxic person from your life. It’s okay to not be okay. Know that you are not alone. And that you are not weak. In fact, you are incredibly strong. You can move on and leave this part of your life in the past. Life is too short to spend a second of it letting someone else tear you down. I promise it’s worth the pain of letting go to come out on the other side stronger and more in love with yourself than ever. You deserve happiness.
You deserve better.
You deserve better.
You deserve better.