No Love Left: When It’s Time to Let Go
A self-proclaimed serial monogamist, there was a time in my life when I changed love interests more than I changed my clothes. In a community where women were born to be tied exclusively to one man for her entire life, my lackadaisical response to boundaries and rules made it difficult for some to understand my dating practices.
“How can a woman can be so young, beautiful, and intelligent and not be married?” That was always the question. Amused by the predictable line of questions, I soon realized just how deeply embedded it was in people’s psyche that if a woman is not married or in a relationship, something must be wrong with her.
Nothing was wrong with me. I just didn’t want to commit to anyone or anything that didn’t bring me happiness. I, unlike most, have a different outlook on love and relationships, and my perspective allowed me to move in and out of relationships fluidly. I didn’t believe in working out bad relationships.
I knew not all relationships were meant to last forever, so when it was time to leave, I packed up my lessons and moved on. We aren’t taught that it’s OK to walk away from a person who no longer aids in our overall happiness, so my behavior was frowned upon. I was often criticized. Why didn’t I fight for my relationships?
We are programmed to believe that you shouldn’t abandon a relationship, even when it’s not working. I, on the other hand, would leave with no hesitation because my energy is too valuable to waste on something that had run its course.
When, “sticking it out no matter how hard it gets” is the principal thought process, it makes people feel like failures when their relationships do not work. The truth is that not all relationships were meant to succeed. Some are merely lessons and opportunities to get more in tune with yourself.
Today, I witness so many dead relationships and it causes me to pose the question, why are we so afraid to walk about from bad relationships? What is is that holds us captive to relationships that cause so much mental anguish? We want to fight for that thing that keeps us crazy, instead of warring against anything that threatens our sanity. In order to justify toxic relationships we normalize bad behaviors.
How do you know when it’s time to let go?
Abuse never gets better.
You get into an argument and your partner “accidentally” calls you a b*tch. The next disagreement you get into, you find yourself on the ground, scared. You convince yourself that he really didn’t mean to push you that hard, he just wanted to startle you a little. You shouldn’t have yelled in his face. This time you don’t even remember why you were arguing, but your concealer isn’t covering your black eyes. Months have passed and you’re tired of wearing scarves to cover his hand print around your neck. A once vibrant and confident woman, you don’t even remember what it’s like to look in the mirror and feel beautiful anymore.
Abuse never gets better. When you are dating someone who lacks control, you become a punching bag for their rage. If someone truly loves you, they would never subject you to violence of any kind. This includes physical, mental, emotional, and financial. Abuse is the number one reason to leave a relationship!
Your dreams can’t come true with your partner.
This can be a difficult one, especially when you are considering leaving a relationship. It’s easy to imagine leaving a relationship when your partner is clearly dragging you down. It can be a little harder to justify leaving a relationship because your partner isn’t lifting you up. I dated a guy who was exceptionally kind and compassionate. He was enamored by me and his sole desire was to be a good man to me, which is what made it so difficult to end our relationship. He wasn’t dead weight in my life, but he wasn’t an asset either. He was just there. He didn’t read my writings. He didn’t attend my poetry events. He never asked me what my dreams were or how he could help me reach them.
If you are unable to see yourself fulfilling your dreams with your current partner, you may need to move on. Too often we abandon the things that we are most passionate about for the sake of a relationship, never realizing that the one who is meant for you will never put you in a position to choose.
You bear 1000% of the responsibility.
Love should not feel like you are a slave to your relationship. In a compromising and loving relationship, both partners share in carrying the load. No one person should have to put in all the work, while the other reaps all the benefits. Too often relationships that are unequally yoked leave one partner feeling undervalued. Never entertain a future with someone who cares so little about your well-being that they keep their feet up and watch you overwork yourself.
You’re sexually incompatible.
We don’t like to talk about sex. It’s a taboo topic that should only be discussed in the privacy of your home. By making sexual pleasure such a closed door conversation, we indirectly inject shame in people who wish to discuss sex.
When we are afraid to speak about a subject that is so closely tied to relationship satisfaction, we suffer in silence. We rest on our fantasies and hesitate to tell our partners when we are not completely satisfied. An unfulfilled sex life is a recipe for disaster.
If you are in a relationship where your partner is sexually inflexible, you ultimately have to decide if you are willing to have a routine sex life or not. Be with someone who is willing to explore your fantasies, someone who asks you what your needs are and creates a sacred space where you both can be free inside (or outside) of your bedroom.
Sex and finances are the #1 reasons relationships fail. Do not try to merge lives with someone who you are not sexually compatible with.
You’ve outgrown each other.
As difficult as it is to accept, sometimes we just outgrow people. In the context of a relationships, you should never stop striving to progress independently. You have to leave room for both people to evolve.
The things that bought you excitement years ago may no longer make you happy. Your taste in clothing, music, food, and entertainment will change and you may alter your career goals. More importantly, your values and priorities may also shift over time.
If both people are not growing, it can cause a strain on the relationship. It is a constant struggle trying to salvage a relationship with someone who is obsessed with the “old you.” If your values and vision for the future are no longer aligned, be content with knowing that it’s OK to severe relationship ties and pursue life individually.
The thrill is gone.
There are some who will agree that a loss of fire and spontaneity is not a good enough reason for a relationship to dissolve. I would argue that those individuals clearly have never lived a love full of adventure and excitement. No relationship is going to be a 24 hour, 7 days a week adrenaline rush, especially when you take into consideration that you may have two people working full time jobs, both developing outside business ventures and relationships, raising children, maintaining the home and bills, and all the other day-to-day tasks of life.
However, waking up in a joyless relationship every day can cause a great deal of bitterness and resentment to build up. If your partner is unwilling to look at your relationship and figure out where you two can add in some fun, don’t commit your life to living in a space that you are unhappy.
You can’t forgive.
Trying to learn how to love someone after they broke your spirit can be one of the most challenging things you will ever experience. Nothing will cause you to question yourself as a man/woman than having the one person who promised to love and honor you violate your union.
There are couples who experience emotional blows (infidelity, financial crisis, deceit, etc.), yet manage to rebuild their relationships. Then there are other couples who are not as fortunate. There are occasions where the behavior of one partner is so emotionally devastating that the relationship is irreparable.
If your partner has sent your heart through the ringer one too many times for you to forget, it’s time to cut your losses. Stop giving third and fourth chances to people who have a reputation for being sorry.
You spend more time arguing than talking.
Relationships can be complicated. When you are attempting to fuse together two different personalities, habits, and lifestyles, there can be some ripples in the still water. Naturally, there will be some moments where tension can rise and you will have to collectively deescalate the situation. However, if you can’t even have a conversation with your partner without it exploding into a full blown argument, an evaluation maybe in order.
Constant fighting changes your character. When you are always on eggshells in your home, you enter the world fragile and defensive. You come to believe that everyone you encounter has a motive, so you trust no one. It’s a crippling way to live. If you have no peace in your home then it’s time to leave.
Never let the fear of starting over and being alone hold you hostage in a situation that is slowing killing your peace of mind. It is better to lay in a cold bed than to lay in a warm one with a cold-hearted lover.
Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. Keyes supplies clients with the necessary tools and techniques to awaken their divine energy, heal their open wounds and create an aura of love, compassionate and tranquility. In 2013, Keyes was named “13 People to Watch For” by Rockford Register Star and in honor of Black History Month 2014, Keyes was recently named a“Neighborhood Hero” by ComEd’s Power of One Campaign. Keyes in currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology and hopes to one day be a best-selling author and motivational speaker. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships.