It’s heavy. The breath you take before you leave a long-term relationship. The weight of it can keep you mired down and fixated in a place that no longer suits you or serves you. I believe in long-term relationships, no doubt, but some are simply not meant to be. How then, can you differentiate between the relationship that is toxic and a dead end or the one that needs to be salvaged? Women and men alike ruin and waste their lives over this very question. I have some personal insight to share…take it or leave it…but I know it to be true for myself.
If he or she doesn’t respect you—let them go. You shouldn’t work for respect or vie for it. Respect should be automatic and a given with love. If there is a time in your relationship when respect is compromised or wavering, carefully weigh the circumstances at hand and decide if you want to trust the person you are involved with and if they are again capable of respecting you as they should.
If she or he doesn’t honor you—it might be time to leave. What does honoring mean? Everyone has their own idea of what it means to be honored. For some, it means to be cared for, thought of, watched over, looked after and believed in. For others, it means to be regarded with respect, given first preference, loved with issues, loved with time, to alleviate worries, to be treasured and made to feel irreplaceable. Examine what it means to you. Your answer lies within.
Does he or she or it hurt you physically, verbally, or psychologically? Be honest with yourself and acknowledge if your partner is abusive in any of these ways. It should be a deal breaker.
Take inventory. You know… make that chart where you list pros and cons. Do it. What does that person bring to your life and what do they detract from it? Do they help you grow or do they cause pain and weakness? Do they lift you up more often than they let you down? Do you see forever with this person? Is this merely a relationship for this specific time in your life? There is a time, place and season for everyone and everything. Some people are meant to be lifelong, while others are for only a season.
Here are some more questions to add to your chart: Are they a good life companion? Do you genuinely like their company? Does their spirit make you happy? Do they compliment your personality? Really, our time on earth is actually precious and short. Do they get you and your sense of humor—do they, point blank, get you? Do they amplify the best in you? Do they appreciate the special traits only you possess?
Ask yourself: Would I be better off alone than with this person? Be strong, be willing to acknowledge when your relationships are unbalanced, mismatched, inappropriate. End them with kindness or realize their significance. Realize that every relationship we engage in teaches us something. Be brave—be willing to go it alone. Know that you are enough on your own. Know that if you are single it’s an opportunity to broaden your horizons; stretch out, figure out where you fit into the world and who you want along for the ride as your co-pilot.
To thine own self be true. Shakespeare has your number. You’ve got this.