One of the most challenging things about human relationships can be knowing when to walk away from them. Hell, knowing when to run can be just as difficult.
This time has been particularly challenging for relationships. I’ve seen ones that seemed solid crumble early on in the lockdown, while others I knew were shaky have held on because the people in them felt they had no other options. Finances are in trouble, sex is a struggle even on the best days, and those two things already point straight at a split or divorce without factoring in that everyone is stressed in ways many of us never anticipated.
But when is the time to go?
Well, if you’re asking yourself that, it probably already isn’t a great sign for the longevity of your relationship. When your reason becomes staying because you can’t afford not to or because of the kids or the dog, it is long past time to have gone.
Ideally a breakup should happen when people realize they aren’t compatible long-term. Unfortunately, feelings are messy and seldom so cut and dried. Love, memories of past love, and misguided honor can keep us in bad or simply ill-fitting situations longer than we should let them.
If practicality can win, a separation occurs more clinically and the ability to retain friendship remains. It happens before the disagreements become fights and the fights become unresolved issues and finally resentment. Resentment generally become a rather drawn out an expensive divorce, in my experience.
The hardest part? It isn’t admitting things aren’t working. Odds are good your best friend or your mother or someone else you’re close to already knows. You’ve told them yourself, even if it isn’t in those words. The hardest part is letting go of what you believed your life was going to look like with that person. You are letting go of your vision of your future, even if you’ve never sat down and explicitly planned it. Maybe it was a flash of you with them in a rocking chair on a porch, white-haired and laughing. Maybe it was visions of a mobile home driving cross country or living on a cruise ship.
You have to let those things go. Maybe people are finding it easier to walk away from relationships now because they are already having to let go of what they imagined their futures would look like. Letting go of a partner is just one more release among many, and the grieving can happen together.
You are exchanging your happy vision of what might be with a blank canvas. That’s really fucking scary, particularly now. But maybe there’s a better way to look at it.
You are exchanging nights of fighting in a home that feels like a war zone for nights of peace, wandering through the house in pajamas not worrying about the next fight. You are exchanging words of hostility for silence, or even better, for the possibility of words of love and support from others. You are exchanging eggshells for wood floors and peace and the possibilities ahead are endless.
You are exchanging a guarantee – misery every day or however often for a possibility of happiness in the future. The unknown is a scary place, and it can be hard to give up even a miserable present in exchange for a world you can’t imagine.
When I was a little girl, my parents wanted the best for me. They wanted me to be happy and find a partner who loved and cherished me. As I got older, that desire didn’t change. It’s what we all want for our children. I have learned to ask myself questions.
Would my parents be filled with joy at how happy I am if they could see inside my relationship? (Discounting any assumptions about bias – they don’t have to approve of the relationship, just my happiness level.) Would they feel my partner treats me well or would they want to punch my partner if they really knew how they treat me?
And most of all: do I want my children to grow up and have a relationship like this? Is that the happiness I envision for them? They will model their relationships on what they see from me. Would I want my child to stay with a partner who makes them miserably unhappy, or would I open my arms, tell them to come come, and support them pursuing happiness?
If I wouldn’t want it for someone I love, the real question is, why don’t I love myself enough not to want it for me?
About the Author
Christmas bunny has been exploring kink since she was legal to do so. Her serious writing started in college, where she accidently got some of her papers published in educational journals. She has recently expanded her writing to include her kink journey. She began writing in the physical realm, but shed some of her inhibitions and began sharing those entries with others. She now keeps an active blog of her personal growth and her relationship with her Master / Daddy Dominant and writes helpful educational posts on a variety of subjects.