Relational Health

Knowing When To Let Go of a Relationship

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We all have relationships in life. They may be romantic relationships with a spouse, they may be familial relationships, such as that of siblings, or they may be friendships. Within a relationship, there comes a certain degree of closeness or a “level” within the relationship. This idea of closeness usually relates to friendships only and refers to the differences between an “acquaintance” or a “good friend”. These friendships serve different purposes.

I would say I have many acquaintances, but only a few close friends that I share personal information with, or go to for advice. Those relationships though, are all completely voluntary. I keep the relationships alive by working on it. I put the effort in to meet people, or take time out of my day to chat with those people. As far as I am concerned, relationships are two-way streets. Both parties need to be willing to put in the effort in order for the relationship to work.

I decided to write this post because today, I came to the realization that a relationship that I have had over numerous years, has come to a pretty definitive end. This relationship was a very close friendship, and both the other person and I hung onto the relationship for over six years now. Throughout that time, there were promises made, and the relationship defined as everlasting, supportive, and worth the effort. However, the last year has not been the same as the previous years and I have come to the conclusion that it is not the same relationship anymore. The question now becomes, “When is the right time to cut ties?”

I have always said, that when the bad times outweigh the good times, then it is time to let the relationship go. But how come letting it go is so hard? I have tried to figure out why I have not just forgotten about the relationship and moved on. I think a lot of it is fear of change and the unknown. What will my life be like without this person? What happens if I need him/her in the future? What am I giving up if I leave this relationship and walk away?

After I asked myself those questions, I realized how selfish all of those questions are! All of those things ask what I can get from the other person – what he/she can do for me. The reality is though, that I have basically been living without this person in my life for the last year or so, so nothing is really changing.

The emotional drain that this relationship has caused is also very difficult to deal with. I have put myself out on the line to do things for this relationship, only to end up disappointed in the end. And I would have to say I have been disappointed more often than I have been rewarded in the relationship. I spend the next few days upset over the altercation and waste time that I could have spent enjoying with someone else. So why do I stick around?

After all of the debate in my head, I have decided that I am no longer going to put up with being treated like I do not matter in this relationship. I figure, if I am going to put myself out for this person, they had better be willing to do the same, and so far, it has been a one-sided affair.

So here’s to drawing the line. Here’s to letting go and moving on. Here’s to being the bigger person. And here’s to making a decision for me. Life’s too short to waste time on people that do not care about you. Surround yourself with positive influences, people that care about you, and people you can have fun with. Cheers!

Taylor writes on relationships, depression, and general mental health.

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