I get it, I really do. At first he was so into you, you almost thought it was a little much, but he was cute as well as smart and so enamored with you that you decided to give him a chance. And once you went for it, you felt like you were falling (or flying). You spent every day and night together. He made you feel like you were the only woman in the world, until he didn’t.
Just like flipping a switch, suddenly things were different. You can't pinpoint the exact moment things changed, but you've certainly replayed old conversations in your mind searching for the one clue that turned the tide of your relationship. You excuse your lack of connection with cliches like "nothing's perfect" and justify that when two people from different backgrounds get together, of course there's going to be rough patches. You rationalize that you'll get back to where you were; after all, you've invested so much time, energy, and love that it has to work.
The reality is, though, that none of these investments matter. In the name of love, we trust, we leap, we sacrifice, we agonize, and sometimes, we hurt. We change our friends, our vocabulary, and our opinions. We become so invested in being a "we" that we lose sight of the fact that relationships are about one person and one person only; you.
You might be thinking, how can this be when there are two of us in this relationship? While it's true that there are two people in a relationship, it's our time spent within these relationships that allows us to come into a greater understanding of ourselves. Throughout your life others will walk beside you, but at the end of the day, this is your journey.
If you can’t hear your inner wisdom because of all the conflicting noise in your head, the following are clues to let you know that it’s time to walk away.
1. You are constantly editing because the thoughts in your head do not match the words coming out of your mouth.
2. The majority of your life together involves one party, event or vacation contiguously planned right after the last as an avoidance of sincere connection.
3. You are consumed/obsessed with what your partner is doing.
4. Alcohol/drugs are the basis of your connection.
5. You believe that at some future date things will be better.
6. You believe you can change your partner.
This may be the scariest thing you’ve ever had to do. In fact, I’ve walked in your shoes and know exactly just how scary it is. After nearly six years of heavily investing in being a “we,” I had to dig deep and summon the last little bit of courage I could find and walk away. At first it felt like I was losing a lot. I lost my man, my beautiful home, my security, and most of my friends. I cried, drank, blamed, and after some sincere soul-searching, emerged from the ashes with an understanding of why I created that relationship. Most importantly, I discovered that the greatest relationship, the one that brings incredible joy, is the one I have with myself.
With a stronger sense of who I am, I started down a new path, a path that led me to my authentic self and, in time, to a genuine partnership with the man of my dreams. I was terrified of leaving because I didn’t know what I’m sharing with you now. When you leap, a net really does appear.
Images courtesy of Halabol.com, Healthfullivingsd.com
To read more of Emily’s inspirational musings, click here.