Whether it’s a relationship where your needs are not being met or it’s a relationship where you were left because you don’t meet the needs of another, every end of a relationship requires both parties to let go of each other.
This is easier said than done for some of us because we either have a vested interest in staying put or we are psychologically wired to stay put or both.
Let’s get into the reasons we can’t move on.
1. There’s something you still want from them
Despite their actions that clearly indicate that they are not interested in giving you what you desire, or their inability to give you what you desire, you are still hoping that one day things will change.
Consider for a moment that if you are hoping that things will change, that means you are admitting that things are not good enough.
Live in the present moment. If things aren’t good enough now and you’ve been trying and things haven’t changed enough, you have enough information to walk away. The thing(s) they need to do to make you feel comfortable, they cannot do or they don’t want to do.
2. Attachment trauma
If you are anxious attached or fearful attached, chances are you are going to struggle with letting go of someone that isn’t a good fit.
With those of us who have an anxious attachment style, we did not get the closeness necessary to build a secure bond with our caregivers. Those of us with a fearful attachment style have the trait from anxious relationships where we crave closeness but in addition, we are also afraid of getting close to others.
So when you meet someone who piques your interest with either attachment style, it is natural to have a difficulty in letting go of someone who doesn’t want to be with you or someone you are afraid to break up with.
Our subconscious mind holds the emotional memory of how we were treated as children. Because the subconscious is the mechanism that operates on autopilot, it replicates these childhood experiences when we are older. This is actually the basis of our attachment styles.
So whether we were treated well or poorly, we will naturally move to the people who feel familiar. So if we were treated poorly overall and we end up in relationships with people who treat us the same, it is due to the subconscious programming that began from childhood.
If we were treated poorly we will want things to be better but at the same time, we don’t. We are often caught in a catch-22 where we want what is familiar and we want change because we want to be treated better.
This is why when someone who could give you what you want shows up, you may not want them because there actions aren’t familiar. You want the person who has failed you to give you what you want. But the funny thing is, if they were to change, you may not want them then because they aren’t familiar!
4. You’re too nice
You want to leave the relationship and never look back, but you’re worried about how your absence is going to affect the other person. But have you ever considered how their presence is affecting you?
Do you think that the person you want to leave is thinking about how much they are stressing you out? Or do you already know that they are with you primarily because they want something from you?
There’s such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Too much water can be a flood. Too much oxygen leads to oxygen toxicity which can damage your lungs and even kill you.
Similarly, being too nice can be one of the greatest regrets of your life because you kept turning the other cheek to someone who couldn’t help but hit you over and over again. (Of course, these hits could be metaphorical or literal.)
Being too nice to others is an imbalance because many people who are guilty of this are not nice enough to themselves.
5. You fear the unknown
“What if they change? What if they become the person I always knew they could be and someone else gets to experience that better version of them?
What if this is the last hurdle we need to get over? I’ve seen them change over the years, so why not give them another chance?”
Usually when these kinds of questions come up it would be good to look at what kind of energy is behind these questions. From my experience, it’s fear.
It’s the fear of missing out, the fear of making a mistake, the fear of abandoning someone you care about and the fear of self-sabotage. Overall, it’s the fear of the unknown.
If fear is sponsoring your decision to stay put, it’s a good sign that you should be leaving. Fear doesn’t present the facts. Fear takes a look at the facts and instead of realizing that the facts are the answers, invents questions to keep you on this wild goose chase.
Besides, even if you think you’re making a mistake, does that mean that you can never get another chance?
6. You made a decision to love
This is perhaps the most difficult one to reconcile but it can also be the easiest.
Because you made a decision to love someone, you think that that means that you must stay with them no matter what. It’s like a parent and a child. No matter what the child does, the parent will always love them and support them. The parent will address what is and is not appropriate, but they will never sever the tie between them and their child.
If this is how your romantic love is, that’s cool. However, I hope that you’ve also made the decision to love yourself too. If you have, this is an easier resolution than if you haven’t.
Firstly, you can love someone and not be with them. If that isn’t enough for them, that’s not your fault, responsibility or problem. If you don’t think that they can deal with you ending the relationship in a healthy way, you must leave.
The hallmark of love is not whether or not someone is dependent on you. It’s that they respect you and themselves enough to carry on with or without you. The goal of love was never dependence but interdependence.
Secondly, ensure that you aren’t being codependent where you don’t even know yourself outside of the context of a relationship.
If you are codependent, you aren’t being as loving as you think you are and you definitely aren’t being loving enough to yourself.
Finally, if you love yourself you can see if this relationship is really serving you. Because if it isn’t, it isn’t serving the other person either. You both are stuck in a loop and are unable to grow.
So in reality, your fear, reluctance or difficulty in letting them go is preventing growth for both of you. And if you claim to love this other person, maybe the right thing to do is the very thing you’re afraid of doing.
Maybe the loving thing to do for both of you is to let go.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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