How tough is it to walk out of a relationship?


Very tough, as it should be! But in case you do decide to bid a relationship goodbye, make sure you do so for the right reasons!

Good art is not supposed to look good or bad. It is supposed to provoke you, make you feel something. If it doesn’t, it is just another framed picture hanging on a wall.

There are some such people in our lives too. They are neither good, nor bad. They just come into our lives to provoke us, to get us started on a path, or desist from taking one. Our relationships with them help us understand our own selves, teach us life lessons and change us in more ways than we understand, or are prepared to admit.

And when their task is done, they move on. But this moving on is never as smooth as it sounds. When you become a part of someone’s life, your emotions get entangled and a part of you stays with them forever, just as they carry a part of you with them. Parting is always painful. Even if parting with someone is a relief in some ways, it is still painful to make the adjustments we need to make in the wake of their leaving.

Is it a wonder then that we hang onto relationships that have long since crossed their ‘use by’ date? It seems impossible to believe that the magic is over and done with, and the same individual you thought you couldn’t live without, is now someone you can no longer bear to live with! You keep looking for the earlier magic, hanging on to the memories, trying to salvage some of the pleasure and delight.

The hope that things will get better has a lot of people hanging in there, refusing to get away from abusive or festering relationships. You keep wondering what went wrong and thinking you can fix it. But sometimes, it is more than hope that keeps one from taking the final step towards ending a relationship. The reason could be as basic as social and financial compulsions.

When I asked young members of my team why anyone would continue in a rotting relationship, most of them said social compulsions and upbringing make it very tough for an Indian woman to step out of a marriage. In fact, they quoted the instance of a young woman they knew who chose to kill herself rather than muster the courage to tell her family that she was having acute marital trouble!

Strangely, sometimes the reason not to step out of a marriage could even be sheer inertia! Over time a couple forms certain co-dependencies and builds shared comforts around their lives, even having children and pets and possessions that would be difficult to split. So they would rather not make that humongous effort, preferring to carry on by skirting around each other and leading separate lives under the same roof, despite the bitterness, grief and anger.

There is also the category of people in abusive relationships who lack self-confidence or do not value themselves enough to know that they deserve better. It takes immense effort to even convince these shattered individuals who have been abused into submission that they deserve better than what life has doled out to them.

The decision to walk out of a relationship is indeed a difficult one, as it should be! There is no easy way around this. Hearts will ache and people will be hurt. You should try all possible means of saving a relationship you have given so much of yourself to. But if things refuse to change for the better and so long as you are splitting for the right reasons, you need to have the intelligence to understand that things are over.

And what are the right reasons to walk out of a relationship? To me the right reasons are related to mental and physical well-being and to your personal growth. If a relationship is abusive and dangerous, or if it is stunting your personal growth, you should shed it off. It is important to be able to live together and grow together. Are you able to do that?

A good relationship is not about merging lives and identities, but more about co-existing in a mutually beneficial environment. Are you supportive of each other and help create a suitable environ for each other?! No other reason is good enough to give up on your life partner!

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DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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