When to Walk Away from a Relationship

Relationships are perhaps the most challenging part of our lives, especially if we are willing to go deep with those we care about. I believe it is crucial to know when it is time to call it quits when it comes to a relationship that hasn’t been working for a while. 

A lot of people struggle with deciding when to let go. Some leave too early, and some never leave, sentencing themselves to a prison of relational pain. 

Putting in the Work

If you know you’ve been doing everything you can (including working on yourself with a skilled psychotherapist) for a while, and if still nothing is changing in your relationship, this often means it is likely nothing will ever change. 

Alternatively, you might have to wait for your partner to begin to work on themselves more deeply for anything to actually change. But what if you need to wait for another 5 years for that to happen? Are you willing to wait that long to be happy in your relationship, to finally be seen, heard, and to be appreciated for who you are and for the things you do? 

Growing Together or Individually

Sometimes, our partner and ourselves are in such different places in our development that waiting for them to meet us could turn into a life sentence. If this is the case, accept that the two of you are not compatible and leave your partner. Ultimately, you are doing both yourself and them a great service by going your separate ways. Settling for crumbs does no one any good. 

Sometimes, we can grow together with our partner and that is a beautiful experience. This requires both people’s willingness to dive deep into themselves and do their healing and growth work. This kind of partnership creates an uncommonly deep and rich relationship. 

Having this type of relationship is not easy, but very much possible. 

Grieving the Relationship

Some other reasons to walk away of course include any type of abuse as well as unending bouts of reactivity and/or defensiveness. Relating well is impossible for as long as aggression is present as well as a lack of accountability for one’s actions. 

Once a relationship is over, the grieving process begins. This could be a very painful time in your life. It’s a good idea to reach out and find high-quality support. This is also a good time to reconnect with old friends and pick up a new hobby. Stay connected and don’t isolate. 

Grieving deeply and truly honouring the relationship for what it was (the good, the bad, the ugly) allows us to learn from it. The more we learn, the more we grow. This is healthy letting go. This learning is exactly what will allow your next relationship to be more vital, more beautiful, and more fulfilling for you. 

Relationships are perhaps our best opportunities to learn about ourselves. When do I get reactive? What makes me shut down? When do I get defensive? What are the wounds I need to be aware of to grow? 

These questions are answered through intimacy. Getting to know ourselves deeply is a prerequisite for deep relating. Take each relationship as a new adventure, as a path of awakening to who you truly are and you will have plenty of love to give and receive.