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Choosing to walk out of an unsatisfying relationship is an act of self-care

We often find our head looking for reasons to stay in relationships the heart has long forsaken - here is why we should stop.

The alarm goes off, leaving me half-woken but dazed at 7 AM on a sunny February morning. I look out onto the meadow just underneath my second-storey bedroom window, complete with both the birds and the bees. ‘Tis the season to be in love, St Valentine says – but the first thought that crosses my mind is that mine’s gone.


My boyfriend of more than one year broke up with me last night, in a very mutual decision. I wake up first having forgotten that, then, slowly, I come back to the Earth. I don’t miss him. I’m good, I’m me, I’m free.


Why don’t we walk out on each other more often?


This is not where I discuss abusive marriages, and live-in partners who might drug and violate you. If you are one party to such a relationship, my heart goes out to you, I realise you know your situation better than I do, and if you are unable to leave, I’m sorry that everyone you looked to for love and protection let you down.


No, I’m talking of those of us who, due to considerable privilege, are free to enter and leave relationships at will. I find my friends and family, and sometimes myself though in a lesser degree, holding on when once life-giving relationships go to ruins, turn stale as Christmas food from last year in January. Why do we do this? Some part of it comes from societal conditioning, the feeling that you are a ‘failure’ if you so much as grow out of the needs of a familiar creature.


However, deep down, most of us are scared. Not that we’ll ‘lose’ a human, as if she were a trophy Porsche, but that we’ll lose possibly the one person who might have listened to us when we were unbearable, sympathetically or not. The world, my friend, is a lonely place. The ‘ever-hustle’ culture of today makes it all the more stressful, and we find little time to socialize, and thereby voice all we’re feeling. Sometimes, there’s only one person who goes back far enough with us.


So, why on Earth do I think we need to jettison each other out the windows of lives and souls more often?

What good does waving bye do, my lady?


When I say ‘pull the plug on your now-dying relationship’, I actually am trying to help you out. Here’s how:


It’ll rid you of major fear: if you are anything like most other humans, you shall be terrified of break-ups, initially, and with good reason. They hurt. I remember my first relationship at 14 years of age, not budging even when things got bad because I literally thought I’d die without the boy. Well, I survived. And in the two subsequent times I’ve been in similar situations, I’ve had an indescribably powerful ego boost and surge of confidence after having ‘lived’ through a break-up. As they say, what you seek lies inside the cave you fear to enter. Escaping the clutches of a relationship that is toxic while letting go of a major phobia? Sign me up!


‘Settling’ toys with your self-worth, and this move will put an end to it: did you think I was putting down as under-qualified potential ditch-ees with this line? If yes, have you ever thought how much good you’d do yourself if you were that stringent with your own standards? Because, you should be. You deserve respect and fulfillment, and getting those is the only way you’ll be able to pay them forward. When you settle for someone who isn’t the Wonder Fella from your dreams, you are subconsciously telling yourself you’ll never get, or worse, deserve what you truly want. Do you think anyone needs such treatment?


It’ll open the door to happiness: as clichéd and tired as it sounds, Mx Perfect is out there somewhere, waiting for you. However, more importantly, walking out will make you realize that a suffocating or uncommunicative relationship didn’t give you things you were cherishing, or were going to miss, in the first place. It will lead to peace of mind.

In conclusion

Taking stock of all the mentioned realities about life, we can see that letting go of something no longer beautiful may make us realize with greater clarity what we really want, enable us to clear out a few demons in our mental closets labelled ‘fears!’, and helps us go for our goals with not much to hide and no need for escapist coping mechanisms.

Your jam may either be Elsa’s “Let It Go”, or The Eagles’ “Take It Easy” – you now know what to do!

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