Making The Hard Choice: Breaking Up Is Painful, But Worth It

by Paul Hudson

The one regret I have from my last serious relationship is not giving my all to make it work.

Sure -- at the moment, it felt like my all. But when I look back, I know I could have done more. I could have been smarter, wiser and more willing to work things out -- not the coward who stuck his tail between his legs and ran for the hills.

Failed relationships are good for one thing, though: They teach you essential lessons. You try, you fail, you learn, and you try to make it work the next time around.

You learn how to make it work. And you learn who's worthy of the effort.

But you also learn when it really is time to call it quits. And though I regret not giving my last relationship my all, I also knew I wasn't putting in the effort for a reason -- I was going to end things.

Not all relationships are going to be successful. Most relationships won't succeed. The people in them aren't compatible or don't have the right mindsets. Maybe they're not romantically mature enough to give it an honest shot.

Unfortunately, not all of us are strong enough to call it quits.

Not all of us are willing to admit to ourselves that the relationship we’ve worked so hard to build is coming to an end. Not all of us have it in us to break things off. Or rather, not all of us have the courage necessary to call things off.

It’s not an easy decision to make, by any means. Deciding to end things can be nearly impossible.

You’ve grown attached to your partner; your lives revolve around each other. This person is an extension of you, and cutting him or her out of your life feels like cutting off your own arm.

But, sadly, that's sometimes what has to be done. You need to lose a limb to save your body. You need to remove certain people from your life to save your soul.

The more toxic a relationship, the harder it is to leave.

We feel the need to keep toxic people in our lives because they make us feel more alive. They make us feel like dating them is right.

We don’t break up with people who are toxic for us because we believe, on some level, that our feelings of love justify the abuse.

We believe if the relationship were actually toxic, we wouldn’t want to be in it at all. We rationalize that, if the relationship were toxic, we'd feel nothing.

We think, If the relationship was wrong, wouldn’t we stop having feelings? Wouldn’t we stop hurting every time we were ignored or insulted? 

Wouldn’t we stop hurting if the love we had for them was false?

The answer is no.

Being in pain doesn't mean you're in love. It means you're attached; it means that your happiness depends on your partner's approval.

Your happiness is dependent on your partner's being in your life (whether or not this makes your life a living hell). You feel something when you're together, and feeling something is better than nothing. Right? Wrong.

In reality, the only thing this person is doing is hurting you. That isn't love. That's obsession. It's a twisted, tainted relationship that thrives on an unhealthy attachment.

Even if you manage to smooth out a toxic relationship, it’ll all end anyway.

You’ve built a relationship on sadness, despair, pain, worry and stress. These emotions make you feel alive because they activate the "fight or flight" response.

But you don't "flight." You don't run. You stay because you’ve become addicted to all those chemicals running around in your head. You’ve become addicted to the pain because it makes you feel like you exist.

But this isn’t healthy, and the relationship will end. You will have gotten used to a heightened emotional state -- once that state calms down and levels out, you will feel as if you've fallen out of love. The truth is that you were never properly in love to begin with.

You need to find the courage to choose yourself over your partner.

In a world that continuously reminds us of our loneliness, we can start believing that a toxic relationship is better than none. But nothing could be further from the truth.

When it’s time to call it quits, you need to call it quits. You need to choose your happiness, your health, your future, over being someone's entertainment.

It may not feel like your partner is hurting you on purpose, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s on purpose. All that matters is you're suffering, and your partner isn't acknowledging your pain.

The pain isn't necessary, and you shouldn't take your partner's excuses.

You're letting someone else ruin your life. You're letting that person hurt you, break you and ruin you. And for what? So that you can continue to struggle? So you can cry yourself to sleep every night?

It’s time to let go of the fantasy and return to reality. This person is BAD for you -- not right for you. You need to break things off and get back in touch with yourself.

If you think that love is pain, you have a lot to learn.

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