Letting go of a bad relationship

Relationships obviously need commitment to survive. It’s commitment that allows us to weather the storms and forgive and forget the mistakes. But when a relationship is unhealthy and dysfunctional, it’s often not commitment that keeps the couple together. Interestingly, it’s love and chemistry that keeps us holding onto something that’s bad for us or it’s fear that prevents us walking away – fear of being on our own.

I am forever hearing stories of women staying in a relationship when it’s so clear the relationship is not going anywhere. Their reasons for hanging onto a bad relationship are usually: But I love him/her; I’ve never known chemistry like I have with this guy/girl; He says he will change/leave his wife/commit to me soon; There’s no one else out there. So they continue to eat the tiny crumbs that are thrown their way – their confidence slowly draining away as a result.

Over and over again, they vow to let the person go, but their resolution only lasts until the next sweet text comes in. And anyone else they meet pails in comparison because they just don’t feel the same passion for someone new. Any contact with the unavailable person feels like a drug – a love drug. It feels so good that the need to have more gets stronger and stronger.

Deep down, men and women know when they are in a bad relationship, but they often live in denial. If you are one of the millions of people hanging onto the tiniest threads of a bad relationship, it’s time to let go by:

  • Remembering that you need to go through the pain of withdrawal to get to the other side
  • Gathering the support of close friends who will allow you to text them instead of the forbidden love
  • Realising that your perception of reality is distorted. You will not be able to appreciate someone new until you stop all contact with this “love of your life”.
  • Acknowledging that letting go of a bad relationship is a one day at a time process. Every day that you stay away will make you stronger. There will be setbacks and relapses, but giving up any bad habit usually takes a number of attempts.
  • Changing his or her name in your phone to “Don’t respond” or something else that helps strengthen will power.
  • Knowing that if the relationship is meant to be, it will work out down the track – when he or she is available or has made the changes that they need to have made.
  • Facing the fact that if you don’t do it now, you will most likely be in exactly the same position this time next year.
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