To use a long-standing cliché, the decision to let go of a relationship is like being in between a rock and a hard place.
Relationship, friendship, acquaintance – we’ve all been in the position where we’re stuck between the notion of giving up or letting go, trying harder or not trying at all. When a relationship has hit this point, there is no easy way out.
The choice to get out is often the hardest, and in my experience, it doesn’t always stick. It’s easy in a moment of rage, after another countless sour interaction, to swear on your mother’s life that you’re done with that person forever. But a part of you tells you to keep them in your contact list, maintain your Facebook “friendship”, and not to delete them from Instagram, because maybe you still care about them – just a little.
And you tell yourself that’s okay, because that person was perhaps a big part of your life, and as omnipresent as the bad times are, you still remember when they had your back.
But after a week, a month, a few months, you haven’t stopped caring. You may not talk, but you still wonder every so often what they’re doing, stop to scroll through their vacation photos, and think maybe it would be nice to catch up soon.
Perhaps they were in a bad mood the last time you spoke. Maybe they were going through something you didn’t know about. Maybe this, maybe that. You start giving them excuses they never cared enough to offer themselves.
All of a sudden, with no intention, you’ve found yourself back in the same rage. They’ve said something rude, treated you poorly, or ignored you altogether. You’d forgotten just how toxic this relationship was, how horrible and insecure it made you feel and how unjust their actions were.
In a stupor of unexpected, yet not surprising, teeth-clenching frustration, you ask yourself for the umpteenth time – “Why do I care?” and “Why can’t I stop?”
When you’ve hit the point in a relationship where the cons outweigh the pros, the bad times are more frequent than the good, and they make you feel consistently worse as a human being, and yet you still care about them, what do you do?
I’ve asked myself that countless times. After I’ve sacrificed my energy and my integrity, after I’ve bent over backwards to make the situation better, and I’ve given them benefit of the doubt after benefit of the doubt, what else is there left to do but cut them off entirely?
It seems simple. Black and white. You could just wash our hands clean of them and be on your way to better things. There are more deserving people who you could spend your energy on, and yet, you can never let go.
A part of you still waits for that text message, still wishes you’d run into them on the street, still looks for their face in the crowd, and still asks friends about how they’re doing. They’re name often comes up in conversation and you can’t help yourself from replaying old memories when something reminds you of how it used to be.
There they are, in your life, taking up space. You know they’re not making an effort to keep you in their life, or have you in their life at all. The hard truth is, you’re pretty sure they’d be more than happy if you moved to the other end of the planet without saying goodbye.
So there you are, stuck in between that rock and that hard place, unable to budge in either direction. It’s too painful to hold on yet it’s too much to let go. What do you do? What can you do?
I’m asking you, because I don’t know the answer.