I Do - Not. When it's time to Untie the Knot.
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
When God removes someone from your life, don't play Devil's Advocate. -Nayana Sen
Navigating your life after a breakup or divorce is an unfortunate reality for many women in their 30s and 40s. Some people divorce after their kids are grown later in life as well. If you are thinking about ending a long-term relationship, then let's look at 3 things that should be non-negotiable in that decision making process.
People change or don't. Relationships end. Life goes on. The relationship you have with yourself is forever. You must plan accordingly.
Divorce isn't really for the faint of heart. It is a painful process, but so is any breakup. There are some real considerations like finances, family, and social considerations that have an impact on how long a relationship lasts. Yet, in our heart of hearts we know when a relationship is over. Sometimes the actual divorce is really just the icing on the proverbial cake.
I am a believer that things last as long as they last. No one is perfect. Every one has faults in a relationship. There are things that can be fixed, and then there are those things that shouldn't be fixed. As you grow as a person, you have to decide what is non-negotiable for you. What you find acceptable in your 20s isn't going to be the same in your 40s.
I am talking about 3 things that should be non-negotiable for you including respect, authenticity, and consistent growth in your relationship. When these things don't exist, you have to go. Don't create excuses for anyone else. You can do more around the house or take an interest in sports, but you can't be anyone other than yourself in your most intimate relationship.
If you want respect, make sure you give it as well. In the most basic sense of the word, there should not be any abuse in the relationship. Respect also has to have a positive connotation, in that it should be proactive. A healthy relationship means respecting each other's time, resources, energy, boundaries, friendships, pursuits, and thoughts. It is valuing the person as a whole, and not cherry-picking the parts we find acceptable.
You really can fix everything that is "wrong" and still be miserable in a relationship. If that is the case, it's because you probably haven't fixed the real problem. Many times when we are young we reinvent ourselves to make our partners happy. Eventually, your authentic self will want to show up. In your home you have a right to be yourself. In your life you have right to want to be loved and supported for exactly who you are. If you can't be yourself in the relationship, it's not real.
I said this to a friend recently and I think it is universally true. The right person isn't so much a person. It is the ability for both people to feel like they are with the right person for their own growth. Ultimately we either grow together or we grow apart. The right person grows with you. Your goals don't have to be identical, but they should be similar. We spend a lot of time convincing ourselves that opposites attract, and they do. You do not need to be the same to love each other, but love only goes so far. You do have to be able to bring out the best in each other without changing the other person.
The real takeaway from the end of a relationship.
I wish I knew all this before I got married. I think long-term relationships need lots of care. If you are mostly happy with a little bit of annoyance, that is normal. If you find yourself always unhappy and unfulfilled, then this is a reminder that your days here are finite. Learn to love yourself. Sometimes that means doing what is right for you. It is not easy to leave a relationship, but if you have outgrown it, then you may need to figure out if it is worth staying or if it's time to go.
There is great joy in loving people and in loving yourself. All the love stories teach you to find happiness in others. There is this recurring theme of love as together forever against all odds b@llshit. No love exists that doesn't include you as the main character in your own story. People will come and go, but you will live in your body until you leave it forever. Leave a place for others in your story, but be your own best advocate. Stay or go, but don't settle.
Cheers to your growth and mine!