There are two general reactions when you notice you’ve got feelings for someone. Either it’s all rainbows and sunshine, or it pisses you off. Maybe there’s a big grey area in between, but we associate this as a primarily positive or negative scenario.
Some people may argue that love should always be positive – but that’s not always the reality. There are so many different factors involved that it’s hard to predict how things will turn out, and sometimes you’re going to get hurt. That’s just a fact of life.
You can tell you love someone when their happiness is your happiness. This is that overwhelmingly positive love, the kind that gives you butterflies and makes your hear t race.
You can also tell you love someone when you miss them, even if they’ve only been away for a short time. You feel pain in their absence. This is a negative love, a type of love that surfaces when you aren’t getting your way.
Within reason, both types of love are actually necessary in a relationship. After all, if you didn’t care whether they stayed or went, what point would there be in them sticking around? There wouldn’t!
But sometimes, the negative love is more prominent. This is the part that keeps coming back – the jealousy, the insecurity, and that empty feeling when you miss them. When these are the things you think of – instead of the way your partner makes you laugh, or smile, or think about the world around you – it can be hard to find your happiness.
Love isn’t just right now, though. It’s not only important how your partner makes you feel now, but how he or she has made you feel in the past – love has history and memories and it’s constantly growing or dying. Our love holds onto the positives and the negatives, and this becomes a challenge when the balance shifts.
Sometimes, things get a little rocky, but the memories from the past keep us “afloat”, so to speak. We think back to the better times, and we are willing to forgive. We love our partner, after all. We’re hurt – but we won’t give up.
Holding on can be worth it. There have certainly been situations where someone was slipping away, but they needed just a gentle reminder to come back to their partner. I’m sure it happens a lot; I know it’s happened to me.
But other times, holding on doesn’t do anything. You’re gripping tighter to something that hasn’t been there for quite a while, and you’re losing the fight. We argue with ourselves, saying that if they make us feel so deeply, they must be worth fighting for – right?
The longer you hold on, the harder it is to let go.
We know this, but we still can’t help but keep trying for just a little while longer. This is the last time, we tell ourselves. This is the very last second chance. But the problem is, it’s not. Nothing changes, and we keep trying. Or things change, but only slightly, and then they go back to the way it was before.
This isn’t fair to you, being stuck in this sea of negative emotions – and it’s not fair to your partner, being trapped in a relationship that’s not right for her.
You’re going to grow to resent each other more and more until you can’t stand it anymore.
Finally, there will be one last straw – maybe you know what it is, and maybe you haven’t thought of it yet – and finally your resolve will be strengthened. You’ll walk away and never look back, and you’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner.
But you don’t really move on right away. You’re broken from the things you dealt with, and you feel embarrassed that you didn’t let go way before that point. “But that’s what it took,” you’ll tell yourself. “If it hadn’t happened exactly like that, we’d still be together.”
Can you see how much power you’ve given up?
By holding onto someone who’s already slipped away, you’re not allowing yourself permission to stand up for yourself. You don’t need to be a bully, but you should be able to speak your side of things, too – otherwise it’s just a dictatorship, run by her.
Maybe she even tells you not to leave. (I’ve been in that situation, too.) You think you owe her your loyalty, so you don’t go anywhere. But if you’re not happy, you don’t owe her anything!
Relationships are about compromise, so if your relationship seems to be all about your pain – you need to let it go. Neither one of you should me miserable most of the time, and certainly not all of the time. Your partner should bring you joy, as should you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve the best.