When Letting Go is Necessary
We all hope our relationships will be happy ever after, but we also know that all of them don’t go well. Sometimes, it’s just necessary to break off with someone who is toxic and not healthy for you.
Once you’re bonded with someone, it’s very painful to let go. Since most of us like to avoid our feelings, we don’t want to do the grieving that’s necessary to let go. But, when you’ve had a loss, there are a certain number of tears you must cry to let go; getting on with the crying is the fastest way. Even if the dissolution of the relationship was your idea, you may be clinging to a dream: in denial. A bad relationship can become like an addiction: a difficult habit to break, because you are emotionally attached, and the attached part of you wants to keep trying, while the rational part knows you need to let go. We also have a lot of cultural mythology about “I’ll never stop loving you” and that clinging and martyring to a toxic love means you are truly in love. Clinging to a toxic love is immature, to begin with. A relationship is a partnership, and requires work on both lovers’ parts in order to succeed.
If you find you have real reason to doubt a partner, and there are real problems, such as lying, severe money problems, a history of alcohol abuse, violence, many past relationship problems, a criminal record, reports of illegal activities, or drug use, do not make excuses, and do not accept promises of change. Change is difficult, and will take a lot of time. Mere promises, no matter how well intended, are not sufficient. Get out of this relationship before you are any more attached, or any more degraded, than you are now. If your partner decides to get help, let him do it because he or she knows they need it, not to get you back. That’s not a strong enough motive to keep him committed to change.
To dump a jerk, don’t be kind. He won’t get it. Be clear, say “It’s over” in no uncertain terms, ask him not to contact you, and then cut him off. Don’t answer phone calls, e-mails, etc. If you do, you’ll give him cause to think he can badger you into coming back. If he shows up, don’t let him in. If you have to call the police to get rid of him, do it. He’s a spoiled brat, and he needs to know you mean what you say.
Know the signs of emotional blackmail:
1. A demand. Your date won’t take “no” for an answer, and requests are really demands.
2. Resistance. Every discussion turns into an argument.
3. Pressure. Your date pressures you to go along.
4. Threats. Your date uses threatening or coercing tactics: threatening to end the relationship, tears, rage, badgering.
5. Compliance. If you give in, you’re setting a dangerous precedent. Your date now knows you can be pressured into giving in to him or her, and this will increase the intensity of what your date is willing to do to pressure you.
6. Repetition. An obsessive person will go through these previous five steps over and over, wearing you down each time. The easiest thing is to be sure when you say “no”, it means no.
You can also read:
How to Keep Yourself Out of a Violent Relationship
Setting Boundaries and Saying No
Romance is not Necessarily Love
How to Avoid Loving a Jerk
Avoiding the Drama Triangle
Author Bio: Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 35 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage; The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty; Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, The Real 13th Step and her newest, How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter. Dr. Tessina was the CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for Love Forever. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, TV, video and podcasts. She tweets @tinatessina
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