In a healthy relationship, you want to be a better version of yourself. Relationships help you learn how to share, think of someone else first, and build a future together. A mature relationship isn’t about finding your other half or “fixing” your past hurts. The only person who can “fix” you is you, and you do that by accepting where you’re at and making strides to change the behaviors holding you back. Your partner should believe in you and encourage you in your growth.
But what if your partner doesn’t encourage you? In fact, they may create obstacles for your personal growth and betterment. Why do partners stay in unhealthy relationships that deplete them emotionally? There are numerous reasons why you may stay in a stagnant, negative relationship, but no matter the reason, you must get out of what you’re making excuses for in the present. If you’re stuck in a dead-end relationship, these suggestions can help you understand why and motivate you to let go.
Keep track of what exactly you are feeling. Sometime denial keeps us locked into bad relationships because we make excuses for our partner’s bad behavior. Writing down what they said that hurt you makes it real and much tougher to deny.
Step out of denial by admitting why we stay. Even a bad relationship has a payoff. We enable negative relationships when we deny what is in it for us. Do you feel sorry for this person or responsible for them? Are you afraid of disappointing them? Do you love them, or have you just settled to avoid being alone? Are you rebelling against your parents? Are they an excuse for why you can’t go back to school, take a promotion, or limiting you in some other way that you feel insecure about trying?
Have a plan for the empty areas your negative relationship fills. People settle when they feel as though there are voids or empty places in their lives they need to fill. Make a list of areas you feel are broken or need healing and plan to fill them with a healthy activity. Therapy, a support group, a new hobby, or a community project are much healthier habits to invest in than a dead-end relationship.
Make friends with positive and resilient people. Volunteer or attend meetups that bring you into contact with people who you admire for their courageousness and positive outlook. Joining a Bible study can help expose you to people who have had numerous struggles but used their faith to strengthen and encourage them forward.
Reward yourself for every small step you take in letting go. Even a negative relationship is tough to let go of. People fall into patterns in all relationships. You may not have liked the way your partner treated or made you feel but facing life without them can be daunting. Give yourself time to figure out who you are as a single person and define the areas that need extra attention. Choosing to do what makes us afraid is the real meaning of courage. Accept the challenge and praise yourself for taking care of your responsibilities without making excuses or blaming your relationship.
Part of a creating a healthy relationship is being ready to accept responsibility and make changes in ourselves to achieve what we value most. If you’re stuck in a relationship that depletes you, be brave enough to face it honestly, talk about it directly, and end it with integrity and grace. Relationships change when one partner changes; be the change and let go.