Thursday, July 3, 2008

Holding onto what, exactly?

"My fingertips are holding onto
the cracks in our foundation
and I know that I should let go
but I can't"
- from Foundations, by Kate Nash

If we look at relationships as opportunities for intense and focused personal development, the barometric reading of any coupling will naturally vary as events unravel between partners because of love's ebb and flow. Being in a relationship takes work -- not only 'us' work, but individual work.

When the task at hand shifts from 'being perfect mirrors for each other's personal and intimate growth' to 'slaving just to keep the relationship from flat lining,' staying together can become a thankless job.

At what point is it just not worth it to stay in a relationship? And, why is it so hard to leave even though there is such bipartisan unhappiness? What keeps us holding on? Is it the hope for the possibility that things will change? Is it being in love with the potential of our mate, while our mate still leaves something to be desired? Is it being bound and immobilized by "what if's" and "just maybe's"? Fear that the grass is not greener on the other side, anyway? Etc. etc. etc., and so on ad nauseum.

If the history of the relations in question hasn't been learned from, tries have been made, talks have been had, and nothing has changed, why does the moxie to be single again elude us at times? Why would we rather shrink behind a crumbling relationship, than chalk it up to a learning and loving experiment, bid adieu, and move on to shine on like the crazy diamonds that we are?

It takes clarity, balls, and bona fide integrity search within the self enough to own up to the honest truth behind one's inability to let go... and grow. Dredging up insecurities, fears, co-dependency issues, lack of personal empowerment, emotional un-intelligence, parental issues, and other gnarly psycho-emotional baggage isn't ever pretty. But this inner stuff can't be ignored lest you're building a life / relationship with bent nails. With or without a significant other, these self-inflicted interventions are a perennial must-have.

We need to feel breathless with love, not collapsed under its weight (or so sings Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol). This breathless buoyancy is not a heavy list of rationalizations avoiding questions with scary answers. There's a difference between leaving too soon when things get tough, and toughing it out when it's already way past due to leave it all behind. Sometimes leaving is the most loving thing to do -- but not only for the other person -- for you.

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