Over the last two years, I’ve read dozens of blogs, articles, books, and captions to gain some kind of clarity on my situation. After all, how do you leave someone you love and promised to spend your life with? How do you walk away from a good relationship when it goes against everything you were taught about life and love? We’re told that to find someone who loves us for who we are is one of the greatest accomplishes in life. What happens when the feelings are just off?
I remember searching for someone, anyone, that had been through a similar divorce as mine. While it seemed many of us quietly left our good relationships, there were a handful of readings that reminded me I wasn’t alone.
And neither are you. I’m here to give you that permission you’ve been seeking (even though we both know you don’t need permission). You’re allowed to leave a good relationship.
I am living proof that it’s possible to wake up one day and admit that you’re not happy with good enough. You can grow and evolve, change your mind, and then change it again. You’re not the same person you were when you entered the relationship. And the only person’s opinion that truly matters, is yours.
I know, first hand, how hard it is to leave a good relationship. I had everything I was told I’d want for a happy life basically wrapped up with a bow on top.
But I walked away. And that’s okay. I lived, and he survived. Better yet, we’re both thriving, separately.
If you landed on this post, I can only hope that you have the courage to do whatever makes your soul the happiest. Let’s find some clarity.
If someone else can love them better, it’s time to leave.
Read that again.
Love is wonderful, but it isn’t everything. You can love someone and know that it isn’t your person. In fact, sometimes, loving someone from afar is the greatest way to give them your love. It gives them space to find the person that will love them better.
If you feel like you truly love this person, but there’s room for more love that you are not able to give, it’s time to leave.
To keep holding onto someone simply because you do not want them to be with someone else is not love. That’s control, and it’s selfish.
I remember looking at my ex-husband one day as we were in the middle of our divorce and he was already seriously dating someone else. I wondered how I could let someone else sleep next to him every night. How could I allow another girl to live in the home we built together? Would he forget about the last 8 years together? Is the new girl better than me?
All of these questions flooded my mind and it was almost enough reason to beg him to work it out with me, even though it was my choice to end the relationship in the first place.
My ego wanted me to stay for all of the wrong reasons.
Deep down, I realized the new girl gave him the opportunity to be loved by someone else in a way that I simply couldn’t. I had given it my all, and I still knew he could be loved better. Walking away from my relationship gave both of us permission to find partners that could love us better.
If someone truly cares about you, they will want you to be happy, no matter what that looks like.
When you set out to leave a good relationship, guilt is inevitable. It’s one of the biggest rollercoasters of emotion and can become so intense that it might just convince you to stay. Guilt can make you feel weak. Helpless. Your partner can pour so much guilt on you for leaving – especially if you share dogs, a home, kids, etc. – that it can cloud all of the reasons you want to leave.
But think about it. When we truly love someone, don’t we put their happiness on a pedestal, too? So if your partner loves you, they should want you to be happy whether it’s with or without them.
At the end of the day, if you stay in a relationship because of guilt, who is really winning? Neither of you.
Read: The End of Our Love Story: I’m Getting Divorce &
New Beginnings in New Smyrna Beach (One Year After Separating)
There doesn’t have to be narcissism, abuse, infidelity, or any “obvious” reason to leave. You can leave someone you love because it’s the right thing for you.
Most people tell us we deserve better when we’re dealing with abuse, infidelity, etc. The “right” decision usually feels overwhelmingly obvious when you have a partner gaslighting you, manipulating you, or abusing you, but it doesn’t always have to be so blatantly awful.
Because then there’s you. You want to leave a good relationship!? People think you’re crazy.
However, staying in a relationship, job, friendship, etc. that makes us feel anything but good, shouldn’t be tolerated. Just as the shitty relationships shouldn’t be either.
Society has made us believe that if we are not dealing with some kind of fucked up situation, then we have no reason to leave someone we love. That’s bullshit. And we don’t need to quiet our desires for more simply because we should feel fortunate to have someone that isn’t terrible to us. It’s time to rewire our brains and remember that our happiness is imperative in a healthy relationship.
So here’s one of the greatest quotes I read during my divorce journey:
“Go, because you want to… because wanting to leave is enough.”
The quote is from Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The original article, and one that I read dozens of times, can be found here.
Most of us don’t choose to fall out of a good thing. Growth happens and it doesn’t always happen together.
This is your life. Your one shot at all of it. Remind yourself that you’re allowed to do whatever makes you happy, even if that means you need to leave someone you love.
I understand that kids can shake up this entire statement. Some would think it’s selfish to not put the kids first, but I’m a firm believer that if you are not happy with your life, it will undoubtedly seep into all areas of your life, including into your kids’ world. Wouldn’t you rather them see you thriving than faking? But I won’t go down that road too much. I’m not a momma yet and I have a hard time shaping strong opinions about something that I haven’t experienced.
You don’t just leave someone you love because you’re bored or annoyed by the same routine. That itch to leave a good relationship usually comes because you’ve grown out of it.
Maybe you’ve been on an internal journey and your partner didn’t join the ride. Perhaps you’ve seen your partner grow and it’s not where you saw yourself going. Maybe you’ve decided that good enough isn’t good enough for you anymore. All of it is okay. We don’t hear that enough.
So once again, regardless of your reasons, wanting to leave your partner is a good enough reason to go.
I know the inner turmoil that lives inside of you when you’re contemplating this huge change in your life. If you’re having a hard time with it, then good, you’re a human with emotions. You should be proud of caring so much about others, but also know that caring for yourself is just as important. Always remember that you have a choice. They could both be hard choices, but you get to choose your hard.
If you ever need someone to talk to about this relationship, life, and love stuff, I’m your girl. Sending you love.
Tuesday 4th of April 2023
I needed to read this. I've read it before, months ago, seeking validation for what I was feeling. Now I'm two days out of leaving my home and my dog (temporarily) after breaking up with my long term boyfriend. It's hard not to feel crazy for leaving something 'good' and trying to let go of the guilt that 'good' isn't enough for me anymore. Still questioning my decision...
Tuesday 21st of June 2022
Just read your article "you're allowed to leave a relationship". This hit home in so many avenues. I am literally going thru this now and deciding if I should leave or give it 1 more chance.