It’s interesting how so many of us opt out of living a drama-free life by allowing people or things to become a part of our lives longer than they are welcome. One afternoon I sat across one of my colleagues, wherein halfway through a strictly professional conversation, she threw me off by sharing something deeply personal about her life. She had gone through a divorce, left her home country and moved to the UAE with her children in pursuit of a fresh start.
Two days later, in yet another conversation with someone else, the lady across the table talked about how she was on a quest to redefine her life’s goals after walking away from an abusive 10 year-long marriage. By the end of that same week, one of my very close friends shared how she had just then made the decision to walk away from a relationship fraught with lying, disloyalty, trust issues and a whole host of other drama.
The message was loud and clear for me – sometimes one does all that they can to make a relationship work and even that isn’t always enough. Sometimes, as a woman, you have to pick up the pieces, say “good-bye” to the madness, and walk away. But what happens when there isn’t any obvious offence, yet you carry a growing sense that something just isn’t right? How do you know when it’s time to deescalate a relationship’s ladder and part ways? Here are a three clear signs to alert you that perhaps it’s time to call a relationship or relationship quits and move on with your life:
1. You feel strong sense of discomfort when you are around that person or thing. There have been many relationships in my life that simply came to an end without anything actually happening beyond my just feeling a deep sense of discomfort. I couldn’t articulate what was going on or why I felt this way but knew that I couldn’t entertain anything more than the rudimentary once in a while “hi there.”
In a non-relationship focused scenario, I vividly remember the angst I felt before resigning from this one particular job. It was a great opportunity, I had served a good bit of time there, the money was good and I had enjoyed some pretty compelling "aha!" moments in my role there. But I felt the need to move on. Everything about the place all of a sudden bothered me and I felt a certain kind of way about how the least outspoken were being treated there. What did I do in both scenarios? I asked GOD for a way out and trusted that He would show himself strong. I prayed for a new opening in the case of the job and asked GOD to reveal to me why I felt uncomfortable in the relationships I needed to walk away from. It was only a matter of time before I was headhunted or the other party seemingly grew distant – and that to me was my opportunity for that “good-bye.”
2. You feel taken for granted – time and time again. Let’s face it; no one is immune to being taken for granted or offended sometimes. But when a person repeatedly offends you or makes you feel less than valuable, perhaps it’s time to cut your ties. Relationships are a two-way street. A healthy relationship values compromise, understands the delicate balance between giving and receiving, respects boundaries and the feelings of all parties involved in that relationship. Ask GOD to reveal to you the direction of your relationships, helping you to forgive where there has been offence. Oftentimes in seasons of misunderstanding, there is something we are to learn about ourselves too. Be conscious and acknowledge your limits, but don’t forget to look within to see if you too are contributing to the relational imbalance.
3. There are chronic tears shed – and they aren’t tears of joy. Simply put, no one deserves your chronic state of heartbreak. Relationships that are emotionally vested do take a toll on one’s well-being when things go wrong. When a fight erupts, it’s commonplace for anger to make an entry and create a wedge of miscommunication or total silence – both of which can manifest into deeper adverse emotions if not handled timeously. A red flag is when a total meltdown ensues over consistent bad behaviour and sheer disregard for the depth at which you are hurting each other. If there are more tears than words and actions illustrating love, perhaps it’s time to accept that indeed love may have gone cold. If you have tried all there is to try including counselling and intervention to no avail, ask GOD for a confirmation of what the next step is, staying conscious of the fact that emotions are the most unstable sets of feelings out there.
Many of us will go through relationships easily described by those around us as hazardous. I understand how difficult it is to not only stand up for yourself especially when you legitimately care for the person on the other side of a relationship. Sometimes life deals us a bitter pill and we find ourselves walking away from a relationship, or situation we thought would last a lifetime.
Navigating a variety of friendships and relationships with relatives or colleagues that have with the passage of time evolved, has taught me that the only relationship that is a given is one that you have with GOD. I too have had to count the cost of staying in a situation that makes me miserable. I found that too expensive to do, and am thankful that GOD has shown me with each passing year how to identify signs of potential disrespect or downright abuse. I pray that as you do life, you too ask for discernment, and the Spirit of GOD to show you people and situations for what they are. As the adage goes, disappointments will take place, but it’s how you rise from them that counts the most.