Even when we desperately want to stay on good terms with someone we care about, the end of our relationship with them is sometimes inevitable. But when it comes time to end things with them, many of us hesitate. We wonder if it’s really worth throwing away years of a good thing just because we don’t vibe so well together anymore, or if it’s a sign of weakness to let a person walk out of our lives without fighting to keep them there. Whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend, or even a family member, this is why you should never feel guilty about letting someone go if you feel like you need to:
Life is too short to feel like an option. There are plenty of people out there who will make you feel important, like you’re an irreplaceable piece to their life puzzles. Why would you stick around for someone who makes you feel like you’re anything less than that? Move on from the kind of person who makes you feel like you’re only sometimes worthwhile and make room for someone who always makes you feel loved.
Just because you grew apart doesn’t mean you’re bad people. There are lots of awesome folks out there who were once inseparable but are now better off apart. They don’t stop being awesome — they’re just less awesome as a duo than they are as individuals. Neither you nor the other person is less cool just because you don’t fit together as well as you once did.
Everyone changes over time. Just like you gain and lose friends as you transition from elementary to middle to high school, the same thing happens when you hit adulthood. We’re constantly moving to different life stages, and it’s normal (and expected) that major parts of us are going to change as we do so. Some friends will be with us forever, and that’s great. Others won’t, and that’s fine, too.
Sometimes, staying will do you more harm than leaving. It’s natural to want to cling to someone you can feel yourself apart from, but if you have to force any kind of relationship with another person, it’s probably not worth it. We deserve to feel wanted and loved, so if you’re not feeling that way, it’s going to be painful to fight for the attention and care that you’re never going to get organically from this other person. Sometimes, you have to rip off the proverbial band-aid to let yourself heal when your relationship with another person reaches its end.
It doesn’t negate all the good times you had together. Saying that this person was never good for you just because they aren’t good for you now is like saying that the chocolate cake you ate last night wasn’t worth it because it’s now poop. Some friendships and relationships were awesome at one point, just not made to last. Walking out when it’s not worth it anymore doesn’t erase all the good memories you have together.
It’s better to look back on your relationship with happiness rather than bitterness. When you hold on to a friendship or romantic relationship that just isn’t meant to be, it can build feelings of resentment and even anger. By letting go, there’s way more of a chance that you’ll be able to remember the better times with a smile rather than lamenting how sour things turned at the end.
Just because they aren’t right for you now doesn’t mean they weren’t right for you before. Even though we want them to be, some people just aren’t meant to be in our lives until the day we die. That doesn’t mean that we were never meant to cross paths, though. We meet countless people throughout our lives, and it would be irrational to think that everyone we were close with when we were 17 is going to mean the same to us when we hit age 40. Love these people for who they were to you when you needed them, and then let them go if their presence is now less of a help and more of a hindrance.
Not all relationships are supposed to last forever. The drunk girl you met at that concert probably wasn’t lifetime-BFF material, and the Italian boy you met while studying abroad was probably much better as a summer fling than a husband. You’ll find people in your life who are meant to stick around until the end, but I guarantee they’ll never make you feel like you don’t fit together with them anymore.
You don’t have to make a dramatic exit. People talk about “friend breakups” like they have to happen the same way that romantic breakups do. But really, with most non-romantic relationships, you can get away with doing the slow fade out of someone’s life. There are obviously exceptions, but in most cases, you don’t have to make a big deal out of exiting someone’s life when you feel like you haven’t really been a part of it for a long time anyway.
You should never feel obligated to stay in contact with anyone. Not your ex, not your half-friend, not your family members. Some people are truly toxic, and others just don’t add anything valuable to our lives. But if their impact on you is more negative than positive, it’s more than acceptable to let them go. Society likes to make us feel guilty for “giving up” on relationships that go south, but in reality, there’s no reason to keep trying to make things work if it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
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