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When Do You Leave a Relationship?

Are you experiencing troubles in your relationship? Have you secretly been up at night wondering if you should leave?

Have you put a lot of work into trying to make it better but it just doesn’t seem to change, no matter how hard you try? Do you feel like you are the ONLY one doing all the work and the person you’re in relationship doesn’t seem to even want to try?

I remember the first moment I thought I wanted to leave my first husband. We were in Paris, a failed attempt to try to bring romance back into our life together. I was sitting at a café with him as he watched passers-by and I wrote in my journal with a glass of wine.

I privately admitted the truth to myself as I scribbled the words, “I think I want to divorce.” I closed my journal quickly, continued to drink rosé, and tried to make light conversation. He had heard me talking on and on for five years. It seemed like nothing I could come up with to say could make things better between us.

For two years, that secret lingered within me and became louder and louder. I finally said something to him, “If in a year it’s not better, I think we should separate.”

And a year later, I was on top of the mountain on one of my yearly meditation retreats—and it became crystal clear.

After a day of meditation, sitting in a dark zendo wrapped in my cream organic cotton blanket, I was ready to let him go.

As I reached a space of inner-peace and contentment, I accepted that I was a forty-three year old woman, capable of living my life however I wanted, independent and comfortable with my own aloneness, facing my life however I chose.

I thought about how every relationship we have, every single person who enters our lives, brings with them a fragment of ourselves that we have lost or given away at some time in our past.

Everyone you meet holds some lost piece of who you are in the palm of their open hand as a gift for you to take back into yourself—especially those relationships that are the most painful. Those sharp, difficult fragments are the most important to take.

In the past, I’ve made the mistake of believing that something is lost when a relationship ends. Once, I thought that the heart cannot be repaired, or that the love received can never be replaced. Or even worse, that I would be empty without them.

In truth, each person magnificently came to show me a part of myself that I had not known, could not know until I came to know that person.

The relationships may have resonated with something within me, a familiar pattern I had been making over and over as I moved through time and space. Every relationship helped me go deeper, helped me to know myself.

With each connection, if I was willing, I saw more, I understood more, and moved through layer after layer, coming closer to the core, so that I could heal. So that I could grow. So that I could learn to love others and myself better.  

With this key relationship in my life, with a marriage that was so closely tied to my identity, this was more true than ever. In viewing it this way, I knew then that I had the courage to leave.

But, why, after so many years of doubt, was I ready at that moment?

Because I trusted that we all change. Because of that change  the two of us no longer met each other where we were. Through the course of the relationship we had reclaimed all that we were meant reclaim.

As much as I loved him, leaving him didn’t have to mean a loss. It actually meant I was returning to myself. When I met myself fully, I didn’t need anyone else to complete me. I was free. Free to be me in my fullest capacity.

And yes, five years later, I met my life partner and married again. A new relationship is never a guarantee, but I know I have changed so much between my marriages. As I went through those years alone and continued to grow, my reflections changed and a whole new world opened up. It made me ready to accept a much deeper level of joy, respect, and love.

Wishing you inner freedom! And sending all my love,

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Lynn Newman