A relationship - by definition - is easy to start, as it just needs some form of association between two individuals. A good relationship, on the other hand, is difficult to come by and even harder to maintain because it takes a conscious effort from both parties to ensure that the relationship lasts. With the ideal relationship being one that is built on a solid foundation of transparency, trust, honesty, respect, empathy and of course, my all-time favourite: good communication.
Throughout the entirety of your long-lived life, you will form multiple relationships, whether platonic, intimate, genetic, or professional. And many a time along your life's journey you will reach a point where the effort that you put into maintaining and conserving a relationship is significantly outweighed by the negative impact that the relationship and the individual have on your life overall.
When you eventually reach this point: you need to let go. As difficult as it may seem, as challenging as it might be, and as counter-intuitive as one might think it is.
"But Ben, people can't just give up so easily! Isn't there still hope? Aren't there valid reasons to continue fighting for a relationship?"
Well, yeah, sure, there are many reasons to continue fighting for a relationship, but just because we can fight for something, does not mean that we should fight for it. And without a certain level of self-awareness, self-respect and honest introspection, one can easily end up valiantly fighting for all the right things, but for all the wrong reasons.
- Sometimes we continue fighting because we see this failing relationship as a challenge to tackle, an obstacle to overcome, and a battle to conquer.
- Sometimes we continue fighting because we are well aware of just how much potential there is in the individual and we want to keep them in our life today, either because of who we think they can be tomorrow, or because of who they were yesterday.
- Sometimes we continue fighting because we simply have nothing else to fallback on, and this relationship is literally all that we have left. So we desperately try our very best to hold onto it at all costs.
- And sometimes we continue fighting because we are stubborn individuals that get lost deep within the sauce of the pathological phenomenon known as the "Concorde fallacy". Unwilling to cut our losses, as it would essentially mean that all of our efforts thus far, would be completely nullified.
Regardless of your reason for fighting for the relationship, and irrespective of whether you think you can justify your behaviour or not. One needs to understand that if your returns are still significantly outweighed by your investment - be it time, energy, emotions, or material resources - while you think you have convinced yourself that you are fighting for a good relationship, what you are actually doing is actively prolonging a toxic one.
You may have been madly in-love once, and promised each other all of your tomorrows. You may have sold each other ambitious dreams of taking over the world of business together. You may even have naively thought that you would be hashtag best friends forever - the reasons don't matter as much. What matters most is your sense of self-worth, your mental health and your overall well-being.
So when the time comes - and trust me, it will come - just understand that you need to let go. It will not be easy, but it is definitely worth it. You deserve better, so be better.
Don't play yourself - life's too short to keep putting up with people's bullshit.