I always say to people, no one can make you leave a relationship until you are ready.
It is quite hard to mistake, what it feels like when you are truly wanted and desired.
If you have never known what that feels like. Let me tell you how it feels.
It feels like being yourself is easily the only expectation.
It feels like everything you say or do is welcomed, understood and even when it is not the most positive of contributions, accepted.
It feels like you don’t have to be perfect, you just as you are, is enough.
It feels like the sweetest of friendships. A friendship that even distance and time cannot diminish.
It feels like the very least of effort. You never have to try so hard to connect or to matter.
It is impossible to mistake the feeling of being a priority. The feeling is undeniable when you know you matter, when you are listened to, and when you are cared for you in a way that is apparent that what you want, and what you need is considered by the person you love.
Their actions consider you.
I stress this because it is often the reason why we run into disagreements with people we love romantically.
Their actions don’t consider you.
They act knowing fully well that it would harm you, their needs are so much more important and are a more pressing priority than your hurt.
Your hurt is a risk they are willing to take.
We spend so long in this foggy area, unclear on what it means for the person you romantically love, to keep taking the risk of hurting you.
We question ourselves, we question our close ones.
What does this mean?
We try to get to the bottom of it. We justify our reasons for remaining in the relationship, after all there are some good parts.
There is still love, I still have butterflies.
We still have such an amazing connection when we are together, when we are happy.
A connection that we believe makes it worth the wait.
Once they realize what they could lose, things will be different.
We threaten to leave, we hope it jolts them into this realization.
But we are always there, even when we threaten to leave.
The thing about romantic relationships, is that you can always tell who is more emotionally involved.
When we threaten to leave while being present emotionally, our unspoken message reads loud and clear.
We make threats buoyed by emotions of longing and hope.
A one sided yearning for change present in the ultimatums we make.
“I will leave, if you don’t…”
Your threats of leaving are dependent on performance expectations of your partner.
It tells them that you are still present, you are still ready to be with them till they finally get it together.
They are aware of your willingness to stay, even as you believe you are passionately giving them an ultimatum.
What they can hear, is that they have another chance to have you still with them, despite the fact that they have hurt you deliberately, by choice, multiple times.
They hear it, they see your struggle to be strong, they just don’t care enough to give you what you want, because they just don’t love you enough.
The disconnect happens when you realize that there will be no change.
The disconnect happens when the change finally comes too late and after too much.
The disconnect happens when you become aware of the time you spent giving unreciprocated loyalty, attention and love, to a human just like you, who acted like those things were not difficult for you to give.
The disconnect happens when you realize that a person that deliberately hurt you, multiple times, does not deserve getting any more from you, emotionally or physically.
The disconnect happens when you become at home, with the realization that you would rather be happier loving yourself on your own, then hating yourself with a person who is supposed to love you.
The disconnect happens when you realize that they have nothing to offer you, but more pain, more distress, more insecurity, more questions and more anxiety.
And when that disconnect finally happens. When your heart finally gets exhausted from loving tirelessly to no aim and no reward, then you will be strong enough to walk away.
And when you do, you will look back on your experience and say to yourself,
And I hope that you keep that promise to yourself.
Words by Doreen Caven
Image by J.D. OKHAI OJEIKERE