When You Know Your Heart Is Not Where It Belongs, But You Choose To Stay


In the last year, I’ve done some amazing things for myself, some life-changing things. I’ll tell you one. I finally got out of a relationship that had long past run its course. I say finally because that’s exactly what it was: my decision to breakup was final. I quit returning. I quit justifying.

I quit having hope and expecting change and I quit waiting for love to reappear.

The latter took the most courage. In a sense, I had to give up and give myself over to the fear that had been preventing me from ending my relationship for so long. This was the fear of losing my best friend, of being alone, of having no distraction, of having no one to love. God knows I was expressing almost zero love to myself during that time.

My weight had plummeted to a hundred pounds and as sad as that is, what devastated me more was that I hadn’t even noticed. In retrospect, I am not surprised by my own blindness. It was convenient. It was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to avoid looking at myself, and that is the only thing any unhealthy, co-dependent, and consuming relationship has going for itself.

It distracts you from your own chaos and drama, from your own torture and breakdown. This is obvious to me now. It’s obvious that my preoccupation with a half-assed relationship was strategic. It’s obvious that my romantic upset was a coverup, a distraction I fed into because it took the attention off my own spiraling, off my own reality, the reality that I had forgotten how to give love to myself.

My fear of this, of all there was for me to learn, is what made the dysfunction in my relationship so compelling. So attractive. So compulsive. So, of course, I latched onto it. What I latched onto as it were a savior was the thought process that if I could give all my energy to “us” instead, and remain both furious and depleted by my efforts, I wouldn’t have to discover all it might take to “fix” myself.

I wouldn’t have to discover and then honor all it was going take for me to love myself again. All it was going to take to change my life. And the gravity of this need overwhelmed me. Because hidden beneath all my pain was the purest want of all, the want to become the highest vision of myself. And I was avoiding this because I knew that that vision would call upon the very honesty I was resisting, the honesty that if I wanted to become the greatest person I could be, I was going to have to leave my relationship.

I was going to have to take on life on my own.

Last year when I left my relationship, I wasn’t ready. I was desperate. This surprised me. Because I always thought that when you are ready to leave that would be the time you would. Not true. You are rarely ever ready. In fact, I don’t believe you’re ever ready to breakup. There just never is a good time.

When I left my relationship, it was actually the worst time, in that it was a time of many interviews, interviews that would determine not only my next step but my future. I needed my presentation, my focus, my livelihood to be bolstered by a love I didn’t yet have. Not from myself. Not from a boyfriend. It was also a time that I had been envisioning, that I imagined if I’d ever manage to get myself to that it would be filled with happiness and confidence and celebration. And yet, I could hardly celebrate my progress or arrival at all.

What I remember most is crying over lunch and dinner. I remember the nausea in the morning when I woke and realized I was alone, that no one would be calling to wish me luck. At the time, I didn’t feel like there was anything for me to celebrate. Only, there was. It’s just that it was hard to. It’s hard to celebrate yourself closing in on your dreams when the very thing which has consumed your heart has vanished. So, no.

You will never be prepared for heartache. You just have to plunge in and figure out how to breakthrough.

Like I said, when I left my relationship, I finally stopped engaging. I finally quit reaching out with hope. I didn’t even respond when he turned back up promising me love either. Keeping my word was a remarkable feat. It felt like an achievement, like the first move I could be proud of in a very long time. Because the thing is honoring my word, honoring my intuition, had been my greatest resistance and that resistance was always at the forefront of my mind, overwhelming me with shame and fear.

Fear that sabotaging myself had become sewn into the fabric of my character,

a trait which I could not strip myself of or overturn. Fear that emotional laziness had become my new default and that that default would keep me trapped in relationships that were already breaking my heart. When I was still in my relationship this is what panicked me. My weakness and consent.

Because knowing that you are slipping out of your own control, knowing that this is not where your heart belongs and choosing to stay anyways, to wait it out, is a death sentence.

What happens is, at a certain point, you will stop believing in your own ability to care for yourself, to watch out for yourself, to do what is right for you and your well-being first and foremost. This is what you need to understand: committing yourself to any relationship that has gotten you feeling so unhappy, so panicked and intimated by your own desperation, will deplete you of the very love you need from yourself. Do not take this gamble.

Do not wait till you have plummeted to a hundred pounds like me. Do not wait till a doctor calls you anorexic and says he cannot help you. Do not wait for a convenience that will never come. When you remain imprisoned by your own fear, when you are so haunted by your future as a single person that you stay in a relationship that has already run its course, you set yourself up to fall entirely out of love with yourself.

No one worth having is worth falling out of love with yourself for.