Why Can’t You Say Goodbye?

A sad young woman trying to say goodbyeSometimes, even though you know it’s the best thing for you, it’s still difficult to say those words out loud. “I need a divorce.” Or whatever it is you need to say to terminate your relationship. Because once the words are “out there” it isn’t easy to take them back. You’re in for inexorable change, and no one likes change. Your partner finally knows how you feel and the train has left the station. There’s no stopping it now.

Why is it so hard to reach that point?

1) Inertia

It seems so sad, but it’s true. Sometimes not doing anything at all is just the comfortable norm you’ve accepted. Your partner is familiar to you even if it’s not in a good way. You know what to expect and you’ve grown accustomed to a pattern in your life. And of course the old adage is true—people hate change.

2) Money

Two can live almost as cheaply as one. He owns the house, so where would you live? You’re on his health insurance. Her job pays more and you just eek by now. There are all kinds of considerations. But the fact is, you can find a way to stand on your own two feet if you work at it. You must.

3) Fear

You’re afraid to be alone. You’re afraid of starting your life all over from scratch. The prospect is exhausting. You’re afraid you’ll never find somebody else. But the fact is, you will never find somebody else unless you let go of your current partner. And you might discover that living by yourself, getting to know yourself and being alone for a change is just the tonic you need.

4) Failure

You don’t want to admit it. You might even be embarrassed to tell your friends, family, and coworkers. Maybe this isn’t the first time you’ve had a big breakup, and your friends have heard this song and dance before. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. You cannot worry what other people think. You have to do what’s right for you. The real failure is not saying goodbye when it’s the best thing for you.

5) Children

This one’s tricky. Of course you should make every effort to make your relationship work, children or no children. But staying in a bad relationship does not necessarily set a good example for them. If you do need to leave, you’ll have to be sensitive to timing and your children’s circumstances. Remember, this will be a major event in their lives. If you’ve tried your best and still need to divorce, behave in an exemplary way.

What if you’re in a toxic situation that may be dangerous to your health and safety? Sometimes it’s even hard to say goodbye under those circumstances. I’ll talk more about it next week.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: Contact Us

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