How do you leave when you are still in love?
This was one of the toughest questions I ever had to ask myself; and it was necessary. I had to find a way to leave because I was in an abusive relationship. You know what the hardest part is? When you love someone and you know they love you back but you can’t stay because the relationship is unhealthy.
It is very difficult to leave someone when there are good aspects to the relationship, like: company, good sex, a luxurious lifestyle, friendship. In my case, it was the love and companionship. In my heart, I really wanted to make it work. He was fun, great company, he understood me and he loved me; but you can’t make it work with someone who is in denial about the severity of their behavior; and you can’t make it work with someone who is not willing to improve.
There are people who say that if someone loves you, they wouldn't treat you in certain types of ways. I don’t feel this is necessarily true. There is a difference between feeling love and knowing how to express it well. Knowing how to treat someone in a kind and loving way is a learned behavior. People treat you as best they can based on who they have come to be and what they know. So when it comes down to it, it’s not a question of, does this person love you. The question is: Are they capable of treating you in the way that you want/need to be treated?
This is what makes it so difficult. I think what happens a lot of times is people connect love with behavior. However, think about this: Someone could treat you like a queen (or king), showering you with gifts and complimenting you but that doesn't mean that they love you. That behavior could merely be a result of having parents who taught him/her that that is the way you treat a lady/man. Shoot, rappers do it every day and they “don’t love dem hos!” Ha! In the wise words of Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”
So how do we do it? How do we leave when we’re still in love? Well the first thing you have to ask yourself is, do you really want to leave? Then you have to answer that question honestly. Then make a choice and stick with it. If your choice is to stay, then make that choice, deal with the consequences and stop complaining to people about how poorly the person treats you. (And yes, you are allowed to change your mind after you make a decision.)
If you decide that you do want to leave, then you have to ask yourself, why haven’t you left yet? Are you staying because you don’t like being alone? Perhaps it’s because you don’t have money to leave. Is it the great sex? Are you staying because of the children or love?
There are many scenarios and I am not going to get into all of them but I will do my best to express to you the mentality you will have to develop in order to leave. Everybody’s situation is different. The fact is, you can’t do shit with your stuff if you are dead. So if you are in an abusive relationship, there’s no question… you have to get out.
However, whether you are in a serious situation or not, it’s really a matter of knowing that something has to be done and doing it. Once you make the decision that you are going to leave, then no matter what is keeping you in the unhealthy relationship, you need to find a way to overcome it.
When you need to lose weight, what do you do? You eat healthier and you work out. If that doesn't work, you might increase your work out and start counting calories. Then, if necessary, you’ll start to do research on how to change up your lifestyle and workout for optimum results. If you’re still having trouble, you might go to the doctor to see what he thinks or you might join Weight Watchers; but here’s the deal, if you really want to lose that weight, can’t hell or high waters stop you. And losing weight can be tough, lengthy, tedious and take months, if not years to accomplish. Then, on top of all of that, you have to keep the weight off.
This is the attitude you have to have when leaving someone that you still love and if you don’t have it, you have to develop it. There is something that was said to me before by a counselor. She said, “You don’t have to have all of the answers now. You don’t have to cope emotionally now. You can leave first and then cope. You can leave first and then get answers”. You can deal with the fact that they hurt you and all of the “whys” after you have separated yourself from the unhealthy relationship.
What we have to do as people (especially women), is accept the situation for what it is and not what it could be. We have to recognize what situation we are in, accept it, make a decision and then work toward that goal and not stop until it is reached. Trying to change someone isn't going to work. People are who they are and they change when they want to change because they want to change. The fact of the matter is, they might very well change… just not while they’re with you and that can hurt to see but at the same time, your leaving them is probably what propelled them to change.
Also, you cannot wait forever on people to change. There is a difference between waiting on someone to change and trying to change them. I never tried to change my Ex. I was waiting on him and working with him to change, per his request. I told him what was not going to work and he assured me that he was working on himself and that I should be patient. This was logical to me because I agreed to be committed to him and commitment is about patience and team work, but once I realized that he was taking advantage of my patience, it was no longer logical.
He used to say to me all of the time, “We have our whole lives to work on it,” and I would always say, “No. We don’t. We have to fix it now because our life is happening now”.
With his type of attitude, nothing ever gets done and by the time you decide to work on it, you are tired, old and set in your ways. Waiting on someone that is not going to change or is changing very slowly is a waste of your time and you deserve to be treated well NOW. You shouldn't have to wait. Besides, what they are saying, in effect is, “Your time is not valuable to me. You can wait a few years longer while I treat you like shit and then, when I feel like being better, I’ll work on it… if I’m not too old and set in my ways.”
Now for those of you who are reading this and saying, “Well, it’s not that easy,” then I suggest that you go back up to the suggested questions and review the one that asks: Do I really want to leave? In fact, I will do you one better and say that that question should be: Do I need to leave? Because you may not want to, I didn't want to, but I needed to; and so I did. You can too.