Let it go– not just a song.
Letting go in dating is a true art form. I have held onto more relationship junk so far past a reasonable expiration date and in the end, who does it hurt? Me. So how do we know when it is time to let go?
In the case of the smaller scale “let it go” items… I will pull a story from a relationship I had many years ago. My significant other and I got in what started as a playful argument in the car one day about the made up word “padiddle.” I think most people say it when they spot a car with one taillight or headlight out, while others say it as they speedily go through a yellow light at the last minute. One of these situations happened and I said “padiddle.” He said, that’s cute honey but its “vadiddle.” Such began the most ridiculous argument I have ever been in. This argument went on for weeks. Every time we were in the car it literally became stressful if we spotted that missing light on the car or went through a yellow light…. the tension was extreme. What I still cannot figure out to this day is why on earth either of us let this go on. It sounds silly, but this literally became a problem in our relationship. It spiraled from us saying a word differently (a made-up word no less), to who was smarter than who, to who had more respect for who, and blah blah stupid blah. I mean… seriously… RIDICULOUS. Why on earth didn’t at least one of us let this stupid thing go? No idea.
What about letting go of the crush that is never going to return your interest? (Warning: this story is going to make me look pathetic, enjoy.) I was fixed up with a guy who was very nice, very good looking, very together, so it seemed. We went out on one date and had what I thought was a great time. A few days later he stopped answering my texts, facebook messages, everything. You would think at this point I would let it go. Nope. I just had to keep trying. First I sent the casual friend-type text. Then I got smarter and started using facebook messenger–a more stalker-friendly device– as we all know that you can tell when people view those messages. I lost the cool, calm and collected Sara, and sunk to the “what happened? Did I do something wrong?” Sara. Not helpful. None of this made any difference and nothing I said would have made any difference as I am pretty sure he knew we were never going on a second date the minute the first date ended. If only I could have gracefully LET IT GO.
The hardest type of letting go is the post break-up letting go. I have a fairly new friend who, like me, can attest to the fact that no matter how bad someone has treated you, no matter how strong your gut knows it is better that you are not with him, and no matter how many people remind you of this daily, when you are in love with someone, and they break up with you… it is so hard to let it go. I have realized over and over again that love is really blinding. It hides from us all the bad stuff and shows us only what we really want to see. Those around us can see all that other stuff but there is only so much they can do. They are not inside our hearts or our heads. This strange thing happens when you are broken up with. It is like your mind suddenly erases all the pain, all the fights, all the doubts you had while in the relationship and leaves you with this overwhelming sense of self doubt and emptiness. So many of us think that is a reason to hold on longer… to try to figure it out or fix it. In reality, we don’t have any other option… we have to let it go. (There is of course a recovery period for this; no one is expected to just wake up the next day and be fine.)
I wonder, why is it so hard to let go of things that hurt us so badly? What do we miss most– the routine? The normalcy? The companionship? I guess it can be comforting to know who you will go to bed with that night and who you will wake up to in the morning. It can be reassuring that on your worst day you have someone to come home to even if that person isn’t right for you in the long run. I think in some cases we have to work harder at protecting our hearts. Of course this won’t always work and we will get hurt– that is life. But maybe if we tried harder to listen to the voice in our heads, the one that’s shouting at us to be better to ourselves, that we deserve more… maybe that will help us let go. Easier said than done, I know. That voice in our hearts is often so much louder than the one in our heads.
I do think we all have to work harder to let go– to not be so emotionally exhausted hanging onto things that continue to hurt us. I can think of about 12 other places for me to use that energy, you?
Let’s all be a little better to ourselves,