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Why Are We Ready to Leave, But Not Ready to Let Go?

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The feeling of being ready to leave, but not ready to let go—what exactly is it?

Unfortunately, it is an entanglement of emotions I know all too well.

It is when your heart still beats for the person lying next to you, but your arms no longer have the strength to reach for them. It is that pang in the depth of your gut when you need to hear their voice, whether out of comfort or habit, but your fingers no longer have energy to dial the number you know as “theirs”. Maybe, it is the tears that well in your eyes when you look in theirs, knowing deep down the day will come that you will no longer be able to hold their gaze.

Sometimes we fight so hard to stay somewhere, we may have never been meant for in the first place. But, it’s that comfort of knowing (for better or worse) exactly what this love looks like. I know I’ve held a hand tighter, just to be sure that they wouldn’t have the space for anyone else’s. I’ve put hours of effort into my appearance, just to ensure they wouldn’t feel the need to double tap any influencer’s photos that night.

Am I the only one who has fought tooth and nail for a relationship that had clearly passed it’s expiration date?

The truth is, no I am not the only one—and neither are you.

So, why is it that we linger between letting go and being ready to leave?

I could place blame on fairytales, Disney movies, and the happy endings we are expected to find; although fairytales never prepared us for all of the in-between.

Maybe we grew up in a broken home, or underneath the wreckage of a toxic marriage; either way we have clung to the thought of holding on to love. We have been conditioned to be all in to a “love,” no matter how toxic, or expired. Possibly even clinging to the “love,” because you cannot stomach the thought of yet another broken heart.

Regardless, we have had to learn from our own heartbreak and experiences; when it’s time to walk away, and why we should do so (unfortunately).

Here’s where the question of love versus attachment should be posing itself. Identifying the difference is important, and sometimes applicable to these broken loves.

However, what about the ones who are holding onto hope that this exhaustion is just a temporary rough patch?

What do we say to the ones who have given a relationship their all, and still feel like it was all in vain?

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How about the ones whose friends can only formulate the occasional eye roll rather than advice, because they are tired of hearing about it?

Well to them, and myself, I will extend an age old cliche that was made more popular at some point in the 80s: listen to your heart.

Although seemingly contradictory of that we have listed and discussed above, there is no generic “right” answer or “formula.”

I wish I had a magic answer or solution to anyone drowning in the depths of this in between. But that would mean less broken hearts by the millions. The only solution I have found, is one that comes with a deep love of self, coupled with self awareness.

Listen to your heart, she won’t steer you wrong. She knows when the two of you are ready to leave, or if you should stay a little longer.

Listen to her, and trust yourself.