(originally published January 21, 2010)
Guilt and longing are two very human emotions that often blend into a desperate glue that keeps people stuck in situations they ought not to be in. Whether it is with family, friends or a prospective spouse, trust that small, smart voice inside of you which repeats the mantra you try to ignore: "This is destructive or dangerous. Let it go or get out."
Decent people feel guilty about pulling away from a relationship because "it will hurt the other person's feelings," and decent people just cringe at the idea of causing another emotional pain. That's nice, but guilt
is a cue that what you're doing is wrong
, not that what you're doing is something somebody else just doesn't want or like. There is no intent to hurt in this situation. There is only the intent to preserve one's own emotional and physical safety and/or well-being.
Longing is a natural condition - i.e., wanting something to be right and good because you've invested in it, and because it is a good thing to want: a great, happy, healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship is always a blessing. However, when that is clearly not
the case, then withdrawing is the healthiest and, therefore, right thing to do. It is difficult for people to give up their dreams, but you have to remember that the dream
is not the problem. The current object of that dream is the problem. Take your dream and plant it where it can actually grow well.
Remember, there is no growth without discomfort or outright pain. Consider growing pains of the emotional sort just a natural course of events as you mature, and make wise decisions. Choose wisely; treat kindly. Treating kindly won't work if you haven't chosen wisely.