Have you ever felt like you were slowly drifting apart from a friend or a significant other? It’s one of the worst feelings in the world because it’s not actually over yet, nothing actually happened. If it were over, you would know, and then you could begin taking steps to accept it and heal from it. But no. It’s like they started to get to know you, and then once they did, they decided they don’t like you anymore. What do you even say? When would you even bring it up? That is if you bring it up. Maybe you can’t even bear to say anything for fear that that actually would end things.
You’ve already developed an attachment to your partner where you find their approval to be rewarding, so your first instinct might be to try and make things better by doing what you can to avoid having that conversation. You’ll try to fit their mold of the perfect partner or friend, to be everything they wanted. But in doing that, you lose yourself. You become less you and more of what you think they want you to be. You don’t fight them when they express opinions that bewilder you. You don’t speak up when they cross your boundaries. You act like it’s no big deal that they forgot your birthday, didn’t come to your graduation, didn’t congratulate you on your job offer or promotion, and literally never ask you anything about you.
When this doesn’t work, it almost doesn’t seem fair. Despite all your efforts, why are they still unhappy? When someone you’re attached to disapproves of you, or withdraws prior approval, you feel anxious, concerned, and scared of the unknown. To stifle yourself so much for someone else and realize it’s still not enough for them, that’s heartbreaking. Not only does this not help your relationship, it breaks your relationship with yourself.
Instead, if you are in a place where you think you don’t make them happy anymore, tell them. I know it’s a risk because you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you could break up, but staying together can be just as heartbreaking. Being alone is sometimes a better option than being in a relationship where you feel alone. You need to assess your needs, not just theirs. Are your social, emotional, and physical needs being met? You can pretend that everything is fine for months, even years, and still nothing could get better, but it will hurt more the longer you let it go on. There is no good time to say you feel unloved or like your partner isn’t happy. The perfect moment won’t come. It’s something you’ll probably have to rip it off like a band-aid.
Healthy relationships require you to be true to yourself, to feel accepted for who you are, not who you pretend to be, and to accept your partner for who they truly are, not who you want them to be. They also require openness when feeling distant, and honesty when drifting apart. The best option is to honestly and thoroughly assess if this relationship is growing you as a person or not, ask your partner to do so as well, and then discuss. If you’re both trying to hide unhappiness, then your relationship becomes a facade for two broken hearts. It’s actually pretty normal to be in a broken relationship simply because staying together is more comfortable than letting them go. It’s understandable. It’s what you’re used to. That doesn’t mean it’s fair to either of you.
It’s much better to lose someone you’re dating than to lose yourself. Be true to who you are. Stand by your beliefs and convictions. Never, ever, lessen yourself to appease others. Be relentlessly you, and don’t apologize for it. Be so you that you radiate. Be so you that you glow. This requires you being honest about how you feel and what you need and don’t need in your life right now, and something you don’t need is people who don’t see your worth.
If you don’t make your partner happy anymore, that’s fine. It hurts, but you will be fine. Love shouldn’t feel like you are walking on eggshells. You shouldn’t have to feel constantly afraid of offending them. By letting go of that tension, by letting go of the need to please others, by letting go of trying to be the perfect partner all the time, you can be perfectly you. And then you can start to heal. We’ll help you to pick up all the broken pieces because you deserve a whole heart.