When we enter into a relationship; we rarely think about its end. The type of relationship is really irrelevant as this is something of a universal truth; extending across work, home, love, and various forms of friendship. We’re blinded a bit by the hope that comes with something new… it’s a heady feeling and when asked, most would admit they’d do nearly anything to keep that feeling. For some, it’s the thrill of the chase; for others, just as important as the initial feeling is the memory of it. That memory is what gets us through the trials that we all inevitably face… and sometimes what makes it oh-so-hard to truly break free from the relationship when the time comes.
And for the majority of the population, both in business and in love? The time does indeed come to say goodbye. We’re just rarely ready.
If You Asked Me How I’m Doing, I Would Say I’m Doing Just Fine;
I Would Lie and Say That You’re Not On My Mind…
Does it ever strike you as funny that some of the greatest loves and most important relationships in your life aren’t necessarily equitable? What I mean by that is that you can be completely committed to someone who isn’t equally committed back. This doesn’t make them a bad person or you a loser for not seeing reality; it’s just sort of the way life seems to work. Things get said, get done that are just too hard for one side to come back from… or maybe, as it has been in my case, you commit to someone who’s just resigned themselves to being ‘too damaged’ to try to be the person they could & should be in the relationship. You give it your all (as you see it), they take it… and they just don’t give an equal amount back. Over time, the beauty of that relationship fades. It has to, really.
As it so often is in life when that happens; at a minimum, the disenchanted & less committed of the two parties begins to look at their options. Often both start searching within themselves and seeking counsel of those around them on how to effect change. At work, this often looks like the employee checking to see what their friendly agency recruiter(s) have in store for them; and the employer wondering what needs to be done to save the investment that is the relationship: to “re-energize” & re-engage the employee within the organization. In our ‘personal relationships,’ (1) we test our sanity in rocky situations by talking with friends, seeking wisdom & new ideas in counseling, reading relationship books, and perhaps praying to G-d that we don’t give up on each other.
Hope There’s a Conversation, We Both Admit We Had it Good,
You Took This Heart & Put it Through Hell… That Much I Understood…
While of course we’ve talked – in degrees – with our partners along the way; eventually we get to the point where we have to find the courage to have the talk with the other person in our relationship. One side or the other found an option that they couldn’t walk away from… and they think they want to be ‘free.’ I’ll never forget this conversation in my last serious personal relationship. I was ready to walk away; or at least I thought I was. I’d taken his key off my key chain and started to say the words I’d rehearsed so many times in my head: “this isn’t working, this isn’t what a relationship is supposed to be and while I love you – I just don’t think I can do this. I want to be part of a team – I need to know we’re in this together & right now I’ve reached a place where I have to admit we’re not.” I remember as clearly as though it were done moments ago; when I’d finished my speech, I sat the key down on his ottoman in front of him & in my mind, it was done – over.
I had thought that conversation WAS my exit strategy. Backing up a little bit, I’d quite prepared for this conversation. I had “Monday Morning Quarterbacked” our last several months, our problems, our joys and weighed it all out. I made lists of pros and cons for staying and leaving. I’d secretly been going to counseling to try to learn new strategies to work within the issues in my chosen relationship & had sought the wisdom/counsel of friends I believed had my best interests at heart. Friends who were outside of the issue & so would hopefully have more objectivity. We’d talked through everything (2) & they had helped me rehearse my talking points, more or less.
On paper, I looked prepared. But that’s the thing – it was just the talking points, the logistics of the conversation. Just like 70% of our hiring decisions are made from chemistry, connection, and emotional factors… so are our personal relationships. So, it stands to reason our exits from those relationships would have an emotional factor to them, too. And I wasn’t prepared for it; I hadn’t really thought through that side of it.
And because I hadn’t… I wasn’t really ‘over the relationship’ and was completely susceptible to: The Counter Offer. Which you can read all about… tomorrow . What?! You didn’t think I was ready for you to be over this subject quite yet, did you?? 😉
(1) I use the word “personal” to denote friendships & really more romantic relationships … because really? It’s ALL personal – what’s more personal than your livelihood & where you spend 1/2- to – 2/3 of your waking life (i.e. work)?
(2) ad nauseum