I am sure that we have all been here before. “Here” as in a relationship in which everyone around you and the other person agree that the relationship is toxic, but neither of you want to let go because you have been together for so long, and have invested so much energy in each other that it would seem like surviving the last 6 years of ups and many, many downs, were simply put, a waste of time. You convince yourself that no one is going to know you like your partner knows you, because no one is going to go through all the things that you and your partner went through together. So you stay … and then you wonder if you should leave.

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The one thing that bothers me when I hear stories like this (and have since reflected on my own experiences) is the idea of being with someone because you’re scared you can’t do better, even though you want better.

I would never want to be with someone that thought of our relationship like that. To keep someone from being happy with someone who is truly in love with them is literally the same as keeping yourself from true happiness. And maybe that’s idealistic of me to say, but I whole heartedly believe that everyone has a soulmate that they deserve, and who deserves them. So here is my advice:

  1. Don’t be scared to let go. Leaving behind a long term relationship is always hard. There are probably twice as many good memories as there are bad. And you’ll probably want to run back to it every time you meet another jerk. But you need to let go in order to move forward.
  2. Actually, let go. Letting go doesn’t have to mean erasing all of the wonderful memories you’ve made with that person. It doesn’t even have to mean removing your ex from your life. It does mean that in the back of your mind, going back to the relationship is no longer an option for you. There are no in-betweens.
  3. Use your experience with your past relationship as groundwork for future relationships. You already know what works and doesn’t work for you in a relationship. Use that to your advantage. Don’t let go of your ex, just to end up with the same person in a different body. Learn. Grow. Be happy.
  4. Be open. On the same note, don’t close yourself off to only dating people with the  same looks and personality as your ex. Be open. Love is always found in the strangest of corners.
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