I’m a little late to reading this as it’s been on the New York Times Best Seller list for awhile, but better late than never, they say. Here’s another book on my bookshelf:
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be by Rachel Hollis
Many of the clients that I meet with reflect feelings of frustration and sometimes bewilderment that they stayed in a relationship with a significant other longer than they, “should have.” Using the air quotes here, because I truly believe that you are the expert of when you are ready to let go of a relationship. When discussing our readiness to let go, it’s helpful to consider: How important is this relationship to me? How confident am I in my capacity to let go?
How Important is this relationship?
This may seem like a silly question because if you’ve reached a point in the relationship that they are considered a “significant other,” they are likely someone that is important to you. But my question is, why is this relationship important to you? Are you hanging on to this relationship because you have never been single and aren’t sure who you are apart from this relationship? Perhaps you decided that this was the relationship that you were going to “do things differently,” than previous relationships or, “different from your family members.” Maybe you are looking around and you see all of your friends and family in committed relationships and you don’t want to stick out. Or, the clock is ticking and your longing for marriage continues to grow. This relationship may be important because you share children together and you long for your children to live in a two parent household. All are valid reasons for why this relationship is important to you and has likely influenced just how long you have stayed, even when unhappy.
How confident Am I?
Letting go hurts. There is such deep despair and woundedness in letting go. Another book that reflects on the discomfort of letting go is Attached. It acknowledges that we are made to be in relationship with others, and when that connection (or attachment) is severed, (even if it wasn’t healthy and secure) we suffer from despair, discomfort, and anxiety. So often when exploring our readiness to let go, we have to decide, “do I have the capacity to go through this loss?” Not just of the emotional sadness, but also the loss of rhythm of life that you once lived with this person. Do I have the financial capacity to be on my own? No one likes to feel this void. It’s why so many of us continue to communicate after a break up saying that we are “still trying to be friends.” Or, maybe we hop from one relationship to the next.
Why Let Go?
While this next part may feel like a paragraph of cliché these statements are still true. Because you deserve to be with someone that helps you feel healthy and securely attached in your relationship. Because once we acknowledge the reasons why we have stayed as long as we do, we come to realize that it’s simply not enough to stay. It takes boldness, courage and assertiveness to express what you need, and to walk away when that person cannot provide it for you.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. Girl, Wash Your Face, was written with women in mind and tracks the negative beliefs that so many of us hold onto. Rachel is witty, down to earth, and vulnerable as she weaves a personal narrative of trauma and loss that she has experienced throughout her life. The chapter that has me recommending this book is about her dating experience with her husband.
If you find that you find yourself at a point in your relationship where you are on the fence with staying or leaving, I’d love to talk with you and help you decide the next best step. Counseling is a place to clarify your needs and to make steps towards others that are fulfilling those needs. Call today!
Written by therapist Pamela Larkin