Here is part 8 of my blog series which answers the question ‘Why do we stay for so long?’ This question has been posed many times by readers of my book ‘Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something’ (www.stairwellbooks.co.uk)
Being Seen as ‘a Failure’
No one wants to fail. At anything. An exam, a job, a driving test, an interview, a debate and definitely not their relationship. In a more competitive world than ever, we want everything we embark on to work out. We strive to accomplish what every one else seems to be doing successfully. In this age of social media, we have stories of successful careers and marriages thrust in front of us constantly.
To acknowledge the end of a relationship takes a huge amount of strength and bravery. Not many people make a powerful commitment to another lightly, whether that is engagement, sharing a home, having children together or marrying. Certainly, we do not enter relationships of such magnitude expecting them not to work out. We have invested our happiness within them, in the hope and belief that they will last a lifetime.
Having to admit perceived ‘failure’ of a relationship means abandoning these once-held hopes and dreams and perhaps admitting that we have made a mistake in some way or that our judgement was not what it could have been at the time. We worry what others will think of us and how they will react.
However, perhaps the biggest ‘failure’ we can bring upon ourselves is to stay in a relationship that isn’t working. Whilst we can bring all sorts of reasons/excuses for this, money, fear, children, home, etc (all dealt with elsewhere in this blog series), we are failing ourselves by not honouring our right to live a fulfilling and happy life. This is made worse within the toxic or domestic abuse situation and the longer we stay and the more often we move the goalposts, the more difficult it becomes.
More than it being a case of the relationship ‘failing,’ it can be perceived as a indicator of strength to be able to take action with an unhappy relationship. After the initial ‘ripple-effects’ (more likely to be acknowledged by close family) a person who has been strong enough to change the direction of their life will be admired and respected rather than judged and vilified.
And for anyone who hasn’t succeeded the first time, or even the second or third, there is always another chance. To cope after divorce or separation takes courage but far from failing, we are now in the right place to ensure that becoming single again can ensure life is a huge success.