There will always be a pain in 'goodbyes'. No matter how much we seem to understand everything, it breaks our hearts to ever see anything beautiful die.
It seems we weren't really made for sad endings, or any kind of parting. And yet it is only by allowing some things to end could we ever hope to start again so we can see even more beautiful things coming our way.
How do we know then when to say our goodbyes? Should a relationship end even if you still love each other?
I used to think love is all we need in order to keep a relationship. It sounded so simple, so tested, and so romantic. Logically, it must still hold true. But few of us dare try to answer these questions: What kind of love do we really need? What kind of love can make a relationship work? Is it a love that lets the other person be true to himself? Is it a love that allows both people to grow? Is it a love that is received with gladness, a love that heals, a love that reminds us how beloved we are in the eyes of God?
For a relationship to still work, love must still be allowed to work in it. If it is blocked, or if unblocking it seems unlikely, then it may be better to let it go and give ourselves the chance to start again.
What are the signs that love is no longer working in a relationship?
1. You are being wounded more than you are being healed
It's natural to be hurt, but if you are being hurt badly without being healed, you should seriously think about letting go of the relationship that causes you more harm than good.
An emotional wound takes time to heal, sometimes, it requires many seasons of healing. What happens then if instead of achieving this, your hurts pile up and your wounds get even deeper? There will come a time that you can no longer give anything for the relationship, and it will crumble, along with the many broken pieces of your heart.
Good intentions aren't always enough. Your partner may claim that he has the best of intentions, the best plans for you, but if he can't actualize this and only hurts you through the years, he should allow you to find the right person who can assist you better in your healing.
Only love heals. Without this kind of love, the very people who should have helped each other heal would be the very same people who'd end up hurting each other most.
2. You are no longer being allowed to grow, to be the best of who you are
Our relationships are not there to cover up for our lack of identity. Rather, it should reinforce our uniqueness and help us to discover the best in ourselves.
When the relationship is already turning you into a puppet, and when it constrains you instead of giving you the freedom to be cherished as you are, then it is no longer working for your growth.
We should have partners that will not stunt our growth, but will support us in our journey to improve ourselves and to be the best of who we are.
3. You have lost your laughter and/or your dreams
Has your relationship become so serious it already drains all joy and hope from within you? A relationship with no laughter is like a home that has lost its warmth. Without this warmth, love slowly dies. For what is there to look forward to? And what is there to savor in the present moment?
Protect your joy, for therein is the strength that will carry you through the difficulties of each day. Protect your dreams, for many times, it is the only light we can see in the darkness of our griefs.
4. You are not being helped to love yourself more
Is your relationship the kind that helps you love yourself more? Without this, love is being blocked or is not being given at all.
And when our self esteem drastically fades later on, our ability to give love will also be affected because we'd start to be demanding, to get hurt more easily, and to lose our trust that our partner really loves us.
5. What you're offering can no longer be received, you are not receiving what you need
A relationship is an exchange of love. It is the kind of exchange where she is willing and grateful to receive what is being offered to her, and where he is able and more than willing to give what she needs in order to be happy.
There are times when a person may feel that she is actually giving more in a relationship. She feels she's always the one who is truly loving the person while the other is not giving enough in return. It really feels unfair, but we should realize that this love she is giving, this great outpouring of her love is not being received at all!
On the other hand, the other party may need a certain form of love, one that he is not getting from her, no matter how much she's already giving him.
The reason why we're so fond of babies is that they're so OPEN to receiving love. They don't filter out the love we're giving them. They don't expect a lot from us. They don't care how you look like or how old you are, or how good you speak. They don't demand much, but they receive much. They don't hinder the flow of LOVE!
And when love is received like that, when it is truly received, it can't help but be given back. Let us not think that it is only the mother that gives. The love she gives is received in full by her child, and this child in turn sends out this love back to her mother. A simple smile from her baby is enough to brighten up her day, just one simple smile, and yet it's full of love being returned.
Maybe that's why Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like little children. Because we need to be as open as they are in receiving everything God wants us to receive.
Is your relationship an authentic exchange of love? Or must you let the other person go so he can receive the kind of love he is looking for?