I have a theory about how a lot of us deal with relationships that we know aren’t working, or that won’t work, can’t work.
When we feel connected to someone, not even ‘in love’ (though love makes it worse), just… connected somehow, we hang on even when we know we shouldn’t.
Maybe it’s a long term relationship that is well past it’s expiration date. Maybe it’s the flare of a hopeless crush. Maybe it’s the joy of desire. Maybe it’s the reflection of someone else’s adoration. Maybe it’s the promise of ‘could be’. Maybe it’s the shadow of loneliness. Maybe it’s the comfort of the familiar. Maybe it’s fear.
Wherever it comes from, this desire to hang on, the result is the same: We are very reluctant to let it go even if we know we should.
And there is that moment where we know that we should end it, we know that’s the best, smart, sensible thing to do. One hundred percent. But still we don’t do it. Or we can’t.
At first it’s because there is still good in it: joy, intimacy, understanding, laughter, affection, sex, some or all of those things. Even if the foundation is shaky and it’s going to topple any minute. Those things are worth hanging on for, the good outweighs the bad, the sad, the painful. And that’s fair enough.
But then the balance starts to tip, and the good no longer outweighs the bad. It often happens in slow motion, might see-saw for a bit, but eventually it will tip. And still we hang on, full of hope and wishful thinking, even as the badness tips the scales over so far that we can barely keep a grip on them.
My theory is this:
We will not end it until we stab ourselves fully and irrevocably in the heart with a huge fuck-off knife.
Because in our daily lives, we will take the hits over and over to stay in the relationship. We will stab ourselves and the other person with various implements, lick our wounds, paper over the cracks, and carry on.
We do this to ourselves.
We stab ourselves with needles in the beginning, often they don’t even go into the heart at first. Fine and sharp. Small and constant and painful. Over and over again. They will get to the heart eventually, of course they will, the needles will get longer, thicker, more targetted. Pinpricks at first,turning into punctures, getting deeper each time. Then we will graduate to boning knives, thin and razor sharp, you hardly feel them go in, really.
Our brains are all ‘FFS, what is WRONG with you?!’ and our hearts go ‘But but…I’m okay, really I am!’
And we know it would be kinder and more loving to ourselves, to them, to just… move out of reach of that pain that is cycling up. But we don’t. We can’t. Because REASONS, and sometimes we can dodge and weave and avoid the pain for quite a while, pretend we don’t even feel it.
Until that one time where instead of a thin slash, we make a huge gaping wound.
The time when we’re holding a large broad serrated knife with a sharpened steel blade, and we take it and we shove it straight into our heart with all the force we can muster, slicing through skin, splintering bone, into the pumping muscle mass that continues to beat around the blade, gore and tissue matter leaking into our chest cavity, blood spurting out like some horror movie.
And it’s only THEN, with that terrifying self-inflicted wound, when we are on the floor bleeding out, that we can finally bring ourselves to splutter out the words ‘Okay I’m done here’ and mean it.