If at all possible, I want you to log on to YouTube and find the song “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and listen to it while you read the below lyrics. Anyone and everyone who has ever been married and divorced or loved someone who they had to let go of will be moved by the words to this famous song. Gladys hit every single point in this farewell message.
It’s sad to think, we’re not gonna make it, and it’s gotten to the point, where we just can’t fake it, ohhh for some ungodly reason, we just won’t let it die, I guess neither one of us, wants to be the first to say good-bye.
I keep wondering (wondering) what I’m gonna do without you, and I guess you must be wondering the same thing too, so we go on, go on together, living a lie,
Because neither one of us, neither one of us, wants to be the first to say good-bye…
~Gladys Knight and the Pips
Letting go of someone you love is one of life’s most painful experiences no one will argue that, but staying with someone who no longer loves you or staying in an empty, disrespectful, unfulfilling relationship is worse. Yet, people all over the world do it for a variety of reasons.
When love is gone, it’s gone. Love is the glue, cement and the nails that keep a relationship together, without it there is no relationship, it’s reduced to two hologram images of people appearing as a couple.
Typically when love is gone and people remain in the relationship, both are emotionally numb, simply existing together every day until something gives, or until someone cheats. More often than not, the broken couple is waiting on that moment when they can exit without hurting the other too much or without losing too much, and far too many are “waiting til the kids grow up” or until ——————(fill in the blank), as they allow the minutes, hours, days and years of their lives to tick off the life span time clock.
It’s always one person wanting to end it and the other holding on for dear life. Rarely are two people in agreement when it’s time to let go. Rarely does it happen when the husband sits down and says “you know, I think we should divorce and seek our happiness, we haven’t been happy for years” and the wife Jane says “you know Tom, I believe you are right, I’ve been thinking the same thing for quite some time now, so let’s sort this thing out, and by the way have you given any thought to what you would like to keep as far as furnishings, jewelry and cars go? What’s a fair amount of child support? And how should we divide up these bills? Do you want Jason and Sabrina every weekend or every other weekend? I just want to be fair in everything. And considering our decision, we will just sleep in separate rooms and make the best of it until the divorce is final.” Closing out the discussion, Tom says “I’m so glad we see eye to eye on this! We both know it will be hard but the love and respect we have for each other will carry us through”. Jane says “absolutely so let’s schedule to meet with the lawyer on Wednesday, how does that work for your schedule Tom?” I’m now clicking my heels together 3 times and here we are back in the real world.
I interviewed a man, I will call him Bobby J, who shared with me the story about his best friend, a guy whose marriage story has to be told here. I will call the couple Mr. and Mrs. Stinson, they have been married for fourteen years. The Stinson’s have been unhappy for most of their marriage, they were happy the first few years, but after that it’s been downhill. Mrs. Stinson is (was) a Pharmacist, obviously educated and according to Bobby J “a nice looking woman”. Her husband is a blue collar worker who makes good money in his field. The Stinson’s drive nice cars, live in a comfortable suburban home in Georgia and from the outside looking in, they appear like a perfectly matched couple living the American dream. One day the wife founds out about an affair that Mr. Stinson has apparently been having for a few months (this would be his 3rd affair). On yet another day, Mrs. Stinson learns that her husband and his new girlfriend are at a local restaurant having some lunch. Just as the unsuspecting couple are coming out of the restaurant, the wife pulls up in her car and sees him kiss the woman good-bye as she is getting in her car. The wife then backs up her car, presses on the gas pedal as if entering the highway and begins ramming full speed into the woman’s car, repeatedly crashing into it apparently trying to crush her alive. Customers start coming out and people start screaming. The vehicle is being totally destroyed right before everyone’s eyes. No one can believe what’s happening! Seeing that this situation was out of control, the “other woman” jumps out of her car and runs back into the restaurant scared for her very life! The wife and husband are now in a full blown fight out in public, she’s crying and screaming hysterically and appears to have taken leave of her senses and the husband is in a state of shock doing his best to control her by gripping her in a bear hug. The terrified mistress calls the police from inside the restaurant and after it was all said and done, witness testimony given, coupled with the obvious damage done to the car, wifey is hauled off to jail.
The “other woman” pressed charges against her and this case is pending court. The wife may be sentenced to jail and she may very well lose her professional license. Three affairs (which should have been a red flag or at least an indication of something wrong in the relationship), years of apparent misery for both, no ability to communicate through the issues, no one “wanting to be the first to say good-bye”, now possible jail time and unnecessary legal fees for the wife who lost her mind trying to hold on when love was gone. Update: I was informed not too long ago that the divorce is now final between the Stinson’s. The former husband and his “other woman” are now a happy couple. The former, Mrs. Stinson now has an arrest record and is starting over alone.
What about the female dentist in Texas who discovered her husband was cheating and as she observed the husband and mistress coming out of a hotel, decided in the heat of passion and rage, to run him over with her Mercedes Benz(with her step-daughter in the car)? She killed him. The step-daughter testified against her. The wife is now serving 20 years in the big house for that crime. Her career, her life as she knew it and everything she worked her whole life for is over. Letting go before losing her mind over him would have served her better.
And how about that Jodi Arias who was convicted of killing her boyfriend who wanted out of the relationship, she couldn’t handle him moving on or imagine him with someone else. How is that for control? She is now in prison for life.
Yes there are countless stories about jealous and crazy men doing the same thing to their significant others, beating up or killing the other man or killing girlfriends, or wives and children because she wanted out of the marriage or relationship and he didn’t want to let go. And I’ll admit, I have my own holding on when love is gone stories and acting out when it was useless. The end result was, the relationship still ended.
And the question is why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it really worth it? What are we holding on to when it gets this bad, the house, the cars, the bank account? The image of the intact loving family? Do we not trust our ability to find someone else? Is it fear of being alone? What about our children? Do we not believe that they see our lack of joy, our unhappiness and hear our arguing? Do we not think our misery hurts them? Are we tolerating abuse, disrespect and or unhappiness just to be able to say “I have a man or I am married?” And do we really believe that even if we convince them to stay, that somehow the marriage or relationship will suddenly get better and all will be well?
Ok so maybe you haven’t plotted to stab, shoot or kill your ex-boyfriend or husband, but most women reading this have done something semi-crazy if not full blown insane when trying to get a lover back or hold onto a man who wants to leave. It’s critical to understand, when love, trust and passion are gone, and when a man no longer wants you in his life, all the calls, crazy acts, begging, letter writing and crying in the world, won’t save it or make him want you back. Trust me, I’ve tried it, it don’t work! It doesn’t matter how good sex was, and how many times he said he loved you or how much you loved him. All of that is in the past now. You can’t keep what doesn’t want to be kept. Letting go of him and the relationship is your only option.
How to let go?
Make a List-Like Shanae Hall noted in her Huffington Post article Coming to Grips with Not Being In Love with Your Spouse Anymore, letting go means making a list of all the hurt, pain, disappointments and reasons why you haven’t been happy with that person. For instance “he cheated on me, he disrespects me, he’s abusive, he isn’t a good parent, he doesn’t provide and lacks ambition” or “we don’t love each other anymore, we don’t communicate well, we aren’t good for each other, I am not attracted to him, I’ve outgrown our relationship, he isn’t a good role model for our kids, the sex is awful, there is no chemistry”. Post that on the walls in your home and office where you can see it. We need this list because without it our mind plays tricks on us and all we remember are the good times. Our memories don’t serve us well when we want someone back. It’s about honesty. This list will remind us why we have to keep moving forward.
Read, listen and watch! Read self-help, relationship and spirituality books, Barne’s and Noble and Amazon are your best friend during this time. Read, read, read! And listen to motivation and inspirational podcasts (like on Oprah’s website and check out her LifeClasses) this kind of uplift changes your life for the better! Talk to people who have been through it and have your best interest at heart and listen to how they made it through, this can motivate you.
Pray, meditate and journal. Prayer and meditation are key. Without prayer and quiet time, I don’t know where I would be. It’s that connection to Spirit that restores faith that you can make it through. It also reminds you that you are forgiven and can help you forgive him. Writing in your journal also is a big help. Writing it down when you can’t tell it to someone is an excellent way of getting it out of your thoughts and down on paper and enables you to say what needs to be said without fear of being judged. That too has been a Godsend for many.
Cry– Crying and feeling sad is normal after letting go of a loved one. Crying cleanses the soul. There is nothing in the world like a good cry. You feel better, it releases emotions and it’s healing. The Neo Soul singer Lyfe Jennings says in his song Cry, “Can’t be nothing all that wrong with crying, if anybody says they’re that strong they lyin’, see crying is like taking your soul to the Laundromat,” words of wisdom no doubt. Give yourself time to grieve, just don’t stay there. Fight to get through it and to the other side to happiness.
Get busy living! Go to the gym or to the park and walk or run often, work on being sexy and healthy for you. Exercise relieves stress and helps you feel better. Go out with friends, join social groups, go to church, go dancing (one of my favorites), go to concerts and travel. Meet up with positive women and men who have been through what you are going through and understand. And DELETE his numbers (so you won’t drunk call or text him or call him on those lonely rainy nights. Lawd knows I’ve done that too!) Whatever you do, get moving and get out of the house! Happiness awaits you!
Yes, letting go of someone we love is heart breaking but not more heart breaking than holding on when love is gone. We owe it to ourselves to let go. It’s an act of strength, courage and bravery to accept what is and to move on after all the options have been exhausted. When they say “this too shall pass” it’s real. Pain from broken relationships will go away and eventually the heart does go on. No, it’s not instantaneous, and no, it won’t be easy, but it will pass. But you gotta do the work. You must stay focused and keep stepping back to look at the big picture. Your life, health and happiness depend on it. That is what self-love looks like and this is what opens the door to a much happier life alone and eventually with someone else.
Sometimes losing is winning but we can’t see that til we let go and get to the other side.
Rhonda E. Frost
***This is an excerpt from the book Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man? How to Think Like a Lady and Still Get the Man (2014)
by Shanae Hall and Rhonda Frost-