Sam Holstein

Why You Need to Stop Trying to Save Your Relationship and Let Him Go

Why You Need to Stop Trying to Save Your Relationship and Let Him Go

“How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.”

W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil

I know you wanted this relationship to be your last.

Breaking up sucks. Healing from heartbreak sucks. Dating sucks. Everything out there sucks. You think that as tough as this relationship is, making it work is way better than what lies out there in the suck.

You’ve slept with him. You didn’t want to sleep with anyone but the man you marry, and you only slept with him because you thought you were going to marry him. You moved in with him because you thought you would get married.

For a while, things were good. He was happy. You were happy. It really seemed like your plans would come to pass.

It’s been a few years, though, and things aren’t good anymore. You fight all the time. Worse, he doesn’t seem to care that you fight all the time. He doesn’t care that you’re upset at all; he just wants you to go away. You share a bedroom but you haven’t had sex in months. You might as well go off your birth control.

You’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months, years researching how to make relationships work. You’ve read every book on connection on the planet. You’ve watched all the YouTube videos about how to have a productive conversation — but he isn’t playing his part. When you use your “I feel” statements, and say “I feel distant from you,” he says nothing. Or he says something, but it might as well be nothing because the words are empty.

He stops spending time with you. He starts lying about where he’s been. Not because he’s cheating, but because he just doesn’t want to be around you.

I know you wanted this relationship to last, but your relationship is over.

Your relationship is over because he doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how many couples counseling sessions you go to, or how many errors of your own you admit. Relationships take work, but both people have to work, and he isn’t doing the work. He doesn’t want to do the work. He never will.

I know this is agonizing to accept because if he just did the work, you two could be so blissfully happy together. You have to have your still-beating heart ripped out of your chest because he won’t get himself together enough to read a book and try out “I feel” statements.

But think about that — your heart is going to be shredded, and he can’t pull himself together enough to read a book and try a new communication method. You’re willing to move heaven and earth for him, and he isn’t willing to watch a YouTube video, let alone go to couples counseling. If he cared about you as much as you care about him, he would have been researching, googling, and worrying as much as you have been the last few weeks/months/years.

That’s why the relationship is over. Not because of anything you did wrong. He just doesn’t love you the way you love him.

He never will.