“Before you dive into my waters, you should know I love deep.” ~ Betty Larrea
I am often asked by people—who were in the beginning phases of a relationship or already deeply committed to another person—why the other person walked away and gave up on the relationship.
There are no easy answers, nor are they ever the same. We all choose to walk away from things for a variety of reasons, which are personal to us. But I am a big believer in soul connections and that nothing is a coincidence in life, so I believe that each of those relationships was meant to be something for both parties involved.
One of my spiritual mentors calls the walking away from a relationship a “forfeiture.” It’s when the universe, God, or whatever you believe in brings two people together with the intention and hope that they will take the opportunity to create something together—and then one person withdraws prematurely.
It was not an accident or blind chance that we’ve met. That person was brought to us because we were asking for what they had to offer in some way, whether it was through prayers, through the energy we were sending out or even through our thoughts, which we may have never verbalized to anyone.
But sometimes we don’t recognize what it is or what it’s meant to be right away and we give up on it too soon. Maybe it looked different than we thought it should. Maybe it was taking too long to get off the ground, and we lost interest and patience. Maybe we were going to have to put a little work into it to create what we wanted, and in today’s world most of us don’t want to have to work at anything…especially a relationship. We want and expect it to be easy.
So in turn, without even realizing it, we “forfeit” the opportunity given to us to create something we actually wanted. And that’s our choice. We can move on and tell ourselves, “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
But for the person who didn’t forfeit and throw in the towel prematurely, the challenge is to not personalize it and make it about us. Although it’s incredibly difficult to not feel rejected, it’s important that we understand it truly isn’t about us but about the other person’s readiness and willingness to meet us where we are.
Here’s what we need to understand about relationships and love:
We are given opportunities to connect in deeply intimate ways with people as we move through life. Most of these people are brought into our spheres because they have something beautiful and valuable to offer us. But we don’t have to accept them at that moment in time if we’re not ready.
People will walk away from love and relationships for so many reasons. Sometimes it’s out of fear—of being vulnerable and getting hurt. Fear of losing their independence or thinking they have to give up their current lifestyle. Fear of their feelings not being reciprocated. Fear that they somehow won’t be able to measure up and give the other person what they want. Fear that the relationship might turn out like their last.
Sometimes they walk away because love isn’t a priority in their lives and they have other things they feel they need to do first. Most of us who have been in love before know that love forces us to compromise on things we want and that can be enough to make us walk away when there are things we still want to do and explore.
Intimate relationships bring out our shadow sides. Another person’s love often shines a light on those places within ourselves that we’ve kept hidden and don’t want to face. Another person’s desire to connect with us so intimately can start to feel painfully uncomfortable, and we just aren’t ready to delve into that shadow stuff and work on it.
And sometimes they walk away because they weren’t able to recognize the opportunity the universe was giving them. It’s okay, because the universe finds other ways through other people to give us a second chance at having what we want.
I’ve learned a lot about what I want through every relationship, no matter how brief or seemingly “casual” they were. Even the ones I myself forfeited.
I’ve learned that it’s better to have nobody than somebody who is half there or not there at all.
I’ve learned that I am not willing to be in a relationship that forces me to prove my worth.
I’ve learned that being vulnerable and open still has a payoff, even when the other person doesn’t give it back to me. Because I still honored myself by being myself and at the end of the day that is the person I want someone to love.
So, as you move through the pain of a broken heart or grieve the loss of something that had just started, grieve it without personalizing it. And continue to put yourself out there, knowing that the next time maybe nobody will forfeit before the gift is revealed.
Author: Dina Strada
Editors: Catherine Monkman; Toby Israel