Happiness in Love

When Walking Away Will Make You Happier Than Staying

By Laura Schreffler

I don’t feel particularly bad about the fact that I’m about to quote a Kelly Clarkson song to start a piece. I like Kelly Clarkson; I have no shame about using her lyrics as inspiration. In the aptly-titled “Walk Away”, she sings, “Should you stay or should you go? Well, if you don’t have the answer why are you still standing here? Just walk away.” And this particular concept is something I’ve thought a lot about recently, although I do believe the American Idol winner should have been asking herself this question instead of letting the indecisive guy call all the shots. Just sayin’.

So why be a Buzzkill Betty? A very close friend of mine just broke up with her boyfriend of nearly a year and, while explaining her feelings, said she knew that after one month it wasn’t right, that they weren’t a match. But she still held on anyway, hoping that one day it would work.

Why do we do these things to ourselves? Are we so afraid of being alone that we suffer the indignity of dating someone who doesn’t treat us as we deserve to be treated? Why do we constantly make excuses for him, hoping that one day he will change?

I have a male friend who also knew he and his lady weren’t a fit, but held on anyway. He drew it out, made excuses, and, eventually, when she was already in love with him, ended it. It took him nearly a year, as well, to get up the nerve to do so. A year when he knew for a fact it wasn’t going to last after two months.

It’s interesting to note here that in both situations, it was the man who did the eventual dumping and was strong enough to admit the relationship wasn’t working. Meaning, we women won’t let a relationship go even if we know it isn’t right. How long will we let things go on before we come to our senses? Do we ever come to our senses?

I feel slightly uncomfortable bringing up a celebrity famous for doing nothing other than promoting herself, but the fact of the matter is that Kim Kardashian got engaged after just six months of dating — and she had the clarity to realize that fiance Kris Humphries was right for her around month two. And wow, I just gave props to Kim Kardashian. The apocalypse is near. ”I knew in month two. We talked about it [marriage] so much, I was kind of like, ‘Is this happening here?’” she told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show recently.

Newly engaged Kim Kardashian

Here’s the thing: we do know when a relationship is or isn’t right. We just often ignore the signs or refuse to listen to our gut instincts. Just because you and your guy are perfect for one another on paper doesn’t mean that you actually work as a real life couple. You shouldn’t cling to him because your parents love him, or he gets along with your friends, or you love the same sports team. None of that matters in the long run. Love should be about how you feel about one another, whether trust and respect exist alongside that sexual chemical spark.

Can’t we just call a spade a spade? All the time we’re investing on the wrong one prevents us from finding the right one. And missing out on the love of your life because you’re desperate to have someone to cuddle up to at night or someone you’d like to call a ‘boyfriend’ is just tragic.

Bottom line: if something feels rotten in a relationship, it probably is. It isn’t our job to try and enforce change. If you already know something’s wrong, I beseech you to pull a Kelly and ‘walk away.’

Why wait another minute for something we should have done yesterday? Sometimes suffering pain in the present is the only way to assure your future happiness.

That said, I’ll leave you with some further words of wisdom from Ms. C. — and I suggest you take her advice.  “So what’s the point in being slow?” she sings. “Let’s get the show on the road today.”

Well said, Kelly, well said.


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About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.

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