Drama. Deceit. Devastation. It's not just reality TV. It's the reality that most of us experience when we end a relationship, because we don't and won't leave our mates until we reach the point of hating, hurting and hardly speaking. Like a pit bull gripping its most beloved doggie toy, we believe that if we feel any love at all for our mate, we must stay, fight and make the relationship work. And only when we think that love is gone do we concede and dive headfirst into the despair of the bad breakup.
Women and men have been doing it for centuries. Walking on coals, swallowing swords, whatever it takes, because love is supposed to conquer all. No matter if you are happy or if this person is actually the best partner for your life. If you love each other, you must stay and make it work, or keep trying until things get so bad that you can justify the ending. Right? Wrong!
More from YourTango: Are You Blocking Love?
This crazy line of thinking has kept us stuck in relationships and suffering through bad breakups for way too long, telling ourselves, "If I love this person, and they love me, that's enough, no matter how exhausted, unhappy or lonely I feel." Even if we know our mate will never be a true partner, we hang around because we love them. But love should never require sacrificing one's self or forfeiting ones joy or life dreams. And frankly, it's not enough, because the truth is: You can love a person and choose not to be with him. Love is not enough of a reason to stay in a relationship.
Like most women, I figured this out the hard way, when my fiancé announced on the car ride to our engagement party, "I don’t love you anymore. I don't want to marry you anymore. And oh, by the way, I've been cheating on you for six months."
Drama. Devastation. And ouch! After the sting of having my heart broken, and with enough distance to clearly see what had actually happened, I realized that my bad breakup would have been totally avoidable if I someone had clued me in to the truth that even though you love a person, it doesn't mean you should marry him.
More from YourTango: Daring Act of Love: Get Grateful for Yourself
Alas, the women in my life had failed to teach me this, along with other key facts of love and relationships. The truth is, if I had known the truth instead of buying into the fairy tales, I would have been the one to end my relationship and leave my former fiancé way before the situation ever got to the point of drama and devastation. We could have had a good breakup, and I could have avoided a lot of the hate, confusion and suffering that sent my life reeling for months and months afterwards.
You can't afford not to trade the love lies in for the real relationship truths. Because when you find yourself in a relationship that has run its course, it's far better to be able to make an empowered and healthy choice than to end up a victim to the drama, deceit and devastation of a bad breakup.