Why It’s OK To Walk Away From A Relationship When Your Core Values Aren’t Aligned

Photo: getty
man and woman standing by a brick wall

It's never easy to make the hard decision to walk away from a relationship. Sad as it is, love just isn’t enough sometimes, especially in today’s toxic relationship climate.

I recently had a horrific experience, and in a split second my blossoming relationship was over because our core values were not aligned.

The sad part is that I should have seen it coming before. But love creates blind spots in all of us.

I was so consumed with being empathetic to his life and what was going on in his world that I completely dropped my boundaries and put my own core values to the side.

That's a big relationship no-no!

RELATED: 5 Steps To Discovering Your Core Values

It's OK to walk away from a relationship because of core values.

It was a major danger to my personal well-being and I'm eternally grateful I was clear enough on my core values to immediately shift back in order to heal, rebuild my confidence, and move my life forward again.

Now, I’m not saying your core values need to be identical, but they do need to complement your partner's.

Look at it this way: You're shooting for oil and vinegar, not oil and water. Make sense?

What’s the big deal about core values, anyway?

I get it — you’re hearing a ton about values these days. The reality is that no one teaches you about them, even though they are foundational to who you are.

Your core values are a part of your identity. They guide you in challenging times and help you make difficult decisions when there are no other resources to consult with.

Brene Brown's definition of values goes like this:

"A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important. Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk — we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs."

Powerful, foundational stuff!

Even just reading that definition is enough to give anyone clarity on why it's so important that your core values are aligned in a relationship. They matter.

Figuring out your core values.

There are many great tools to help you determine your values. Free exercises can be found online, or you may choose to work with a professional coach to guide you through the process.

Getting clarity on your core values opens up the world in a completely different way than you currently see it. It impacts how you live your life.

Decisions are easier to make with more confidence. Recognition of behaviors that don’t align with your values is easier to spot. Communication with others improves. And healthy — and unhealthy — relationships are easier to identify early on.

When you do this early on, you can move on, quickly and painlessly. When you're clear on your core values, you will not get into the muck of a relationship with someone whose values don't align with yours.

RELATED: Couples Who Share These 8 Core Values Have The Happiest, Healthiest Relationships

The importance of recognizing mismatched values.

When you recognize their values are not aligned with yours, you'll be able to move out of the potential relationship before the messy stuff begins. It's a beautiful thing to experience.

Mind you, there's absolutely nothing wrong with people having different core values than you. It's those differences that make the world go around.

But remember oil and vinegar versus oil and water?

Oil and water core values do not mix. Ever. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It will never be quite right, there will always be gaps, and it will never be comfortable.

Shoot for the oil and vinegar.

Core value alignment in action.

Here’s a beautiful example of someone living truly in their core values and making a really hard decision by being guided by those values.

Back in November of 2020, Muslim model Halima Aden quit doing runway fashion shows after feeling pressured to "compromise" her religious beliefs.

You see, her religion is a core value for her. She made the incredibly difficult decision to stop doing an activity that did not align with her core value: Not wearing her hijab.

Going back to Brene Brown’s definition of values and living into one’s value coupled with the Halima Aden story really drives home why it's perfectly OK to walk away from a relationship when your core values don't align.

If you're not yet clear on your core values, do so, stat! Your future self — and partner — will thank you for it.

RELATED: How To Let Your Personal Values Lead When Looking For Love

Rachelle Stone is a burnout-prevention coach who specializes in supporting clients in avoiding burnout by managing their stress and energy for expanded capacity, better relationships, and increased monetary success. For more information, visit her website.