“If you don’t like where you are, move! You’re not a tree.”

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Too literal, but you get the point. (Taken in Angkor Wat, 2013)

This is really personal, but let me explain.

A good friend posted on Facebook that status update a few weeks ago, and I suddenly remembered it today. 

I’m not one to position myself as a relationship expert, but when a married couple who’s been together for years approached me for advice (yet again), I couldn’t help but quote to them that  status update.

For years, this married couple (whom I know dearly) has been struggling with the same problem. The wife would always accuse the husband of cheating, while the husband would always complain that the wife was domineering. Both were equally frustrated with their relationship, but refused to separate. 

When asked why, they couldn’t give a decent answer. 

Was it love? 

Their recurring problems confused me, to be honest. It seemed that the solution was evident. Staying together had become too toxic for them, and with every issue they encounter, they would frequently try to involve people close to them. It was apparent to me that they were only looking for people to choose sides, so they can pummel the other partner with the sheer number of people who would affirm that one side is more logical than the other. 

It just makes me think: is it worth staying just because you have been together for years? Or is it the sunk cost fallacy in action? 

I’m frankly stumped. And saddened. 

I’ve come to the realization that you can’t and that you shouldn’t force people to stay if they no longer want to stay. Relationships should not be about blackmailing each other and hounding the other person to remain in a relationship. 

If you don’t trust the other person to be on your side, and you don’t feel safe and secure in your relationship with another person, then it’s a partnership that’s doomed to failure. 

P.S. Okay, fine, so a tree couldn’t uproot itself–but it has various mechanisms to guarantee self-preservation

P.P.S. A good read: The Secret to a Lasting Relationship

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