Learning to Say Goodbye

say goodbye

Relationships, I’ve had a few. Never particularly long term or overly committed but I’ve had them in one form or another.

I’d say if I could have hopped into a time machine just before I’d leapt into a new relationship, and saw the end before it even started, I’d probably not have dived blindly in the first place! But then I suppose we’d not do anything if we could see into the future, where would the fun be in that?

Except I did have a time machine, each and every time, and it was right inside me the whole time!

It’s called my gut instinct.

Honestly each time I have started to see a new guy, after the 2nd or third date there was something not quite right. Or something amiss that I could not quite put my finger on, but I definitely knew it was there.

The thing is I have never given my gut instinct permission to speak up. I have always merrily carried on, not giving a damn that it was clearly screaming at me. That again, this new relationship was not healthy! I’d even be as bold to state that the more someone rejected me, the more I would cling hoping to change their mind or prove to them how loveable I really was.

So when things went southwards, I predictably found it to be all their fault , that they were the one’s doing me wrong and the ones who kept letting me down. I never even considered that perhaps I was the one who chose them and continued to choose them when it was as plain as the nose on my face that I was simply letting myself down.

It’s only now that I realise that each person who came into my life, good or bad, has been a lesson that I have allowed into my life experience. How I have dealt with them and what I have learnt is another matter altogether and to be completely frank, the pieces are only now starting to come together.

Compare it to a restaurant. If you go to the same restaurant and order a nice meal and find that it tastes bloody awful, would you order it next time? Or would you send it back and ask for your money back?

I, it seemed always kept going back for more, almost blinded by how good it sounded or smelled that the taste no longer mattered as long as it filled me up.

That is where I was going wrong. I’d rather deal with the hurt than deal with the pain of saying goodbye and being the first one to do it, to admit it to myself that I’d ordered the same meal again at whatever cost!

Until now that is.

I am learning to trust myself. I go within for a few moments and ask myself, ‘is this a new lesson?’ and I listen. I listen to my inner voice and take note. I note what someone does instead of what they say, because this is truly the biggest clue to what lies ahead. I no longer wish for what they can be, I now look at want they can’t be – to me anyway. And then I say goodbye.

Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s not as easy as it sounds and I do struggle at times with my fear. Fear of being alone and a spinster at nearly 40. But that’s just it, it’s just fear talking. I know deep down I’d rather be alone without someone than alone with someone.

So who or what do you need to say goodbye to today?

Photo by martinak15

29 thoughts on “Learning to Say Goodbye”

    1. That’s it Kathleen, core values you need them and stick by them! Glad you resonated with it. Let me know what you blog post is called so I can take a look.

  1. I can totally relate to this post. Thanks so much for writing it, and spilling your own beans to us. I also used to blame the other person without realizing my own reflection in the moment. When I look back (and I am talking about romantic and academic and professional relationships)- when I look back at relationships that could have gone “better” than sour…. I used to blame the other person for everything or 90 percent. But more recently I’ve been able to see it from more objective viewpoints (experiencing more sides of the story.) and I have been able to understand the choices people made retrospectively, and even see the points when it was CLEARLY my fault. (For sticking around or for behaving badly…)

    I have this urge these days to write sorry notes (and thank yous) for everyone I thought I knew and now understand better, and apologize for my own wrongdoings….

    1. Jesicka, write those notes. Don’t send them (well do if you think they will be received well) but write them anyway and then put them away. It will totally help you. I think that’s why I write too, to help heal those wounds. When you admit to yourself first that’s the first part and accepting it. Thanks for being so honest too. Keep that up! :)

  2. Hi Paula, you are like talking to me directly into my heart. I can truly resonate with it… “That is where I was going wrong. I’d rather deal with the hurt than deal with the pain of saying goodbye and being the first one to do it ” — oh, how trueeeee. My inner voice has been telling me repeately something not right some where but I kept ignoring it but having the false hope. Thank you Paula for REMINDING me to trust myself. xx

    1. Hey Jazz, so glad it has reached your heart. It’s trusting that little voice inside, you know its there but you (like me) keep ignoring it as your mind keeps telling you something else.

      I remember sitting in my bedroom in tears and thinking ‘why am I crying?’ but i knew really, the tears told me the pain and that the worse it got the more pain I would receive and more tears.

      Never be hard on yourself though. But remember don’t think it’s love if you are waiting for someone to change or be the person you think they can become. They can’t not now not with you in their life.

      Trust you and love you Jazz. Good luck :)


  3. Relationships & marriage is a gamble as you don’t know really who you marry. I believe one does not truly know all there is to know about a person that is close to you. Even if you think you do, you don’t really know what goes on in their mind or what they don’t want you to know.
    Trust your instinct absolutely, but don’t close yourself off to possibility. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and take that leap of faith and hope for the best. It’s called living. Times are changing. Marriage and the family is no longer a MUST DO, one has the choice. Rather be single than trapped in a horrible marriage I say.

    1. Hey Heidi, oh totally. I have been guilty of closing off too. But yes totally with you on being single rather than be married (unhappily) anyway.

      Love your take on this and admire your spirit. Keep it up and if you have friends who need your advice or support, do that because not everyone has that vision.

      Thank you for posting :)

  4. I had a call from a friend yesterday crying about her boyfriend of 20 years who again left her devastated as he walked out the door, claiming he loved her but…she challenged him. She asked me what she should do, and I repeated what I have told her before – say good-bye. Her response was yes but then who would love me and give me cuddles and affection.
    What we allow others to do because we don’t say goodbye is sad.
    And yes I have said goodbye to abusive bosses, my controlling mother and a few controlling friends.

  5. Roberta, I feel your pain here. I have been like your friend and it took me years to work it out. The thing is, you can’t ever tell someone they have to figure it out for themselves. Send her this blog post you never know it might spark something in her? If I can help the let me know.

    You have good intentions but for your friend, it is not until she learns to love herself first then it will continue I am afraid.

    It is not his fault either, she is giving him permission each and every time for him to treat her in this way. This is how he knows how to ‘love’ and vise versa. No one is at fault, it’s not until we understand that we all deal with things in our own ways. How we are taught.

    She will get there in the end, but it will probably get more painful first. She is very lucky to have a friend like you.

  6. Hi Paula,

    I loved your analogy to the restaurant! That is such a perfect comparison…we can all relate to that and know we would never go back to a bad restaurant. Why then do we keep doing destructive things over and over again when we can predict the outcome?!?!?

    My two struggles in life revolved money and men. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to get both of those issues worked out but both are “relationships” that must be cared for and nurtured. When we ignore one or both, disaster strikes.

    Cheers to a life well lived and listening to your gut!

    1. Hey Ree, thanks!

      Believe me I am still learning and growing but it’s getting better and better which is why I wanted to share.

      Yeah the food thing – it’s crazy isn’t it!?!

      Thanks for your amazing comment and letting us share in your own struggles, very much appreciated.

      Cheers back to you! Chink chink! (two glasses of wine, water, beer whatever you fancy!)

      P x

  7. It is always nice to read something and go ‘I totally get that’. Im learning this and really starting to put it in practice and like you said it takes time and sometimes mistakes and its good to know im not alone! ;). Sometimes its hard to make something like this into logical sense, especially when everyone around you ‘seems’ to be getting this to work, but you just put what im going through into total sense for me! Thank you :)

    1. Hey Nyssa

      Oh yes I know that one well. ‘Why can’t i find someone great when everyone else seems to be getting it right?’ I used to feel like that all the time however it ended up making me bitter. Sadly.

      Glad this post helped you. It’s not easy listening to your inner voice, but you know its there right? Making the choice is hard, but what is more hard is staying put and being miserable.

      I am always happier when I am single but I do have total and utter faith that I will meet the man for me, once I am completely happy and in love with me. It all takes time. So be kind to yourself.

      Thank you

  8. I lived with this as well. And I was a gut ignored until my life was tossed upside down and inside out after my husbands affair. It took me newly two years to listen to my gut and not keep spiralling into the toxicity of complex PTSD. Once I looked inwards, I found I was repeating past childhood behaviours in order to stay “safe”, and like others here, was desperately afraid of abandonment and facing my own part in how the post affair conduct was playing out.

    When I looked inwards, I found I was a bolter and a shutter down of feelings. I was a person who was deeply afraid of speaking up (not that anyone would have been able to pick it), so finding my voice and trusting my gut was essential to my well being.

    Thank you for this timely message. I will be sharing this with my friends and followers, thank you.


    1. Hey Lisa

      Glad this came at the right time. Wow your message is amazing and sometimes it takes something powerful to happen for you to make that break. Whether you believe in God the Universe or whatever, it’s that same thing sending you these messages and your husbands affair was the last straw. You had to get this or nothing else would work!

      Good on you though, you can carry on and you have learnt so much. Wow you have grown. Keep up the hard work and I will definitely be taking a look at your work. Thank you for sharing :)


  9. Paula, I used to hear people say it was better for you to be the right person than to look for the “right person” and I wished I had listened. I had plenty of issues in my own heart that should have been worked out (although that’s a very hard thing to do when you are young!) and then I would have listened to my gut a lot more.
    It is better to be alone “alone” than married and alone.

    1. Sherry

      Firstly let me say, you did listen :) that is why you are posting on this blog today!

      Some of us take a little bit longer to realise that’s all so don’t beat yourself up over anything. The important thing now is to listen to yourself daily, hear what you are saying in the very core of you. You know that voice and you know it well.

      It’s funny it’s like each of my relationships were telling me to be alone and find out your true purpose. I finally am listening! I am doing this!

      Be brave Sherry and keep moving on. You are doing wonderfully and don’t ever doubt it.

  10. Hi Paula,

    I can relate to what you’ve written, except that everything was right (according to me, obviously). But, saying goodbye is the most difficult part. Let’s be clear, I’m not blaming her or me… actually the blame may be more on me for the fact that I talked about what I felt and opened my heart to her. What I got in return was a very strong slap in the face (figuratively).

    But I can’t help thinking (gut feeling… how strange!) that we are meant to be together (how stupid of me).

    So, saying goodbye would be letting go, admit I am wrong, accept I failed (again!).

    1. Hi Vincent

      Firstly thank you for having the courage to open your heart, that is something I have struggled with in the past, so all power to you.

      Secondly,there is no blame with you either. We all do what we believe to be right, we try and sometimes things just don’t work out. I am of the belief that we are given what we need and not what we want in life.

      The girl you so very clearly love may not be willing or able to receive love right now, she may not be as open to you. You are however open to it.

      Sometimes we meet people at the wrong time in life even though we think they are the right person. Letting go is not admitting fault or failure, it is clearly loving them more. By letting her go you are releasing her and wishing her peace but you are also surrendering too.

      The more we cling and wish someone would love us the more we tend to push them away. You know what you must do now, deep down you do.

      P.s stay open

      Take Care


    1. Hey Allen,

      Thanks for joining! Great news! Yes it will take you back to the page once you have confirmed your subscription – which you have as I’ve sent you an email. Did you receive the FREE Guide? If you didn’t let me know by emailing me directly at paulalawes@paulaswork.com

      See you over there :)

  11. Hi Amrit

    Firstly, I am not a doctor and I am not aware of the reasoning behind why you are on medication. Perhaps it would be best to consult with your doctor first?

  12. How can anyone or anything justify rebound relationships and especially marrying on rebound?
    and why the hell young people think moving on means saying yes to the next guy or girl who asks/interested in you?

    is it like giving a chance? then relationships are like internships/training and marriage is like a job!

    but jobs are temporary, necessity use and throw not relationships and esp not marriage!

    called me old fashioned – I do take relationships very seriously and sincerely believe that if something is broken it should be fixed and not replaced!

    hell with rebounds

  13. Hi Adam

    Thanks for your words although I don’t mention rebounding as being alright?

    I agree, if a relationship is right and not abusive or detrimental to health then yes it should be worked on together. If both parties are willing to do that, but sadly that is not always the case.

    Many thanks

  14. Hi Paula. I enjoyed your blog and your candor. You were very honest with yourself, without blaming yourself. People usually not only show you who they are by their actions (which you noted) — they also tell you, literally — who they are, but we don’t always listen. There is a silent “fear” — women have the fear of being alone or not getting married, so they are very forgiving and usually stay in a relationships too long…or wait for the guy to end it. We have to learn to believe in ourselves. If your gut or “little voice” is telling you something is awry , LISTEN. By “letting go” or saying “goodbye,” you are empowering yourself to take control of the relationship and protect your heart. Don’t compromise — you are the prize!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *