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A series of letters from people who are trying to disengage but don’t know how. There’s some really toxic addiction and abusive behavior described in some of the letters, so, know that going in.

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I’ve got a ton of work to do today, so I’m going to let Dear Sugar tell you some things about leaving.

Sometimes you just have to go.  You’ve had the difficult conversations, you’ve used your words, you’ve tried, you’ve walked a mile in the other person’s shoes, you’ve stood up for your needs and given the other person the opportunity to meet them, and at the end of it – you’ve just got to go.  They don’t have to mistreat you horribly. There doesn’t have to be some terrible crisis or airtight case that your family or your soon-to-be-ex-lover or your Inner Chorus of Judgy Self-Criticism has to accept. Put your own oxygen mask on first.

I think I said this on Feministe the other day in some long comments section, but I don’t believe in soulmates and I don’t believe that love – the feelings of love you have and the feelings that other people have for you – are enough to guarantee a happy, functional life with someone.  And when it doesn’t work, it’s so, so, so sad. And hard. And expensive. But you still don’t have to stay in friendships that don’t work, in relationships that don’t work, and, honestly, you don’t have to sit down to holiday dinners with family members who make you feel like shit just because they are “family” (though you can certainly choose to put up with difficult people and imperfect relationships for your own reasons or because they carry benefits that aren’t immediately obvious to other people). As long as you know that  you can opt out, and that your wanting to is reason enough, you can make an informed choice that’s right for you.