Do I Walk Away or Work On It?

Alex the Great asks: “How come people lazy suh sometime? The minute dem nuh get weh dem want,and how dem want it, dem bawl and cry fowl. Dem nuh know seh nutting come easy inna life?”

It’s always easier to walk away than put in the work – or so it seems.

Recently, I was watching a few episodes from a series aired on Discovery Fit and Health called Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal (aired originally on TLC, I believe). There were a few things that stood out from seeing those stories of betrayal that caused me to reflect on who we view relationships with a very quick hook at times.

Firstly, the producers were fair – this wasn’t a series of cheating guys leaving destroyed wives and kids in their philandering wake. They really made an effort to show that both men and women are capable of infidelity and often do so for different reasons across many social and ethnic groups. As much as we know better, sometimes we get caught up in playing into the stereotypes of the roles both gender play in a relationship. They also didn’t show the kids at all – it focuses on the people in the relationship and that’s where it should be.

Secondly how strong the partners who were wronged were for trying to save their marriages. From cheating with friends, strangers, coworkers, hanging out in strip clubs, it really takes a lot to forgive and to use an incident of infidelity as a point to be closer than before to a partner. The stats aren’t usually in favor of a relationship – about 30% survive after the occurrence of an infidelity that is revealed. Maybe that’s why people try as hard as they do to cheat and keep it hidden.

But the stat that stood out the most for me though was that about 80% of those that walked away regretted their decision. That’s a pretty high number! Sometimes people want to cling to a relationship for selfish reasons. We all know how tough it is to take someone back under those conditions to make it work. But maybe the reason why that number is so high is that people haven’t really taken the time out to process what happened. The good times can look really good if the person isn’t around – after all it is easy to romanticize the highest of highs and ignore the lows. Perhaps what was need was a moment to really talk things out to see if it is worth salvageable – but that can be hard to do when the cheater is just trying to get things back how they were and aren’t willing to really deal with the consequences of their actions.

It’s not only intimate relationships that it’s seemingly easier to walk away from. There are jobs that we are at and don’t like, friendships that may not be going our way, family members who don’t agree with our current point of view. There are times that the pressures of life can be so great that letting go might be the best option. While there are times that this is indeed true, when we get into a habit of always pull the car off the side of the road whenever there we hit a pothole it becomes harder to grow and get anywhere in life.

It’s hard to know what’s worth putting in the work for, and what’s worth walking away from. Some of the lack of that skill comes from a Western way of life that makes many things disposable, people and stress filled situations especially. One thing is clear: if you walk away classy or work hard in a classy manner, people are able to respect you – no matter how they feel about you in the moment.

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