All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ~Havelock Ellis
In terms of relationships, initially it’s important to identify who to let go of but also realize that even within the relationships we hang on to, there still needs to be an element of letting go.
As Ellis’ quote suggests, there must be a balance. And it is, indeed, an art. Meaning, it ain’t easy.
If we let go too much, we can come across as uncaring and apathetic. But if we hold too tightly to a loved one, we risk smothering the relationship. Holding too tightly can lead to control, manipulation, and resentment that overtime, can erode the structure of a healthy relationship.
If a truly solid marriage is when two whole people come together to share a life, then we need to maintain the integrity of our wholeness while living a life together.
Think of the beautiful pillars that hold up a temple. They are each strong in their own right but must maintain a certain amount of space in order to uphold something bigger than themselves. Engineers work hard at finding that perfect mathematical balance. The same principle goes for relationships.
We need to allow our partners their individual liberty. To allow them to maintain that beautiful autonomy that perhaps we were so attracted to in the first place. Give them their space. And expect the same in return.
I’ve seen it happen several times to close friends. A couple starts off enraptured with one another and one or both of them loses part of themselves in the other. I’ve been guilty of this myself. It may feel good at the time, but in the long-run, this can be a recipe for disaster.
I think this is a common mistake when we’re younger and still searching for our identity through others but I’ve seen it happen to older adults as well.
So I think it’s important to always keep this top of mind and remind ourselves that when we start to feel the slightest bit controlling in a relationship, to back off. To know that we don’t have to exert power over another just to get our way. But through love, listening, understanding, and clear communication we can have our wants and needs met and live a happy life in tandem.