If You Love Someone, Should You Let Them Go?
Watch the important video above all the way through and then read the article below all the way to the end.
It’s often the advice given by those who share both good intentions and flippancy about your crumbling marriage.
“If you love someone, let them go. If they come back to you, they were really yours. If they don’t, they never were.”
You’ve likely heard that or a variation of it when someone played armchair counselor with you at some point when you felt you were losing your marriage or being left by your spouse.
Though I don’t want to answer a cliche with another cliche, I can tell you that this saying has part element of truth to it and the other part is simply false.
First with the false.
Some of this depends on how you define “let them go” or “set them free.”
If that means that you end the relationship, stop caring, give up, and make no effort to get them back, the saying is false.
Stay with me to understand what I’m saying about this because, to borrow another cliche, things are not always as they appear.
If by letting them go, you accept that you cannot control your spouse or the outcome and that you will not manipulate, beg, pressure, or threaten them to save your marriage, then that is something that professional observation suggests is accurate.
One example I often give is the scenario of a family who lives together and one person goes to a room and shuts the door.
When you go to knock on the door, the person inside says that they don’t want to speak right now and want to be alone.
The appropriate response is not to beat the door down or to go outside and enter through the window.
The person inside the room is not going to express their gratitude that you found another way in or overruled their wishes.
If anything, you will seem immature, controlling, and out of touch.
The mature, loving, and socially intelligent response would be to respect that person’s desire for space, time, and solitude.
In that way, it might appear that you don’t care and are “letting go.”
It could appear that you aren’t trying, aren’t interested in your relationship with them, and have given up.
Whereas that could be the case, it could also be that you are responding with love and a foundational knowledge of human relationships.
At first, both responses seem to come from the same place.
But at a point, the mature response (and the response of someone who wants to enrich or restore the relationship) diverge.
The time of reflection and solitude will usually end with the person in the room opening the door and coming out or inviting others in.
That time (or season) can also end after a period with the person outside the door knocking on the door to check on or touch base with the person inside. And more time may be needed.
This can often be true in the situation of a spouse who feels that they want to leave their marriage.
In the case of the person closed off in their room, when you appeared to “let go,” of the person you loved by not banging on the door demanding to be let in, you did so because you cared.
The same could be said of the person who banged on the door, but, despite the fact that they cared, they were impatient and, perhaps, ignorant of how to correctly address the situation.
I believe in fighting for a relationship.
Sometimes we fight our fiercest when we appear to have given up.
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