Dear Navigator, There’s Always a Choice.

Admittedly, being told I have a choice is not what I want to hear when I’m in a relationship that’s falling apart at the seams. No, I want to wave a magic wand and return things back to how they used to be. I want him to initiate contact and make me feel like I matter. I want us to go back to our long phone calls and deep conversations about our beliefs. Instead of facing the reality that is in front of me, I want to hide and pretend like my only option to is to ride the storm out.

The truth is, this is an all-too-familiar scenario. Last month, I wrote about being in a relationship where I nearly lost myself. If I could add to that post, this is the follow up to what I wish someone had said to me during that time. I wish a trusted friend would have pulled me aside and let me know that I didn’t have to go as deep to almost reaching the point of no return. I wish a sister, friend, or random stranger on the street had told me that, when it comes to dating relationships, I always have a choice.

In any relationship, even in marriage, we have choices. If God, the Creator of the universe, gives human beings free will to choose whether or not to accept His existence and follow Him, then I am able to decide if I want to remain in a toxic relationship. Granted, not all relationships appear toxic at face value. We, as humans, have gotten incredibly good at hiding the truth from the rest of the world. We post our best and happiest moments on social media to maintain the façade of our false reality. As a result, it becomes easier to transport ourselves to that alternate world when what’s in front of us appears grim.

Even though we don’t always remember, we can choose to walk away from men who no longer love or respect us. We don’t have to endure listening to their harsh words and criticisms. There’s no need for us to stay and be used as punching bags. We can come out of the kitchen and enjoy the company of our guests. We are more than just pairs of legs spread to give them pleasure when they so desire. As women, we are not sex slaves, cooks, washing machines, childcare providers, or any other position that has been assigned to us by men who don’t appreciate us. We are visionaries, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, politicians, diplomats, revolutionaries, and freedom fighters.

After nearly losing myself, the epiphany came that I didn’t have to stay with the guy who claimed to love me yet stopped communicating that love in a way I understood. I stopped trying to make a relationship work when he began making me less of a priority. I ceased being vulnerable as he continued to stray far away and make less time for me. I allowed the walls around my heart to go up when he decided I was no longer worth the chase. I chose to walk away the day I cried because he made me feel unworthy.

I stopped trying to make a relationship work when he began making me less of a priority.

It’s a vicious cycle we have to go through sometimes to truly understand our value, but I’m honestly glad it happened for me. While I don’t wish to be in a place where I no longer recognize myself because of a man, I am proud beyond words to have come out victorious. There’s always a choice. I am the daughter of a King, and I deserve to be with someone who will treat me as such. No, our lives won’t always be filled with mountaintop experiences. But the man for me will wake up each day eager to find ways to express his love for me because he doesn’t want to lose me. I will rise each morning ready to show how much he means to me because he’s a good man trying to make it in a world that’s constantly tearing him down.

Fellow navigator, I want a love so real that we both work to make it work because we understand each other’s value. If you’re in a position right now where you feel like you have to stay, allow me to be the one to say that you always have a choice. You don’t have to entertain abuse–ever. The relationship may dissipate, but it’s better than losing yourself. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you couldn’t get out? What made you finally end things? Tell me about it!

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