onib: (Romeo)
[personal profile] onib
A relationship can be a lot like a tree.

Sometimes it has to be cut down and removed. Perhaps it has grown wild and spread out into unwanted directions. Perhaps it grew more quickly to become much larger than you ever expected it to be and now it is a threat to your other trees and plants, or even your home itself. Perhaps it fooled you and is not the tree you thought it would be, but rather has turned out to be only a source of toxic and poisonous fruit. Perhaps it is diseased and either died long ago or will soon collapse. Perhaps it simply no longer “goes” with the rest of your property and must be removed to achieve a vision for what your yard *should* be.

These are all perfectly valid reasons to remove the offending tree.

Of course, in many of these cases, the tree could be pruned and/or trained into a shape that would negate the need to cut it down (or if you already knew the shape you wanted it in, you could have been doing this all along). This might be worth the effort, especially if you have already put so much time and energy and love into the tree. Remember, with a little shaping, that tree could provide support and protection for all of the things you think it currently threatens. However, if you choose not to fix the things that are wrong, but simply kill the tree outright, that is a perfectly valid decision. No one could fault you for doing what you truly think is best with your landscape.

But a relationship is *not* a tree, it is only like one. This is a simile, not a metaphor.

Yes, sometimes you have to decide that you must end a relationship with a friend or partner or whatever regardless of how it affects them...for your own good, for their good, or for the good of others you care about. But when you do so, at least show the relationship some respect. Unless the other person poses a danger, give them a chance to say goodbye and to express their own feelings. Bury the relationship together. Maybe even hold a wake for it with drinking and stories and songs. Then you can both walk away remembering why you had the relationship in the first place and not spend the rest of your lives thinking only of how painful it was when it died.

And absolutely NEVER just write them to explain all of your own thoughts and feelings and reasons, and then cut them off without a chance to respond in any way. Doing so says far more about you than it does about them. If you ever cared for someone at all, how could you treat them like an unfeeling object to be tossed away? How can you unilaterally decide that you deserve to have the last word, to get to end things however you want, and that they get nothing - not even to say goodbye? If the end result is the same, why take the path that forever taints all that was positive about the relationship? Why salt the earth so nothing will ever grow there again?

I have now experienced this very scenario happening to either myself or people I care very deeply for (and who deserve so much better) on multiple occasions. It is not fair, it is not right, it makes a mockery of whatever closeness ever existed in the relationship, and it is utterly inexcusable.


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