The Power of Goodbye: When to Let Go and When to Say No

When I decided to pursue writing seriously, I promised myself that I would try to refrain from writ...

When I decided to pursue writing seriously, I promised myself that I would try to refrain from writing about relationships. I am only 23 years young, and know that I have yet to gain experience that warrants any advice from me. True, I've felt heartbreak one too many times, and have found myself with men I would dare not bring home to maman; but the romantic department is one in which I am still insecure and still learning.

So, in this post I wish to discuss what I have learned thus far from my interactions with the opposite sex. Growing up and witnessing the dissolution of my parents' marriage and those of my aunts and uncles, I always wondered: "when do relationships die?" When does the fairytale end and the horror begin? When does one come to the conclusion that a love they were once so excited about is no longer worth their time and energy? 

ReadIt Was All A Dream: Coming to Terms With Relationship Realities

Presently, I am witnessing the slow death of something I thought would have turned into a serious relationship. As an epiphany of sorts, I've realized that I have learned to let go of people and involvements that are not comfortable and easy for me. I do not define "easy" as a situation that requires no to little work on either party's part. An "easy" involvement is one where I am not the only person putting in energy, time and affection. I have come to understand that if a man does not give me trust, affection, attention, and his time with both hands -- even on days where he may not feel like it -- he is not the one for me. Of course, walking away after becoming aware of this is not as easy as saying it -- especially after the secrets, promises and caresses have been exchanged. So many of us have been reared on the ideals of fairy-tales and taught to believe that relationships call for blood, sweat and tears. I wish more girls and women would see that relationships call for kindness, warmth, and friendship just as much, if not more so.

Read The Beauty of Self-Preservation: Learning When To Walk Away

My mother is certain that I am single because I am picky. She swears that every credentialed black man in New York City is a carbon copy of Denzel in the "Preacher's Wife", only with a suitcase of millions to match. Ladies, don't we wish that this was the case? Truth be told, I once found the quintessential good guy. The man who has done and does almost everything right. The one who comes from a good family, who went to a top tier school, pursued a well-paying career, respects women and wishes to settle down.

ReadFive Things I’ve Learned as a Single Woman

Although I was not initially attracted to him for whatever reason, I forced myself to like him. I believed that I was so used to "bad boys" that I had to learn how to like and eventually love a good man. What no one told me is that just because he's a good man doesn't mean he's a good man for you. His perfection in family background, education and career does not factor in if you will always have something to discuss with him, if you two will share the same views on life and direction, same beliefs on finances and even basic expectations on love. I knew people would look at me as if I were crazy and stupid for walking away from Mr. Perfect, but I was determined to retain my sanity and to respect his time and life.

I am 23 years young. I know I have sooo much to learn, other heartbreaks to go through, and beliefs that will crumble right before my eyes. But as of right now, I know that it is impertinent for any woman and man to know the true power of goodbye: when its okay to let go...and when its okay to say "no".

Valerie Jean-Charles is a 23 year old community servant and writer in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BA in Political Science from Fordham University. Follow at @Empressval to join her never-ending conversations about everything and then some.

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