When one person says “I want this relationship to be over” (whether that’s by saying “I’m leaving you”, “we’re through”, “I want a divorce”, or anything like that), then the relationship is over. The person wanting out doesn’t have to win an argument, convince you that they’re “right”, or anything else. There’s a reason why that’s the “nuclear option” for a relationship. As Dan Savage says:
…we do not need someone’s consent to leave them. Breakups are the only
aspect of our romantic and/or sexual lives where the other person’s
consent is irrelevant.
The mirror image of this is true as well: You do need both (or all) people’s consent to be in a relationship. If one person in the “relationship” doesn’t think you’re in a relationship… you’re not. It’s that simple.
Someone may hurt you when the relationship ends (or doesn’t begin), and that can definitely effect the way you think and behave. But – and this is important – the only person responsible for how you behave after the end of that relationship is you. Want to pull a Miss Havisham? That’s your responsibility. Want to keep letting them rule how you feel? That’s also your responsibility.
Again, the mirror image is true: Your leaving may hurt someone. But they, not you, are responsible for their life and decisions, especially after you’ve ended the relationship. Whether they’re holding themselves hostage by threatening suicide (and as someone who has felt suicidal after a relationship before and advocated for those who have felt suicidal, I find that particular tactic sickening) or practicing a form of hoovering, understand that the relationship is over, and what they choose is their decision, not yours.
And as always, dear readers, I’m not Taylor Swift (though I’m listening to her right now), so as always, don’t rush to shove that shoe on your foot.