This statement has more of a “moral” application than a real one and it will probably not find many adherents but I still think it holds some truth. Make up your own mind about it. I felt like turning into a bit of a righteous p… for a while and the following words are the result.
Encouraging love in a person makes you equally responsible for those feelings because you are co-responsible for their generation. You cannot simply walk away from somebody just because you don’t feel the same way about him or her anymore. If the other person still has deep feelings for you –and provided he or she is a good soul and in no way a threat to you- you have a moral duty to cope with those feelings too.
A friend of mine told me sometime ago the details of a break up he went through with an ex girlfriend. Quite simply, he ran out of love for her. But that wasn’t her situation: She was still very much in love with him and so, the actual break up was very hard on her. When they got together to talk and he told her how he felt she started sobbing quietly and said: “What am I supposed to do now with all these feelings inside me?” That hit him. Hard. And he deserved every bit of it. He had no small role in the generation of those feelings of love inside her. He had nurtured those feelings and encouraged them when they were a happy couple and now that the flame of love was gone for him, he simply turned his back on her and on all the feelings he was equally responsible for creating.
At some point in our lives we all do things like the one my friend did. And that is not right. We are all very sensitive when it comes to ourselves but we fail to act up when it comes to the feelings we are actively responsible for co-creating in others. And that is not right. If there is such thing as a “Moral Etiquette” then this type of behavior is very bad moral etiquette. The fact that we all do it at some point or another doesn’t justify it.
I did this same thing to a girl I dated quite a few years ago and I deeply regret the way I acted. I feel ashamed of myself for letting her down and letting her cope with all those feelings all alone. A couple of years after the break up I wrote her and said I was sorry and she –supposedly- forgave me. But that doesn’t erase the pain I caused her. And I am truly sorry for it.
It doesn’t matter if you are better off each other. It doesn’t count that you are hurting too. It’s not true that “That is the way things are”. That is selfish pseudo-psychology bullshit. If you are so certain that you are doing the best for the both of you then explain yourself and don’t quit until the other person sees eye to eye with you. Don’t quit until the other person feels the same way about it as you do. You owe it to that person. Only then, when those feelings are resolved for the both of you, you’ll have the moral right to walk away.
When you get together with someone you both need to agree on that decision. But there is no need for the both parties to agree for a break up to happen. If only one of you wants to break it up, then it’s official. Why is that? That is because sometimes we are instinctively selfish and not all instinctive impulses are good and right. Moral and instinct need to have a proper balance within ourselves. And when I say Moral I mean it in the sense of the obligations we have with the people that act genuinely right towards us and the people we have actively pursued and convinced to invest emotionally in ourselves.
You don’t just walk away from the mess you created. Emotional maturity means also being responsible for the feelings you actively generate and encourage in others. We are not used to doing it but we should definitely step up and deal with it.