Long Story Short #2 – beating dead horses


advice column

Dear Stacey,

I’ve been in an on again, off again relationship for the past 5 years. I know we could be good together, but we always get stuck on the same old shit. It seems like we never get past the same bump in the road. It’s been going on for so long now that I cannot help but wonder if we are beating a dead horse. How do you know when it’s time to give up and move on?

– tired of horsing around

Dear Tired,

Your letter felt so familiar that I could have written it myself. I have been where you are and I know of the special kind of torment that is reserved for the love and stuck. 

One of my longest relationships was a beautiful mess. I had never met someone that I was able to be so vulnerable and raw with. He was a safe container for my hopes, dreams, and feelings. And I was the same for him. We loved one another, but we could not stay together because we couldn’t grow past this one thing.

We tried for a long time, but it was as though we could never try at the same time. While one of us was working to make things better, the other seemed to be working against it. He would want to talk and I wouldn’t. I would want to hash it out and he would shut down. We teetered and treaded for years. Back and forth. In and out. On and off the fence. And while the love remained consistent, it wasn’t enough. 

Your story could be different. Perhaps you are meant to be together. Maybe you can work it out, once and for all. But to get there you have to get to the root. 

Why are you getting stuck on the same shit, like what’s that about? Which one of you, or is it both of you that continues to rehash and replay the same old stuff. You cannot move forward if you keep on looking back. What is it about this particular thing that keeps sucking you both back in? Maybe one of you needs to be right. Maybe the other is feeling like their personal power is being siphoned away. Or whatever else is going on because in all honesty most disagreements have nothing to do with the relationship at all. Sometimes we circle back to the same stuff to avoid bigger, more pressing issues. 

I invite you to explore, what’s underneath the issue. What’s underneath it for you? And what’s underneath it for your partner? Is it about not feeling valued? Not feeling safe? Not feeling respected? 

The bigger question is, is it about the two of you at all? If the root of the problem is about the two of you, which I suspect it isn’t, then you’ll need to decide if it’s a deal breaker. Is it something that you can rebuild and work on together? Or is it something that you can’t get past? And if it’s something that you can’t get past, can you both accept it?

Of course, there is also agreeing to disagree. It is possible to be okay with not seeing eye to eye on this. You can both feel how you feel without it being a thing. Which is not as easy as it sounds, trust me, but it is possible. Sometimes the most emotionally intelligent thing you can do is stop. Stop beating the dead horse. Stop choosing the bump in the road. Stop getting stuck. 

You asked, “How do you know when it’s time to give up and move on?” The answer to that is simple… you know when the thought of staying is more frightening than the idea of leaving.  

The relationship is not a failure, no matter how it plays out. The time you have spent and the love you have shared is already a success story. And what happens next will be the best thing, for both of you. 






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  • Wow great read. Somewhat me but I made up my mind. I’m leaving

    • I honor you for being courageous enough to choosing you. I heart you sister friend! ❤️ Here’s to living the fullest expression of your soul… now and forever more 🙏🏾

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