Sex & Relationships

How to leave a wrong-for-you relationship

Cheryl Strayed, who pens the column Dear Sugar, offers gutsy advice. Three women wrote to her questioning their love — here is her response.

Woman leaving entranceway of house carrying box suitcases

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I was married to a good man who I both loved and wanted to leave. There was nothing wrong with my ex. He wasn’t perfect, but he was close. But there was in me an awful thing, from almost the very beginning: a small, clear voice that would not stop saying go.

GO, even though you love him.

GO, even though he’s kind and faithful and dear to you.

GO, even though he’s your best friend and you’re his.

GO, even though he adores you and your leaving will devastate him.

GO, even though your friends will be disappointed or surprised or pissed or all three.

GO, even though you once said you would stay.

GO, even though you’re afraid of being alone.

GO, even though you’re sure no one will ever love you as well as he does.

GO, even though there is nowhere to go.

GO, even though you don’t know exactly why you can’t stay.

GO, because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough.

Cheryl Strayed is also the bestselling author of Wild. This piece is excerpted from her book Tiny Beautiful Things.