When to Quit

I hate quiting.  I may even hate quiters.  And I’m supposed to love everybody.  But I get this sneaky feeling, creeping inside my throat, when someone stops something they’re committed to.  I react because I believe in finishing things.  I believe in finishing things well.

Though I’ve made a fair amount of mistakes, forgotten things, and been disorganized in my short life, I can’t imagine intentionally leaving a project open.  There is something essentially wrong about it.

So it’s difficult for me to stop engaging with people.  I don’t abandon relationships.  I have the same friends I did when I was 14.  I’ve created new friendships.  But I make them slowly.  I don’t release people once they actually become friends.  It’s too hard because I don’t quit on people.

But there are times when reality makes my disposition impossible.

When a person walks away.  Or when someone repeatedly refrains from investing in the us of our relationship, whatever it is.  Or when someone chooses to actively communicate that our relationship, whatever it once was, is no more.  You can only go so long giving to a person who casts aside what you offer. 

Care in those situations is not necessarily maintaining my dogged commitment.  Care winds in and out of release.  Sometimes the most caring thing, the care-filled thing you can do in a relationship is quit.  Sometimes it’s most caring for and to you and to the other person. 

I wonder if we would stay in relationships only when staying was an act of care.  I wonder if we would leave only when leaving would cause no harm.  I realize this can be complicated.  It hurts to leave.  It hurts to stop calling.  It hurts to stop trying.  Especially if you’re not a quitter.  But.  If leaving is more caring than staying, if ceasing to call and wait and hope is more loving than pursuing, maybe quitting is not so bad.


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