Emotionally Organic: On Relationship Ends

In much of the world, we talk about the notion of getting “rid” of someone in our life.  As if there were a rubbish bin somewhere that we could toss away our relationships and have them no longer be part of us.

There is no away.

Even on the physical plane, there is no away.  When we throw something into the trash, it does not disappear simply because it is not longer in our homes.  It goes somewhere.  Right now there is a trash heap twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean because of such beliefs.  The same applies for our energetic connections to others.

If there is no away, then what do we do when relationships end?  For some of us we reuse, we take that energy and repurpose it to fuel our next endeavors.  Others reduce, choosing to invest in fewer connections, hoping that somehow we won’t hurt as much if there is nothing to loose.  Some of us recycle our connections with one person into something new with that same person- a partnership becomes a friendship, a lover becomes a life long ally.  Some compost it all, putting it in the heap, adding the detritus of our hearts, and waiting for the shit to turn into something that some time in the future we will be able to grow our gardens in.

But there are many of us who do not do this.  Who keep the clutter in our hearts, who build refuse heaps in our souls.  Plastic bags full of our fears and pains from the past rise up to the sky, our own Sarah Synthia Sylvia Stout who would not take her energetic garbage out.

What are you carrying around from past relationships?
Where did it go when you threw it away?

Relationships end.  They begin, they tell a story, they have a plot arch, and in time, they end.  They end when they are transformed, one book closed so that another in the series can begin.  They end when two parties close the doors together, having learned what they needed to from this teaching tale, ready to both move on.  They end when a conflict can be faced no more in its current form, and it is time to choose another tale altogether.  They end when we run out of ink for writing another page, drawing a last breath on this incarnation, on this life.

For some of us, planning our rituals in advance can be helpful.  If this ends, I would like us to each give our rings back.  If this doesn’t work out for whatever reason, let us untie our cords to one another, have some sort of resolution.  When I die, I would like my loved ones to have a Wake for me, remember all the stories, laugh together in my honor.

For others, this is far too morbid.  How can we embrace today in all it’s glory if I am thinking that this thing of beauty might somehow die.  Of course I know that this rose will some day wilt and say goodbye, but if I think about it out loud I will stop smelling al it adds to my life today.

Is planning at the beginning of how endings might look good for you, or not?  If not, having an awareness of how other endings have gone can allow that if a time ever comes when you need the information, you know where to turn.  Smell your roses, dance in your garden, and if in time winter comes, be aware that the roses may have to be said goodbye to… until next year when the garden blooms anew, with different roses, or different flowers simply blooming from the same bushes.

Each ending deserves a ritual or way to turn dependent on what it is.  Tossing a glass bottle in a compost heap will not make the bottle turn into something new.  Taking the dung of our lives and putting it into the smelting fire will not help us plant a new garden.  Taking the time to consider what process will help the individuals involved, and the type of relationship that this is or was, is key.  A divorce is not enough for some of us.  An angry yelling match may not be the right thing for those involved.  Saying goodbye with a kiss may not fit all parties.  Watching your contract go up in flames as you hold hands and cry is not always what is right.

I have met others who plan in advance for some things, but not for others.  The number of times I have seen couples forget about wills, living wills, power of attorney (health, financial, legal), hospital visitation rights, money, homes… and someone leaves this plane before planned, is pretty staggering.  Rights revert to spouses, then children, then parents, then siblings in many cases.  If a legal divorce never happened after a parting of ways, who is your home going to?  Perhaps you were in a polyamorous household and did not want to choose any one over another- but if the house was in only one name… who gets the house if you die?

Consider your estate planning.  Every single one of you.  Who gets your collection of sacred artifacts, your books, your home?  Is there a chance your paintings to be thrown to the curb when a sister or cousin who never knew your heart is settling your bills with debtors?  And don’t just do it once- every 2-3 years pull out that will, pull out that financial power of attorney, look at your lists… life changes, and your documentation should as well.

To me, the amazing thing about thinking about the ends of relationships is the knowledge that each and every day matters.  Every single day I have the opportunity to build relationships worth having.  It shows me that I deserve the excellence that is possible in the world.  Each person in my life is worthy of the greatness our spirits can deliver.  If something is not serving us, change is possible.  Not just possible, but demanded.

We deserve the best relationships possible.
We deserve consciously created relationships, not just ones we stumble into and accept at face value, unwilling to push the straw of our hearts into the gold of our souls.
We deserve more than 99 cent cheeseburger relationships.
We deserve greatness.

Because our time on this plane is finite, and the evolution of our planet demands it.


If so moved…




Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.

One Comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been prepared in case that I pass on since I was 19. Most people that I’ve met don’t understand why. I have letters that I update to my loved ones and legal documents. I don’t think enough people prepare for it and any day can be a persons last. The people that are close to me understand the importance and are more prepared. We have certain acts of closure that we think would work best for us.

    Thank you for reminding me about thinking about looking at endings that don’t end in death for my loved ones and I.

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