I’ve been reflecting recently on why relationships end. What causes a person to suddenly stop caring about another?
I’m reflecting because it just happened to me.
One of my closest and longest friendships left me alone on the very day I needed that friend. This happened even when they knew that I would, in fact, need them on that day.
It was the day when my mom went into the hospital for surgery. With pre-existing conditions. With a compromised immune system. During a pandemic.
Up until this point, the friendship had been one of my best. Meaningful, supportive, and there for the important parts of life.
And then the day of surgery came and…nothing.
I left the hospital, came home to an empty house, sat down on the couch alone, and could do nothing but wait for the hospital to call.
In a pandemic, you can’t sit in the waiting room. You can’t sit next to your loved one when they come out of surgery. You can’t hold their hand and see with your eyes that they’re going to be okay.
You just have to go home and wait.
So I did. And I was left alone by the person who should have cared; but suddenly they didn’t.
In fact, two weeks went by before they checked in.
So why do we just stop caring sometimes? What causes a switch to flip inside of us that says, “Hm, I’m finished caring about this person”?
I don’t know all of the possible reasons, but I know a few.
Sometimes, the relationship is simply scheduled to end.
All relationships have a higher purpose. This idea is generally known as “sacred contracts”: Essentially, we enter into a contractual relationship with other souls, so that they can help us in ways that we need help, and we can help them in ways that they, themselves, need help. We teach each other, we learn from each other, we provide experiences for each other.
Contracts come in all lengths of time. Some contracts are very temporary. Some last for years. Some last for our entire lives—and may even go on for many lifetimes.
Once the souls have done for each other everything they needed, then the contract can be brought to an end, and the pair can move on. It is sort of like taking a college course: Once you have studied all of the material, learned it, and passed the exam, then you graduate out of that class. There’s no need to stay in it, re-learning the same material over and over. Rather, you start a new class, learning new things.
If a relationship is meant to end, then a situation like mine is one of the cleanest ways to make it happen: We encounter a situation that makes it completely clear to us that this person’s feelings have changed, or that something about the relationship has changed.
For example: They abandoned you in your hour of need? That’s a clear indication that it’s over. They cheated on you? That’s a clear indication that it’s over. They shared your private secrets in public? Clear indication.
I remember many years ago when it was me in the hospital bed. I had been admitted from the Emergency Room, with the doctor saying that I could have bled to death had my condition not been treated when it was. And my boyfriend at the time never called me. Nor did he answer my calls when I called him. Nor did he return those calls. His girlfriend was in the hospital for several days with a serious condition and he left her alone; with not even the slightest gesture to show that he cared.
Sometimes we need that. In intelligence analysis (my previous career), there is a methodology called “Analysis of Competing Hypotheses.” The method asks you to lay out all of your hypotheses about why something happened, and then to compare each piece of evidence against each hypothesis. And then you rate the quality fo the evidence vis-a-vis that hypothesis. In doing this, you find that many pieces of evidence actually support multiple hypotheses; thus, all of that evidence is essentially useless.
But there is usually one piece of evidence that cannot be cancelled out. That weighs heavier than any other. And in the above situations, it was “they failed to show up in my hour of need.”
It’s not always easy when a sacred contract comes to an end. But if that’s what is happening, then it is meant to happen. And when things are meant to happen, then there is always something new waiting for us.
We just need to find peace with the past, and be patient about the future.
More information on Sacred Contracts is here.
Separate from soul-level contracts , relationships come to an end sometimes because we’re so overwhelmed with life that we have nothing more to give to that relationship. Especially when we know that a relationship is about to ask even more of us, we check out.
That said, if the relationship had good, open, honest communication, then we should be able to say to our friend that we are overwhelmed and not in a position to give. We would then understand that both partners have needs, and that these needs must be met elsewhere temporarily. Friends support each other.
Not everyone shares what’s going on inside of them, though; instead of admitting their feelings, they simply avoid them.
It is a simple fact of life that things change. People change. Period.
All of the wisdom teachings try to get us to acknowledge this fact. It is called anitcha; impermanence.
Even if your life seems to be the same year after year, you are still changing. Even if you work at the same job, live in the same home, eat the same foods, have the same friends, engage in the same habits week after week…you are still changing. Outside of you, the world is changing. Colleagues are coming and going. Trees are growing and dying. The seasons are in constant flux. And inside of you, the body is aging. Our very cells are changing every single day. Did you know that the liver completely regenerates itself every few weeks? The organ you had months ago is gone; replaced with a new one. That’s change.
For us, personally, change can happen externally. There can be a car accident that changes our lives. A new job. A new baby. A diagnosis. All of these things are external–visible–reasons why a person might change.
But change also happens internally. Suddenly, we may feel different inside–and we don’t know why. This change is invisible. This is one reason why relationships end in a fashion that is completely unexpected. We just change on the inside.
I remember feeling this type of internal change years ago. I literally woke up one day feeling different: What I had wanted for my life the previous day, was no longer what I wanted that day–and for every day forward from that moment.
That part was okay: It’s okay to want something different.
How I handled it, though, was unkind: I didn’t share it with the person who would be most affected by it. Instead, I kept this new path to myself and took actions that realigned my future, leaving out of my life that one special person. To this day, I carry with me the regret about how I handled this situation, even if the other person has moved on from it. We cannot undo past actions.
Communication is therefore so important. If we change, we need to share it with the people closest to us and who will be affected by it. That is, if it is right and possible to communicate it. I admit that there are some things that we need to keep private, at least until it is safe enough to share.
And if it is the other person in our relationship who seems to have changed, then we can talk to them about it. We can ask if they somehow feel different, and what that means for ourselves.
In my line of work—soul-level psychic/energy healing—I also know that sometimes bad energy interferes in our lives, to make those lives more difficult than they would already be.
Bad energy (called “dark energy”) doesn’t want us to be happy and fulfilled. It doesn’t want us to smoothly move through a difficult time. It does want to make things as difficult as possible. And so, it can tamper with our lives or with the people in it, affecting our behaviors.
You might recognize that bad energy has entered the relationship if the other person suddenly acts completely out of character, and does so in a negative way. If you are sensitive, then you might also be able to see, hear, or feel a change in their energy. Sometimes, we can literally perceive a second energy living inside of that person’s body.
“Are My Needs Being Met?”
I have never in my life asked this question: “Are my needs being met in this relationship?”
It sounds silly, coming from a healer with a Psychology degree. But I just have never been encouraged to think about my own needs, nor to identify them, nor to examine a friendship (let alone a marriage) to determine if I’m getting what I want.
But that’s exactly what we should be doing. (If you haven’t already examined your relationships against this metric, please do.)
When my above-mentioned friendship was ending, Mercury was in retrograde–and Mercury Retrograde always asks us to “re-.” Review, reconsider, research, realign, renew, rebuild, etc. So my mind was very active as I examined what was happening in my life. And that’s when I found myself asking if my needs were being met.
And my answer was no.
Not only did I absolutely require a close friend who would show up for me (and my mother) on the day of a potentially life-threatening surgery, but I also just needed a friend who had time to hear about my day-to-day life, and I didn’t have that anymore.
And that latter part is okay; it happens. Things change.
But I had identified a gaping hole in my needs, and that signaled that things on the other person’s end had changed. With that information, I was able to bring the relationship to an end within myself.
We all have needs. And it is important to have these be met. They don’t have to be met solely by just one person. Rather, we can have numerous relationships, each one bringing to us something different. Recognizing what each person brings to us can help us to appreciate that person more deeply. It is also helpful for us to realize what we give to them. If you ever want to know your value, then examine why your friends want you in their lives–it’s because you bring something rich to their lives.
When our needs are not being met, then it’s okay to do something about it. Start by having a conversation with the other person; talk to them about what you’re feeling. Ask what’s happening on their end. See if you can overcome the deficiency and make the relationship more fulfilling. And if not, acknowledge that piece of information and then do whatever is right–including to part ways.
It felt a lot like I was breaking up with a romantic relationship. It was hard… But I value myself and I deserve to have someone care enough about me to voluntarily be with me through the hard times. You deserve that, too; and I hope you have it.
The Important Part
What’s important is that we move as kindly as possible through all of our life’s transitions. It is important that we introspect; looking for anything that we ourselves may have done to cause the break in the relationship, and taking responsibility for it.
It’s also important to look at what the relationship gave to us while we had it. We learn so much from each other, even if we had not noticed it. We also receive joy from our interactions, and support through the difficult periods of life.
As mentioned above about sacred contracts, if a relationship ended because it was meant to end, then process it: honor it; let it go; and patiently wait for that space to be filled.
Part of the processing may involve releasing cords that connect your energy body to your friend’s energy body. We might also want to do a clearing of our energy, removing anything negative that the relationship brought to us. And we might want to do some healing–healing our heart, our emotions, or any other part of us that was injured through the breakup. I’d love to help you with that: You can make an appointment here.
Have you experienced a relationship coming to an end recently? Were you able to identify why it happened? What did you do to process that end?