If You Get My Kidney, I Should Get Your Heart
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When two people are in love, they should both wan’t to be there. That’s the rule. It makes sense. Love has to be a two-way street. With that being said, there is a short list of extenuating circumstances that can occur within a relationship that may require a little rule bending. And, I think I may have just found one.

Today, the Twitter and Facebook communities are on fire over an anonymous letter posted online from a man in a seemingly impossible situation—his girlfriend gave him a kidney, now he doesn’t love her anymore but feels bad about calling it off because he feels like she put her life on the line for him. As he put it, “things have been slowly fizzling out, and I’ve been feeling like we don’t belong together for a few months now.”

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Guess what, sir? You don’t belong together. While I sympathize with the complexities of his situation, I can’t believe that a love so raw and so real that a woman would be willing to go under anesthesia and come out minus an organ could just fizzle out in less than five years. Someone wasn’t keeping it real from day one, and I’m guessing it wasn’t your girlfriend, who by now is reading all of this and already packing her bags. You say yourself that you’re not yet married, but both in your early 30s and sharing home. Love is serious business. For a woman with moderate to strong self-esteem and a good head on her shoulders to donate an organ to save the life of a man who claims to love her but has yet to put a ring on her finger, she has to be beyond convinced that this man loves her, rides for her and plans to stick it our for life with her. If you get the wrong Christmas gift, you can exchange it. If you move in together, and it all goes to hell, you can break your lease. If you get married and it isn’t working, you can get divorced. When you give the man you love your kidney, there aren’t any take-backs. It’s one of the few things that’s truly for life. And, in exchange, doesn’t she at least deserve your heart?

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Now, while I don’t agree that you should stay together for another second if you’re both not happy and can’t make it work, if you ever loved her as much as she clearly loves you, at the very least, she should always have your heart and respect. And, of course, enough decency from you to her to ensure that she never has to read about your impending breakup across every single one of her social media feeds before you are man enough to say it to her face. Sure, your letter was anonymous, but there were a good amount of potentially identifiable specifics involved and I’m guessing there aren’t that many couples walking around today in your situation. When I read your letter, the first thing I thought to myself was, wow, their relationship may be ending, but they’re also no longer best friends. As her best friend, you should have the courage to tell her (again, to her face) that there will never be any love lost, you gave it your best and you have to end things for both your sake, but you insist you remain dear friends. Because, why? Because you’ve shared an organ. She put her life on the line to save yours, and well, she deserves at least that much.

Ladies, does anyone out there feel me on this one?

Charli Penn is the Lifestyle and Relationship Editor for ESSENCE.com. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation.