What Kenny Rogers Taught Me About Relationships

“You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

You know the lyrics from the popular song, The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers.

“You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” Well as silly as it may sound, that song taught me more about relationships and boundaries than any college book, psychology class, or overpriced therapist ever could. Here’s what I learned.

You got to know when to hold’em —

Or in other words, it isn’t time to quit yet. A lot of times we like to cut and run at the first sign of trouble, rejection or discomfort but hold your horses, it isn’t over yet. In fact, it is just starting to get good. There’s still valuable things to learn, to receive, and to process in this relationship. In my years of counseling and coaching, I found a lot of people were ready to leave relationships including marriages, because the superficial reasons they got with the person in the first place were no longer satisfying. They usually expressed this to me by saying something like, “the spark is gone”, or “I just don’t feel in love with them anymore”. Well duh! The things that initially draw us to other people often aren’t enough to sustain the relationship long term. Things like looks, personality, sexual attraction, and common interests. Eventually the things that connect us have to go to a much deeper level, a level of shared purpose, passion, and destiny. In order to do that we have to get free from the fear of intimacy (in to me see). When you are feeling a disconnect towards the other person oftentimes it’s a block or a wall in your own heart. So just when you think it’s time to let go, instead it’s really just time to let the other person deeper inside.

You got to know when to fold em —

You’ve been to this rodeo several times, you got the t-shirt and the mug, and you’ve held on long enough. You have done your own heart work and dealt with your own junk, but nothing is happening and it’s not going to because this relationship is stalemated. It’s time to admit it isn’t going to get better, and it’s time to lay down your hand. Stop fighting, stop grieving, stop trying to make it work out the way you want it. I know it’s hard but you can’t stay here and you can’t keep wishing it would be something that it isn’t, that it used to be, or that it never was in the first place, except in your own mind. And finally you have to stop trying to win, to have the last word and to prove that you’re right. Moving on doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a healthy person. Putting others health and wellbeing above your own doesn’t make you noble, it’s a first class ticket to a place I like to call nervous break-town, population you!

Know when to walk away —

To walk on, shake it off, let it go. Stop chasing what doesn’t want you and chalk it up to divine rejection which at worst is redirection and at best is protection. It’s time for a new beginning and that always requires necessary endings. 

And last, but most importantly — Know when to run! —

There are times when you gotta physically run away. Don’t walk to the nearest exit RUN! Get the heck outta dodge. These endings might require you to change your phone number, your job, your friends, and maybe even your home address. You have to put on your Forrest Gump tennis shoes for this one because if you don’t you are going to get tangled back up with this toxic situation, and the sequel to this bad movie will be much worse than the first.

I have lived every one of these types of relationships and I know some of you have too. So, the next time you need relationship advice just sing this little song, decide which category you fall into, and act accordingly.

Don’t thank me, thank Kenny.


Jackie Dorman

Jacqueline Dorman is a dynamic entertainer, speaker and author. The former General Manger of the Emmy winning Guardian Television Network she saw a need to raise the bar in women’s entertainment.

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Darlene ReseArthur PunauColleen HoylesFranmerkhAmelia sumpo Guilayan Recent comment authors
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Darlene Rese

Very goid article! ❤

Arthur Punau
Arthur Punau

Thank you for the article. I have lived these kind of relationship too and due to the nature of my job, it makes running easier. At my age, I’m hoping for a stable relationship.


Love this Jackie! This was the greatest advice I ever got from my Dad. When I was getting married he told me marriage was the toughest “business” in the world and proceeded to teach me the Kenny Rogers lessons from this song lol! Great article, great advice! <3

Fran Merkh

Totally understand but the joy runs to and not away.

Amelia sumpo Guilayan
Amelia sumpo Guilayan

Yes, I love all of kenny Roger’s Songs most this the ” gambler”
In every situation that is hard, the very first thing to do is to pray.
Run out from troubles are not the solutions but it is a sign of cowardness,
Be brave, strong and confident, and most of all trust God and trust yourself.


Love this! A friend of mine always uses the song lyrics when giving relationship advice, so this was a fun read. It can also be applied to situations in life and big changes, like jobs, career etc.
Love this part” Putting others health and wellbeing above your own doesn’t make you noble, it’s a first class ticket to a place I like to call nervous break-town, population you!”

We think we are helping but sometimes when we give so much that we don’t have ourselves we end up needing help, making the situation worse. You’re not doing anyone any favors going into work sick with the flu!


Always knew there was a lesson in this song, just didn’t know what it was. Makes total sense now. Thank you. Love the Was there, bought the T-shirt…and the mug…was finally able to “walk away” I took as my banner songs: “Get Along” Kenny Chesney & “Take the Road Less Traveled” Lauren Alaina to remind me of what I was moving toward. Never thought of this one.

Robina fazal

😀😃😂😅😘Nice article..Sweet..Jackie Dorman ..Thanks For Sharing beautiful Thoughts of wisdom…and inspiring way to express your Vision and expression of mindfulness..💖💐Yeah if you wanna a relationship..it should be pure…faithful…loving and sincere …it’s really a matter of self need ..requirement…and passion to be loved and to love….if you wanna enter in this deep sea of love…and care..you should know the art to make it the best of life with passion..ease of Soul…and mind..You have to give pure love…to receive pure affection..and it’s really a good luck…that one who love other…get the love they deserve..in return..I believe and trust in this myth..That one who love his..her ownself and make best use of their time..and energy in positive healthy activities..never in a lust or requirement to be hungry and thirsty of love from Some one..or they demand the other person to be loving and kind..to them..because expectations always make one irrited and one is not contented and always in the state of anxiety..and worry..it’s quite good if you get the love and care you deserve by the right…and Solid personality..but in today’s world is it v.rare..So be strong..love yourself more..care yourself more .respect yourself more.. indulge in positive productive activities as much you can ..never try or force yourself to be in a relationship…and then expect it to be superb cool…and relaxing..Inspire of that learn the art to be happy..cool..and relaxed..manage your time..and energies in nice positive ..creative ..constructive works..you will get the desired…relationship..at the proper time..with a proper Soul mate..love.care..respect all around you..Be loving ..caring to all…who need you..who believes in you that you can solve their problems. Lessen their worries..make them happy…can be positive and productive for them…It’s only a matter of thinking if you only feel and. Focus on any personal relationship..with a person..you can never be Satisfied or fully happy..If you know the art to be happy. And make..the most of your time in best ways .Their’s a good news.. 😀😃😅😘a match for you…will meet you at the right time for right reasons…not just for time passing but to be a real loving..Soul mate that can make your life bloosom with love…and ease of Soul..mind and body..Just be patient..and trust in God Almightys timing…What good written for you…will. Meet you..and a life real pure love…will make your life a heartful of passion and. ..Sweet dreams desires take a shape of reality..and you will cherish the love…you..wait for..😀😆😄😘🌹🥀👫💏💖💋💝🌺🌺🌺🌷🌷🌷💐Amen..


All I have to say is wow 😮 great article

Angeliki Anastasia

Beautiful Jackie your article is on point!! It is absolutely correct!! Run as fast as you can, if it’s possible fly away like an eagle, proud and free!! Run, save Yourselves!! Once I tried to hold on to a Man who didn’t love me anymore!! I thought blue contact lenses will enchant my love!! Sooo I wore my blue eyes and we went to a nice restaurant!! Every man and woman were staring at my blue eyes! I felt soo beautiful! What a great disaster, everyone was staring because I lost one blue contact and I was left with one black eye and one blue eye!! Hahaha! Thank you Jackie for your sooo important advice!!