All things come to an end. Jobs, friendships, relationships, great parties and wonderful television series. Most things we can move on from fairly quickly like jobs we didn’t particularly enjoy, television series that reached a logical conclusion and friendships that gently drifted apart. There are other events in our lives that are much harder to let go of like the friendship that you seem to value more than the other person, so you end up feeling like a barnacle hanging on to someone who barely even knows you are there. A job you once loved but due to budget cuts you are relieved of your duties. The last and most challenging one is the relationship that is, for the most part fulfilling, but has no real future.
The relationship that has a lot of love, caring and sexual fulfillment but you both know won’t go any further is the hardest to shake. You both understand the other persons desires, encourage each other to be your best selves and share your fears, hopes and dreams. One might say that this is the perfect relationship, and, on the surface, it is. However, the reality is that when one person wants more of a commitment than the other person is willing or able to provide then it will never work. It will always be just enough of a relationship to get your immediate needs met but will never move beyond great evenings or weekends. It will never progress to co-mingling of holidays with the kids or vacations with friends. Once you have the revelation that this will be all that will ever be, what is next? Do you stay in the relationship due to comfort or fear of not finding another person who you are able to connect with as well? Do you end the relationship on a high note and reminisce fondly about the good times you were able to share? Or do you hold on tight to this connection until it dies a slow death of resentment and anger for years wasted?
There really is no one size fits all answer to this question. As much as we all like to think that we have the best advice for our friends and strangers on the internet, no one else is truly able to tell us how to live our lives. It would be amazing to be able to go to a trusted relationship guru who would hear your story, rub their chin then spit out an answer that would solve all of your problems. You would then be able to follow that advice with ease and no discomfort. The reality is that people are messy beings and because of this messiness relationships are messy and non-linear. You can fall in love at 15, marry your high school sweetheart and live happily ever after. You could meet the love of your life in your 70’s while your spouse of 30 years is in a coma. You could connect very deeply with someone who helps you heal from the pain of divorce, but they are unable to become your life partner.
In this age of instant dating, ghosting, missed connections and misdirection it can be a challenge to cultivate real connections with people who are looking for the same things. Many times, people will put their best foot forward during the initial dating process but after a few dates their true intentions begin to shine through. I have personally found the current dating landscape to be a bit desolate, at times, and only venture out into it in fits and starts. I have seen the same pattern repeat itself numerous times with men who are only trying to find a new bed partner or a new person to meet with immediately and if you are unable to meet these demands due to your work schedule, parenting duties or other life obligations then they become surly or disappear altogether. This makes the comfort of an unavailable yet understanding romantic partner so much more appealing and makes it less likely that one will put too much effort into being disappointed or frustrated with someone new. It can be tempting to drown ourselves in hobbies, work, our children or families rather than open ourselves up to pain but as I approach the age of forty I have found that the old adage is true, and it really is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. I will continue to live my life to the fullest and eventually I will meet a person who is traveling the same wave length and we will be able to comingle our lives and passions at the same time.