To my profound sadness and disappointment, a relationship of the past three and a half years has ended. As my brain has been churning with all of the expected emotional responses, I thought I would revisit some relationship thoughts I recently shared with an acquaintance.
When I’ve had relationships end in the past, I’ve spent a lot of cycles considering what lessons I’ve learned and what I would do differently next time. Sometimes that’s about necessary changes in my behavior, sometimes it’s about acknowledging what traits are essential to me in a partner. I feel like it’s my responsibility to bring that level of self awareness to the table. It seems unfair to expect a partner to contribute to my happiness if I don’t already know what it takes to accomplish that for myself.
The other thing that’s floating around my head these days is being “in love”. One of the harder lessons I’ve learned is that being in love is not the requirement for a happy and lasting relationship. It is, at best, an opening bid. I can find it in me to love a great many (and wide variety of) people. Many of whom would be absolutely dreadful partners for me. It took me a while to get past being in love and start including all of the other components that went towards making a relationship work (and not work) for me.
An earlier draft of this post used the phrase “when I’ve had relationships fail in the past”. And mostly, I don’t believe in relationships failing. Each relationship I’ve ever had has fulfilled some need I’ve had at the time. Just because I or my partner have reached a place we aren’t meeting each others’ needs in the same fashion doesn’t mean the entire relationship is a wash. Things have just changed. Frankly, the only times I want to describe a relationship as “failed” is when I haven’t been able to learn the lessons I really should have learned from it.
So here I am, taking stock and re-evaluating. I’m trying to make the most out of a very painful situation. Using the time for reflection, for self-improvement, for making some new friendships, and reconnecting with some neglected friendships. This change in circumstances has led me to reconsider some priorities, canceling some old plans, making new ones. Cleaning house, emotionally, physically and metaphorically.
If you’re so inclined, drop me an email. Or offer up a real life hug. I promise not to bore you with the whole sordid story.