I’ve been thinking again, folks. You know what happens when THAT happens…
People like to put a lot of stock into the length of a relationship. Some say, “Six months? You want to have their BABY?! You barely know them!”. The exact opposite can be said for really long relationships: “Seriously, you’ve been together for FIVE years. When are you gonna get married and have kids?”. See what I mean? Similarly, I know some people that have been together somewhere between 6 months and 5 years, they love each other and want to have kids. On purpose. What does THAT mean?
Based on my own experience, I’ve always been dubbed the long-term relationship kind of chick. The length of my relationships has been (in order):
- 2.5 years (the 1st boyfriend)
- 6 years (the 2nd boyfriend – lived with him… sort of)
- 6 months (the pseudo-boyfriend – my first unsuccessful try at the companionship model)
- 3 years (the 3rd boyfriend – lived with him too)
- and now the Companion (about 1.5 years now, a more successful companionship model)
That means I’ve spent 13.5 years of my life in relationships with men. Tallied like that, it’s a bloody long time. However, in all that time, not one of them ever asked me to marry them or have kids with them. Worse yet, I operated in the relationship as if at some point in the near future, the promise of marriage was at hand (for those longer ones). Can you believe that? So I’ve asked myself the hard question: did they stay with me for love or convenience (laziness does come into this category too) and the conclusion is for the latter. Total convenience and in some cases, plain old laziness. They may have loved me in the beginning, but only cared for me toward the end as friends care for each other or in a way they care for their pet. Who knows. But it wasn’t love, I guarantee you that. If it wasn’t for the experiences I’ve had that made me who I am today, I could almost argue that it was a waste of time. Once you stop loving someone, the willingness to keep a relationship alive dwindles, the drive simply isn’t there anymore.
There are some points to be made from such impacts from love vs convenience situations:
Point #1: The length of a relationship doesn’t really mean anything. I have a friend that was with someone for a year and the guy proposed to her. She turned him down. Similarly, my uncle got married to his common-law wife finally — out of the blue, might I add — after being together for almost 20 years. Yes, 20 years.
Point #2: If you don’t love someone anymore, but want to stay with them for whatever reason that doesn’t entail love, you should tell them upfront. Here’s the problem with this one though: people are chickenshit. Most men and women don’t like making unnecessary waves, but it’s rather important to tell someone you don’t feel the same way anymore. At least I think so.
Point #3: Don’t let your history get in the way of a solid relationship. This is always easier said than done, but without being conscious in a relationship, it’s too easy to fall into old habits, old way of being with one another that can eventually sabotage what could be a good thing. That’s when love falls apart. That’s when life repeats itself when you desperately don’t want it to.
Point #4: Don’t make it too easy. This was always my problem. Women have to let men be men and give them something to fight for, to try for. If it is effortless and they don’t feel like there’s a challenge, problems are bound to arise. It sounds contrary and a waste of time to someone like me, but after the 13.5 years of relationships, it is very true. Not having conflict, difference of opinions or the like, not giving the man in the relationship something to work at or improve about how they relate to you or for themselves… not presenting them with a challenge, is troublesome. I think couples that argue a little actually stand a better chance of staying together because in their anger, they express honest emotion. It is easy to hold back and keep things to yourself when you are reticent to argue.
That’s about all I can muster today, but I had to get this off my chest. It makes me a little sad that for all those relationships, it’s almost like I never learned the bigger lessons…