As love blossoms and the first bit of nookie has been had, we blissfully move into stage two – The Relationship.
And so construction of the relationship begins. Conversations are had and boundaries are set – or so they should be – to guide the couple to a point of contentment. We look into one another’s eyes and with utter bliss, whisper the words, “I love you”. Away, we go through the next however long, learning new things about each other, with the occasional fight along the way to reset those boundaries. As contentment sets in and we have suitably moved into one another’s lives, we find ourselves sighing with relief that the search is over and we are now settled.
Relationships are odd little cookies though, in that they are all so different. How many times have you been out with friends and thought, “why is he with her” or visa versa. Or, “I bet he speaks to her like that at home too (poor girl)”. Or, “I bet she gives him the odd smack round the head. We don’t do that, do we dear????????”.
We analyze the hell out of other people’s relationships (well, at least I’m honest enough to admit it) to see if our own is good enough. We forget though that others do exactly the same to us. What do they see? What do they say?.
If you could have someone video tape a week of your life, without you knowing, would you want to watch it? Or would you be too concerned as to what you might see?
As we get older we become much more complicated. We gather things: lamps, beds, crockery, children… It makes things a little more confusing. Think about this: If you and your partner owned nothing other than the clothes on your back, had no mutual fiends and had no children, would your relationship still exist? It’s a tough question huh? And one I would wager a large amount of money on, that you are not willing to ask yourself.
As I mentioned in my post about Love, there are no promises, and the same goes with relationships. We can say all the vows we like on our wedding day, but there are no guarentees that we can hold down our end of the bargain. Life is just not that simple. Some people live together for over 50 years and on the surface look wonderfully in love, and we say looking at them, “Aww, look at that they still hold hands after all theses years.”, but how do we know that she is not waiting for the old bastard to pop his clogs so that she can run away with Chet who’s 20 years her junior. We don’t. What we can say for certain is that they “seem” happy.
This part is most definitely not the fun part.
As someone who has had long term relationships end, I can speak from experience that it gets so much harder depending on, a. the longer you have been together and b. the older you are.
Deconstructing a relationship is not as simple as saying I no longer love you, so I am leaving. Chet may be at the garden gate in his BMW roadster, waiting to sweep you off to the greener side of the grass, but he knows not of the pain in the two peoples hearts (even if they are no longer in love) there is as they tear their lives apart from one another. The things we fear can only be described as a cruel and unusual punishment: the thought of being alone; the fear that this is all just a big mistake, the dating pool (I mean, lets face it, it’s not much fun). Am I too old? Am I interesting enough? Some women need to get jobs after years of looking after the kids. Some men fear losing their virility; while others fear the fact they have lost half there hair, and after just seeing Chet (at the afore mentioned gate), have realized there are some young men out there with virility coming out of their…y’know.
It does not matter who is to blame for a relationship break-down, as both parties go there separate ways they will inevitably go through the deconstruction period, which can be lengthy and terrifying. I firmly believe that that is the reason there are so many unhappy marriages. Well, that and religious pressures of course (but that is a whole different can of worms I am not opening just now). People are so scared of what it will be like to be alone again that they just stick, and many moons later gripe and snip at one another until one of them pops off to never never land, leaving the other wondering what the hell to do now.
None of this is scientific proof of course; they are merely musings, based on personal experience and information gathered from friends of all ages who have ‘been there’. It was quite surprising to me how many people said when the relationship deconstruction was over, how much happier and freer they felt. Some mention loneliness. Some fear being single until the day they die, but all said they were happier not being in that relationship.
Moving on will never be easy, but it can be made easier by being honest with yourself as to what you want in life. If Chet is the one, then damn well chase him over that grassy knoll.
But don’t forget, if you can remember why you fell in love with someone in the first place and there is an inkling that they are worth fighting for, then get your bloody boxing gloves on and give it all you have got, because the grass is not always greener on the other side.