Yes, Your Relationships Are Working!

I’m sure the title of this one has really thrown you off. Am I right? Are you wondering what I’m on about? How could I, who has never met you’re current almost-on-his-way-out boyfriend or your aloof two-timing ex or your recent but short-lived er, guy that you were “kinda” seeing or had “something” with or that crush that didn’t quite crush back at you, possibly conclude that you, yes you, have had and will continue to have relationships that work? Keep reading and I’ll tell you just how.

Let’s start by agreeing that from here on out we’ll use the term “relationship” to cover the entire spectrum of romantic associations between the dudes and the dudettes (does anyone still use these terms?). Relationships will refer to all manner of situationships that we find ourselves falling in and out of, sometimes with ease and sometimes with utmost discomfort!

We all have different reasons for getting into relationships and each and every one of our relationships runs it’s own course, has it’s own flow and follows (or chooses to not follow!) it’s own set of “rules”. Sometimes we are totally in sync from the start with our significant other (in hindsight, they always seems more significant at the start don’t they?) and other times there are ups and downs from the very beginning. Sometimes we hang in there and try to see if it (whatever “it” actually is) will work, other times we hang in the towel and then wonder whether we could have or should have tried just a little bit harder. Human emotions and relationships are more fluid and complex than we’d like them to be. They can be outrageously fickle at times, amazingly focused, erratic, emphatic, self-absorbed, passionate, warm, cold and anything inbetween. This uncertainty has not yet stopped us from jumping in, sometimes feet first and sometimes more gradually, cautiously and guarded (mine are always feet or even head first!). So in and out we go…..and right back in….and, oh, there we go right out again!

Are you still with me? Now that we understand a little more about relationships (do we though, do we really?), let’s talk about how wonderfully they’re working out for us — because they are! Understand that each and every time your relationship comes to an end, you have gone through a process, long or short, learnt a few lessons, grown, changed, I would even go as far as to say that you have evolved and undergone an emotional metamorphosis that has made you who you are. Yes, as the relationship comes to an end you are overcome by grief, confusion, despair and possibly a sense of loss. When I work out, which I do quite regularly, the gym instructor puts me through a series of routines that are sometimes hard and take a lot of my focus and energy. At the end of the session, my muscles may feel a little sore but it is always the best thing that could have happened to them. Honestly, if they could talk they would thank me for what I’m doing to them. Guess what? your heart is a muscle! Maybe not quite the right analogy, but the point I’m trying to make is that you can only get better at relationships by being in relationships and flexing all your relational muscles. You’ll learn how far you can be stretched (innuendo intended if you fancy), what your sore points are, what you can and can’t offer, what you are and aren’t willing to receive and so on and so forth. Every single one of your relationships are therefore working just right.

Now, society (at least a large number of the societies most of us live in) will have you believe (erroneously) that your relationships aren’t working simply because they don’t last forever. Have you ever been asked by your smug married friends why your relationships aren’t “working” or whether you’re still single? I’ve often smiled to myself as I toyed with the idea of sweetly asking, “You mean you’re still married?”….alas, my sense of humour can sometimes be, er, unique…lol. The aim of a relationship is not always that it lasts forever. While every man you date may not end up being your Mr. Right, he will help to prepare you to be another guy’s Ms. Right and vice versa. If you decide to (and you really should make this decision), you will come out a better you because of your experience, whether good, bad, bittersweet or all of the above.

Most of us are looking forward to meeting the one with whom forever won’t even be long enough. What we need to remind ourselves (easier said than done) is that people will come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. We may have a fixed idea of what role we want them to play in our lives but they may be unwilling or unable to play that role at the time we want them to. Important point to note here is that we live in the here and now; if someone is not where you are now there is no guarantee that the two of you will be at the same point later on. A guy (or a girl) may have immense potential (whatever that means) but you can only relate to the person in front of you today. I don’t know about you but I’ve never quite been able to get that time travel thing under my belt….I digress though, let’s get back to the point.

We sometimes forget the importance of the reason and the season. Let me use another exercise related analogy: when I’m preparing for a marathon, I’ll train weeks in advance — I’ll run short and long distances, have sessions in the gym, run through the woods. All of these “mini events”, so to speak, have a reason and a season but they are not the big main event. Does this mean I’m not enjoying them? That I’m not improving on my fitness? That I’m not having fun while in the process? Not at all. That they are not the main event should not lead us to the conclusion that they don’t “work”. If anything, it would be foolhardy to wake up one day and tackle a half or a full (working up towards that) marathon without having run all the other events…..each and every session has worked as it should for that particular time and season.

So the next time one of your relationships comes to a screeching and oh so abrupt halt, understand that this is part of your growth — you’ve learnt more about yourself, another person and people in general and you’ve enjoyed (at least some of it?) the relationship. Alas, it has run it’s course and allowed you to blossom; the discomfort of the small, tight cocoon was essential in enabling your metamorphosis into the beautiful butterfly that you are…..I’ve never seen a butterfly run a marathon but let’s just agree that your relationships are working to keep you relationship fit, healthy and ready for your big event whenever you’re ready to sign up for it! Remeber, your heart is a muscle so enjoy your workouts because they are working just right for you!

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