Monday, February 20, 2012

Modern relationships: Are they supposed to be "forever?"

Right after I got divorced, I met this guy and for a while we became pretty good friends.  He had a view on relationships that was radically different than my own and I have to admit I was both intrigued and a little put-off by his stance.

What he believed was that humans are not supposed to have one partner forever and that trying to fit into that archaic model is what causes a lot of problems in the world today.  His reasoning was that lifetime marriage was invented at a time when (a) people died at a much younger age and (b) life was physically a lot harder so it literally took a family (the larger the better) to take care of the necessities.  He also believed in playing the field - a lot - because he said you can't know what you want in a partnership until you try lots of models. 

I'm not going to get into the rightness or wrongness of his thinking because it doesn't matter.  That's what he believed and that's how he lived and though I sensed he wasn't as happy as he let on I have to admit he sure seemed to have a lot more fun than me.

Anyway, fast forward to the present.  I ran into him about a week ago and it was nice to catch up a little.  He asked me about my search for "Mr. Right," and I told him where I'm at with that, and then I asked if he's still out "dazzling women with his charm and prowess."  Yeah he said that once so I had to throw it back at him :)

Well he grins at me sheepishly as he tells me he has a sweet woman and he's very much in love and plans to stay with her forever.  Forever?  Who is this man?!!!  Yup, apparently monogamy is alive and well in the world of this former playboy and words like commitment and forever are now a part of his everyday vocabulary and a staple in his life.

At first glance you might think he found his soul mate and she totally changed his outlook.  And that could be.  But I suspect it's the other way around.  I think something in him changed until he was finally open to someone he could be with for the duration.

But I also think that in another 5 years he may be calling me to tell me he's on the market again.  Oh I hope not but one thing I've realized is that no matter what we want to believe circumstances change, beliefs shift, and people come in and out of our lives.

Which is why I don't believe in "forever" anymore.   Yes, I believe in long term, commitment, monogamy, and perhaps even marriage in some circumstances.  But I know also know that I need to hold my beloved with an open hand and appreciate the time we have forever because - well because it may not be forever.

Thoughts anyone?

5 comments:

  1. Forever is a long time, even with the best of relationships! I have been with my husband for 13 years and I have never done anything with anyone that long before.
    You don't know what the future holds, you just jump off the cliff (or over the broom!) together and hope for the best.
    I hope you find someone worthy of you soon!!!

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  2. We've already established that when you die in 150 years or so I'm going to marry your husband and together we'll be so boring that God himself will fall asleep :-)

    Hey... at least I have a plan!

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  3. Interesting topic.......even the best intentions can go awry.....when I married, I actually thought it WAS going to be forever! And for 3 decades plus it sure looked like it would be.....but then, out of the blue one day, a life changing announcement from a doctor threw a wrench in things and 86 days later I found myself alone......nothing is forever, nothing is permanent, nothing is "for sure"......

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  4. Hi John, My forever lasted only half as long as yours and I completely agree with you.

    What fascinated me about my friend is that he made a conscious choice to see relationships as short term and definitely not forever and now he's changed his mind.

    Another woman I know puts on a lecture series entitled "don't get married, get a 5 year contract," because she believes that's about the duration of most modern relationships. It's a paradigm shift and one that, while interesting, is not something I particularly like participating in.

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  5. @ John - every time I hear your story my heart breaks. Time heals all wounds, perhaps, but gosh darn it some of 'em just need more time than others. Love and big, big hugZ to you my friend.

    @ Maria - you could come on over to my view of future relationships with men.... been there done that, done. :)

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