We all assume that when love is real, it will last through the ages. It’s a beautiful idea and sentiment that we comfort ourselves with, in the hope that we will one day have that magical bliss.
The possibility that genuine love may come to an end after only a few weeks or a few years or any time before the death of one of the partners seems like a failure that will be ‘someone’s fault.’
We just can’t trust the idea that a relationship that was heartfelt, deep, and significant could be limited by time, without guilt and with all fairness.
It is not to feel silly or stupid for wanting to believe in such an idea of a life-long love story. We value this concept for good reasons. There are many great pleasures to be had and goodness to be enveloped in once a relationship gets to the point that trust is truly established and loyalty fully demonstrated.
When two people know it is forever:
They will put the relationship before anything else.
They will accept that some undesirable problems will have to be confronted.
They will truly try to understand the other person’s mysterious mind.
They will be more open with kindness and vulnerability they wouldn’t normally show.
They will learn to apologize.
They will be more willing to admit their own faults.
They will grow up.
They will get to taste the small day-to-day pleasures however modest in size.
They will enjoy cozy Sunday evenings and walks in the park.
And if you have children, they will benefit the most from parents that manage these things.
The benefits of long-term love are quite clear. We aren’t here to say it is all a lie that should be hated. We are here to add another perspective to the mix of what love can be.
Short-term love doesn’t have to mean a long-term love that was grossly aborted. It can stand on its own merit, with its own virtues.
So many things can be correct with short-term love:
When two people don’t ‘belong’ to each other, they will do their best to always try to earn the other’s respect. Yes, that means there will be insecurity in the relationship, but that may not be a bad thing.
When we don’t plan on a forever love, we can more easily let our differences fall to the side. When we see a long journey ahead of us, it becomes more crucial for our minds and spirits to align. When we see our time as short, we don’t feel threatened by how crazy a person is or the disagreements we may have about life: TV shows, past relationships, taste in food, etc.
I can’t imagine any of us will come out looking splendid and lovely if we are watched 24/7 in a small space. The other person will just not always see the best of us that way. In order for us to show our best sides, we may need private space and time to blankly stare out the window as we eat a bowl of cereal and to think about how we feel without having to explain it. It isn’t a sign of evil to need some space, it is just something we need to get back to the best version of ourselves.
The problem isn’t the people in the relationship despite how clearly that may seem to us at the time. It is what we expect and do with our relationships that make them difficult. That doom us to despair. Asking someone to marry you isn’t really a nice thing to do, however romantic it is. Marriage puts the person you love into a plethora of nasty and demanding things. If love is to wish the best for someone, maybe that should just mean a few nice months together and then kindly parting ways before the more real and dark side can be seen.
Long-term relationships reward us with some long-term qualities but may hide others. The ability to have long conversations into the early morning hours about morals and outer space may get lost in a long-term relationship, whereas they would shine like a bright, lone star in a short-term affair. Some people just may not be able to shine that bright in an environment of long-term love. By letting them go before you start arranging the kitchen together could be the best thing for both.
As with most things in life, love doesn’t have to last forever to have had meaning. We can finish that novel, and yes, be disappointed the story is over wishing for just one more page, one more chapter. However, we also can understand it came to its end the way it was intended.
We should be able to see that for some of us, long-term love isn’t always the best option. Perhaps it is because it is just not the right person that we don’t feel it is the right thing for us. It is perhaps the right person for that time and for a short period of time. With this in mind, we should try to see that ending a relationship may not be wrong or savage. It was just the right length for this particular story.
A lot of the reason we see the ending of a relationship as a failure is that society has told us that ‘forever love’ is normal. Yet, if we have the ability to see that short-term love can show loyalty by forever maintaining a sense of appreciation and admiration for what was shared for a time, we can walk away with a feeling that it was honest and unselfish. By ending things at the right time, we may be able to preserve the relationship in a way that forcing it to last forever never could.