Hump Day Crush: Transitions

It has been said that the only constant is change.

If that is true of life in general then it is doubly true when it comes to our relationships.

Contrary to the over-arching romantic notion of there only being one person out there for you, experience has shown me that, while at any given time that may be true, over the course of a lifetime (or even a decade) it is most definitey false.

And, if you think about it for a moment, that’s exactly how it should be.

If we are constantly growing and changing, why should our taste in partners stay he same? If we’re already in a romantic relationship, and we are growing at a different rate (or different direction) than our partner, why should that relationship not change? Are you the same person you were ten years ago? Five years ago? One year ago? You may not even be the same person you were when you got up this morning when you go to bed at night.

There are a near infinite number of things that can change us and change us deeply. Even the relationship itself can change us. As we interact more with our significant other, as we see ourselves through his or her eyes and gain better focus on them through our own, we can’t help but change. At least, as long as we’re being honest with ourselves about what we’re seeing. It’s not always a pretty picture.

With change such a prevalent thing in our lives, it never ceases to amaze me how horribly trained we are to deal with it in some areas of our lives. Relationships are probably the most troublesome and easiest to cite as an example. Yet we all–myself included–fall into the same traps again and again and again.

We fall for someone. If we’re lucky, we get into a romantic relationship with them. But, more often than not, that romance runs its course and the relationship comes to an end. Sometimes that end is amicable, sometimes it is not. But the simple fact of the matter is that the majority of the romantic relationships you get into are going to end sooner or later.

And yet, we are always shocked, dismayed and hurt when they do.

Emotions are funny like that. Love is funny like that. It is a self-referential oxymoron that brings us, if we’re lucky, a slightly larger amount of pleasure than it does pain. Or at least that’s how it seems until you dig a bit deeper into the root causes of that suffering.

When you get beyond the initial shock and remove your own bruised ego from the equation (after all, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into that now defunct relationship, you must have done something wrong, right? No.) we’re the ones inflicting that pain on ourselves. Love is just an easy scapegoat.

Romantic love is especially fickle. What makes us all hot and heavy one year, may make us squirm in a completely different way come next year. Why? Because we change as people. Our tastes change. Our ways of thinking change. The expressions of our Love should, logically, change with those other things. And they do. But we rarely accept that as the reality it is.

Instead, we fight it. We hold tightly to something that we should be letting go of. We cling to the illusion of unchanging permanence when what we should be doing is embracing the beauty of an enduring Love that can change over time–that can be expressed in different ways as circumstances change.

We don’t realize that it’s OK to Love someone, but to not like them. That it’s OK to Love someone and be happy you are not with them. That it’s OK to let the romance die so the Love can live in a different form (like Friendship).

Every relationship happens to teach us something. Sometimes it’s something fun–like a new way to make your partner’s toes curl. Other times it’s something not so fun–like how to survive the breakup with the man you thought was The One.

The great myth in romance is that there is that One. What all the fairy tales and Harlequin books fail to mention, though, is that the template for The One is constantly in flux. They also often fail to note that the template is just a projection of ourselves. As long as we are growing and changing, so is the mold that The One will have to fit. If we’re lucky, we’ll fall in with someone who is changing in sync with our template. Nine times out of ten, though, he or she will fit for a little while and then get squeezed out.

And that leaves us feeling cheated. It leaves us feeling like the Universe is out to get us and that if we had just tried a little bit harder…

No. That is just the way the world works. People change and their relationships change with them. It is normal, it is natural and it is OK.

It’s also OK to feel cheated and that the Universe is out to get us and a little down on yourself. That’s human. Just don’t let those negative feelings trap you in a self-destructive spiral.

Transitions are never easy. They become even more difficult if you try to stop them from happening by holding on to illusions that you know to be illusions.

Love endures. It just changes the way it looks–the way it is expressed.

Let the transitions happen. Revel in them. It means you are alive. It means you and your partner (either current or former) are growing into the people you are meant to be.

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