We’re usually giddy at the idea of a relationship progressing. The longer it lasts, the deeper it implants its roots – and we like roots. But while you’re happily marking your calendar at the years passing, you’re not realizing that the seemingly admirable duration of your relationship…can actually affect your decision making – in a bad way. So when it comes time to plan for tomorrow, should your history dictate your future?
When Things Are Shit – but You've Been Together for so Long
You feel like you owe your partner something by staying because of everything you’ve gone through together – even if you’re completely miserable.
The ugly truth? That loyalty you’re feeling towards the relationship isn’t going to solve your problems. The fact that he stood by your death bed two years ago isn’t going to change the fact you no longer like making love. Try stepping out of your guilt and see the situation for what it is: you’re unhappy, you’ve tried to mend it, and it hasn’t worked. The past won’t come to your rescue. It’s over.
When You're Broken up – but You Were Together for so Long
“But how am I supposed to just move on? He was 8 years of my life!”
I get it, it’s complicated. I get that it’s hard to consider a tomorrow when all you know is full of yesterdays. It’s hard waking up and suddenly being faced with a strange future you never thought existed: one without your ex.
Unfortunately, this is how everyone feels after a break up. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together; the history only slightly tweaks the intensity. The truth is, you’re afraid of moving on and you’re using your history as a shield of protection. What you don’t realize is, the shield is actually a target. When you rely on something as unsteady as your history, you’re actually attracting pain and delusional thinking.
When You're Together & Bored – but You've Been Together for so Long
This is a fun one. I got an email a few weeks ago from a wonderfully sweet reader who has been with her damn near perfect boyfriend for 8 years – but she’s only 23. She felt guilty about wanting to see other people and about wanting to explore the world. I’m pretty sure I told her to go have an orgy - and if I forgot to, I hope she reads this.
Having a perfect boyfriend is something many, many women dream about on a constant basis – those attached and unattached, alike. Unfortunately, it’s hardly ever enough. You know why? Because relationships aren’t only about the perfect mate; they’re also about the perfect you. And if you can’t find balance and a steady road to self discovery along the way, what’s the point?
So does the fact that you’ve been together for a long time mean the relationship deserves a second thought? (Perhaps one that lasts longer than a one night stand?) Absolutely. But should it dictate your every decision? Heck no.
History is but a mere piece of decoration; strip it to see what your relationship really looks like. (It’s likely to resemble something pretty unpleasant, like Jack Nicholson’s bare ass). Be brave and abandon ship; specially when, deep down, you know it's the right thing to do. History is not a valid reason to devote your life to unhappiness. Because regardless of the state of your relationship, be it joyous or a complete trainwreck, you have to live it.
If you’re not happy, what the fuck is the point? So that you sleep better at night, knowing that you’ve fulfilled your duties as a long-term partner?
I know you think you’re doing your partner a favor by staying (or in the second scenario, you’re doing him a favor by hanging on) but the truth is you’re actually kind of hurting him more. You’re being dishonest and, in a way, a little disrespectful. Just like you deserve to drop the guilt and live a life of happiness, your partner deserves to be with someone who isn’t sticking around because you’ve been together for so long.
Have you ever allowed your past to dictate your future?
Image Credit: Shutterstock