Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a romantic endeavor you thought was going great suddenly, abruptly went south without a warning or an identifiable reason? Whether you’re in the early stages of courting and thought you were heading toward a commitment or whether you’ve been together for years and thought you were headed toward forever, we’ve all had our share of relationships that somehow seemed to fizzle just when things were getting good. Today, I want to take a look at a few points at which a relationship might end and offer an alternative perspective to burying the love.
Scene 1: Ladies, this one’s for you:
You and the latest guy to catch your eye are kicking it. Things have been going well, he’s taken you out a number of times on some thoroughly enjoyable dates. He’s attractive, smart, funny, demanding in a way that’s inspiring, he gets along well with your friends and knows how to turn on his inner Raheem Devaughn when the lights go out. After about six months or so, your feelings seem like they’re changing. You don’t know why but everything he does seems to annoy you, everything he says seems to angers you, and every decision he makes feels like the wrong one. You start questioning his intentions and his desires – before you know it, you’re losing sight of whatever it was that attracted you to him in the first place. The changes you’re going through aren’t lost on him and inevitably, you guys begin to distance yourselves from one another till whatever it is you had is no more.
Scene 2: Fellas, this one’s all yours:
You and your girlfriend have been together for few years. You’ve had your two or three big arguments and come through them stronger than you were before them. Your families and circle of friends are slowly but surely starting to intertwine and neither of you are afraid to think or talk about your long term future together. But, inside, something is changing. Lazy Saturday afternoons hugged up on the couch watching movies on Netflix now seem completely and utterly boring. You’re finding yourself getting a little more antsy. Suddenly, the night life your friends are immersed in, which never really appealed to you, seems like the most appealing thing you can possibly imagine. On top of that, there’s the shorty at work who you somehow have found yourself taking every lunch with and having full day conversations with over email. You see what’s happening, and you’re not the kinda guy to step out on his woman, so – you do what any man would do … ask for some space and that turns out to be the beginning of the end.
Sometimes, relationships like this end because they’re supposed to end. Sometimes, things just run their course and that’s that. But sometimes – that’s not the case. Sometimes those relationships don’t need to end, but instead need to be challenged so that they can grow and mature. In the first situation, it could be that the two people have realized they’re not as compatible as they initially thought, or they may just need to take that next step and move forward from the less than lovers/ more than friends place they’re in now into a full blown relationship. In the second scenario, maybe they haven’t gone as far as they can go – maybe it’s time to take that next step and get engaged. It’s very possible to get too good at a particular stage in a relationship. When you’ve learned every thing there is to learn about a person it’s natural for that person to become a little less exciting and intriguing. The only way to discover new things about who they are is to enter into new circumstances and situations with them.
The question becomes, how do you know whether or not a relationship has run its course, or whether it’s time to take that next step. This can be a bit difficult. One of the things to consider are the fundamentals of the relationship. When the two of you look out into the future are you still seeing the same things? Are there any major deal-breaking issues present where you guys aren’t in agreement? If you can take a moment to step outside of your situation and look at the relationship objectively, if everything seems like it should be working, but you’re both still having all these issues it may be time advance your relationship.
“But, I Can’t Force Him To Commit”
In scenario one, I’m sure that’s what the ladies are thinking. What are you to do when, in your mind, it’s clear that the relationship has stalled because it has exceeded the expiration date of it’s current stage, but the guy in question seems to be dragging his feet? In that situation you have more power than you think. The choice is still yours. You have to choose whether or not you’re willing to continue on as you have, hoping he’ll eventually make the move, or you can take a step back. Stepping back in these sorts of situations goes a long way toward giving a man clarity. When a woman who’s company we enjoy pulls away, it gives us the opportunity to see whether or not she is someone we want in our lives or whether she is someone we need in our lives. Don’t be afraid to take a step back. It takes discipline, courage, and a great deal of self-confidence; and while you may not get the answer you want, chances are, it’ll be the right answer.
“But I’m Not Sure I’m Ready To Get Engaged”
I know this is what the fellas are thinking at the end of scene 2. What are you to do when you’ve built the perfect relationship with the perfect woman, but it’s clear that you’ve outgrown the boyfriend/girlfriend stage. The first thing you have to realize is that you’re at a tipping point. You need to accept the fact that there are only three places your relationship can go that point. You can break up right then and go your separate ways. You can continue on as you are which usually just means waiting till someone does something egregious and the relationship ends on bad terms. Or, you can get engaged. Accept the fact that there really are no other options when your relationship hits this point; acknowledging it will go a long way in making your decision easier.
Maturity doesn’t always happen in places of comfort, it often takes the arguments and stresses that come with new circumstances to bring out your relationship’s true potential. You start out dating, and when dating gets boring and you can predict the movie she wants to see, or the restaurant he wants to go to, maybe it’s time you try a committed relationship together. After being boyfriend/girlfriend for a while, you’ll begin to settle into a routine and before you know, you’ll have your next six Fridays all planned out. Then you get engaged, and at first, as you’re planning the wedding and the rest of your life together, you’ll find yourself having some of the worst arguments you’ve had in the history of your relationship. You start to wonder whether or not this is meant to be, you might even consider calling it quits. Still, after awhile, you learn how to deal with each other, how to manage each other’s expectations and how you need to be for each other. Then you get married. Getting good at marriage takes a while, maybe years, but once you do … well … then you find yourself writing blog posts with tittles like “Five Things About Women I’ll Teach My Son,” and “Five Things About Men I’ll Teach My Daughter.” Then you have kids, and that provides decades upon decades of excitement and adventure … at least … I imagine that’s how it works… lol.
What about you all? Have you had relationships end abruptly and without reason? When you look back on them, did they really all just run their course, or is it possible they might have flourished if pushed further? Are you sitting right in the middle of one of the situations above? Have you figured out how you’re going to proceed? For those of you in relationships, has your relationship hit points where you thought it might be over? How did you work through those? As always, let us know in the comments.