To stay or not to stay
There is a struggle inherent in many love relationships. It is a struggle for dominance, to decide who will be in charge.
During the courtship, there is a delicious mutual attraction of mind and body, and a feeling of having met that special person who completes us. But it doesn’t last. Eventually there is friction when one asks or demands, and the other doesn’t like being bossed around or disagrees. Sometimes it gets nasty, with increasingly angry and bitter dialogues. For others, it is a gradual drifting away until there is nothing left.
Sadly, for all too many the outcome is a separation and divorce. Some then start over with some other true love who will supply what was missing the last time. Yet often, instead of finding that the grass is greener on the other side, we discover the same old conflicts and problems have followed us into the new situation. As so many have learned, no matter where you go, there you are, and when it comes to relationships, we repeat our old patterns in new settings with new partners.
Having lived through decades of commitment with all of its joy and strife, my counsel would be to stay the course if possible. There is depth and breadth of devotion and allegiance based on a foundation of love having grown familiar over time, especially when there are children in the mix. The best gift sometimes is to stay together and give the children a happy childhood.
If you realize you both have moved into other unrelated worlds and don’t have much to talk about anymore, start with basic respect. Communicate, be transparent, let the other know about the path you are embarking on, and try to understand and even embrace the new path they may be taking as well. Be aware, focused, and listen to their thoughts, even when they are “volcanoing” through one issue after another. Process it; wait a while without instantly reacting. When it comes to personal preferences, it’s not a debate, and conflict is not a productive option.
You may end up hitting a fork in the road with that “forever someone” who becomes a “once upon a time someone.” It’s good to remember that swell of innocent, mutual liking that eventually transformed into a loving bond. Hopefully, you can handle your stage left exit in a noble manner, gracefully and without acrimony. It can be a split with memories to be cherished of a past delightful partnership, as you both move on in peace to the next phase of your journeys.
Patrick J. Wood