After attacking the social network scene yesterday, I thought it may be a good time to talk about relationships between people. Now I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, but all kinds. The dictionary describes a relationship as the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
I believe a relationship can be as simple as striking up a conversation with someone in an elevator to pass the minute or two before the doors open, or as complex as a forty year long marriage. Of course not all relationships are meant to be long lasting, and that’s when they break down.
Each and every connection between people serves a purpose to both parties. No one hangs out with someone just because. When there is no longer a reason to stay connected, each person continues on their own way and the relationship is over. It’s easy to understand and accept this with a short term relationship such as the elevator scenario but what about a longer lasting relationship such as a friendship.
Well it’s just as simple really. If you and your best friend, for example, are both getting something from the relationship, weather it be someone to confide in, or someone to go out and have fun with, or whatever the reason is that you are friends, then the relationship will last and thrive. But what if life takes you down one path and your friend down another? As you both have different experiences and learn and grow, you may find that you are becoming different people (of course you’ll probably think that it’s your friend who has changed and not you…) This is what is called growing apart and it can happen with any relationship, long or short.
I think a great many people feel that to grow apart is a bad thing, when actually it’s just a natural part of life. It really is almost impossibly difficult for two people to grow as human beings at the same rate and in the same way. If, for instance, you have a lot of life experiences, yet your friend rarely does anything new or different, you may find yourself feeling that you have outgrown him or her or vise-versa. Al of this is a natural part of having relationships.
The problems begin when you go against the natural way of things and try to force a relationship when it has actually reached it’s conclusion. For some reason people feel the need to hang on to things. Maybe it’s out of a fear of change or some other deep psychological reason. Married people, for instance, quite often try and force the relationship to stay together because of a sense of commitment. Let’s face it, they promised they would stay together when they got married.
Trying to force a relationship, when it’s not meant to be, can put an enormous strain on all involved. Things will start off small, maybe you start finding something that your friend does irritating, or you realise that there’s something you never really liked about your partner. Things can only escalate from there and it wont be long before everything about them starts to annoy you. Once this happen the relationship is in a very dangerous place. It can become volatile and explode at any minute. If this happens it usually irreparable.
And yet some people still try to force it to work. No amount of will power can make a relationship work once the reason for the relationship no longer exists. The relationship is over. If you still try and persist, the universe will eventually kick in to gear and throw something at you to guarantee separation. This is never usually a good thing and can come in many forms. Health issues, accidents, or any number of other so called random acts.
The key to having good relationships is to be able to recognise early on, the reason for the relationship. Why are you friends? Why are you lovers? What draws you to that person? Why are you connected? Answer this basic question and you can recognise when the relationship is coming to an end. Of course a relationship can grow and evolve too. When one reason for having a relationship is coming to an end, you may find another reason or you may be so connected that you have a number of reasons all at once. If two people can grow together and maintain a healthy relationship, it can be a wonderful thing.
I know with my relationships, I can usually recognise when they are coming to an end. When this happens I’ll begin to pull away from the other person. I’ve found this to be the least destructive way of ending a relationship. Basically just drifting apart and never trying to force it. A number of people and friends I have done this with, have actually returned to my life at a later date and a new relationship is developed, with a new reason for being. Of course this probably isn’t going to happen if you end the relationship on bad terms. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance you’ll end up hating each other and never reconcile.
In fact some of my closest friends today are friends I allowed to drift away in the past, now that we have reconnected, our relationships are deeper and stronger than ever. It’s amazing how ending a relationship on good terms can come back to reward you in the future.