A few weeks, I was laying in bed thinking about relationships; romantic relationships, friendships, and relationships with family. I had just finished reading Geraldine DeRuiter’s memoir (seriously, probably one of my top 5 books right now) and she did a beautiful job describing her relationship with her husband. The ups and the downs and even the point just 4 years into her marriage when she thought it was over, but really they were just going through a rough patch. She could not imagine her life without her husband, they were just struggling.
I was thinking about the evolution of relationships. I was thinking back to brunch with two of my oldest friends. We met up a few weeks ago and it was wonderful and I loved every second of it. However, I did notice that I had to adjust my thinking from time to time. We would fall back into old conversations that we had been having for the past 7 years. I remained silent during these parts of the conversation because I realized I just couldn’t contribute anymore. And you know what? It was ok. I just silently listened and enjoyed being present with my friends. In the past, I probably would have gotten irritated announced loudly that we’d already had this conversation 100 times over the past 7-10 years and ask to switch subjects. Never acknowledging the fact that, if they want to have this conversation again it’s probably still relevant and they possibly still need to talk about those topics. Just because I have changed in those areas doesn’t mean they have and I should not take that from them.
Here was my other revelation, in the past I would have written it off as a loss. “Well, we clearly have nothing in common anymore, guess we aren’t friends.” I used to be terrible about cutting people out of my life. Now some may argue that you need to do that from time to time and I agree, but the frequency in which I did it was not good.
Regarding romantic relationships, there have been moments where I have wondered if I ended a relationship too soon or if I did it for the right reason. In my adult life, I usually find that I did it for the right reason. It is tricky navigating relationships when you hit that rough patch. It’s hard to decide if that annoying thing about your significant other is a deal breaker or just something irritating you because of another issue you need to work on. As humans, there will be moments of conflict with the people we love and when spending enough time with them, not to mention living with them, they will find new and interesting ways to drive you up a fucking wall. I personally think, (and we all know I’m no relationships expert) is that you have to take the time to breathe and figure out what you are truly feeling about the situation. I’m the queen of “sleeping on it.” I think after a number of failed relationships I have gotten better about listening to my own instincts on whether it’s time to walk away or not. This has been the most important lesson from my “failed” relationships.
You have to know when it’s time to let go and when you’re just going through a rough patch. When you need to put in a little extra work and figure out how to salvage it. Or even better, realizing that you’ve grown into slightly different, better people that you now have to get to know.
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