Last night my book club met to discuss the book The Girl on The Train. As with most gatherings that take place at our house, the discussion quickly derailed into romance and sexuality. It got me thinking a lot about something that a lot of people I know have experienced. Realizing your relationship is completely and utterly over with the assistance of seeing something more bright and beautiful.
My brilliant friend D compared it to finding work. To paraphrase: you’re working a job and it’s not bad, it’s pretty good, you’re doing it, you feel pretty lucky, you’re comfortable in the day to day, you can see you’re moving forward… if not at least comfortably stagnant. Then one day you see a job offering for your dream job and it puts your current job into context. My job doesn’t make me happy, why am I still here?
Our culture encourages us to work hard on our relationships and to find the one relationship. If our relationships end, we’re told that they have failed somehow. That kind of pressure to find happiness in a relationship that is no longer functional can encourage couples to stay together because it’s supposed to suck sometimes.
We need to begin to differentiate between the real hard work, the struggles, and the off-and-on discontentments of long term relationships and the actual reality that some relationships are just tapped-the-fuck-out. That’s a very personal and individual struggle that will be different for everyone.
It shouldn’t take seeing a brighter and better future for ourselves to realize we deserve that brighter and better future.