GRADE LOVE ON THE CURVE: RETHINKING “FOREVER OR FAILURE”

As you can clearly see, the clip art for this piece features some extreme curves.  It may be tough but try to focus on the higher message that is coming through.  As eye-catching, attention-commanding and awe-inspiring as those curves may be, they are a visual metaphor for love itself.  Consuming, impactful, and alluring in every individual case, the most important characteristic of love is its uniqueness to each relationship it blesses.  Just like these women that are featured here all have their very own special value to offer, so too does love remix its nuances every single time it shows up anywhere.  No two loves are the same and we should resist the temptation to assume that what is true for one is true for any other.  That is a maddening reality but a reality nonetheless.

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Even though it looks like there are general rules to how people relate (telling people about those general rules is a multi-billion dollar industry), we always have to account for the “x” factor in the relationship.  That’s the unique character of the love that exists between two people that may not make sense to anybody else but them.  Of course, if your girlfriend insists on broadcasting to you every time her man comes to bed with a condom still on his joint from a night of far-flung debauchery, you are being invited to weigh in and opine.  So have at it.  Just don’t be surprised when she is back in the bed with him three days later saying to you “well at least I know he was practicing safe sex.

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You wonder how she can do it, why she does it, and you shout from the rooftops that you could NEVER do it, but none of that matters because its about her and her man- as lazy, crazy and worthless as he may be.  Love makes things happen and makes us do crazy things.  And what works for one couple may be entirely meaningless to another.

Based on the foregoing, I encourage us all to rethink love along those lines. Specifically, it may be time to rethink how we regard and characterize marriages and relationships when they have reached their end.  So it turned out not to be “til death do us part” after all.  It turned out to be “til we grow apart do us part” instead.  We have been heavily conditioned in our society to regard a romantic engagement that ends in anything less than a tearful good-bye at a grave site as a failure- with an aftermath to match.  We have a “forever or failure” mentality that really does not serve us well.

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Right now, this is about how we see the end of a relationship:

The general expectation is that the newly single (at least one of them anyway) will feel broken and betrayed and have to battle not to be depressed, despondent, and disaffected.  Feelings of bitterness and hostility will be palpable in both- regardless of who did what to whom.  Guilt and regret will drive one or both of them nuts.  The sense of loss lasts for years afterward.  The result is some bad and potentially destructive behavior; much of it damaging the foundation for future healthy relationships- all played out in the name of moving on with life.  Rinse and repeat. The end.

That is the sad narrative that we have settled on and been investing in for as far back as we have been reading books, watching movies, or talking too much at happy hour about our personal problems.  And we need to stop because it simply does not have to be that way.  I pressed the point up front that every relationship is unique but the parties involved make it what it is.  So if the parties to a relationship decide that the ending that they have come to is not going to feature any of that negativity it does not have to.  It can be a different experience altogether.

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And if about half of all marriages wind up in divorce, it would behoove us all to consider adjusting how we judge success or failure because we are setting us up to feel like failures.  Or even worse we are setting ourselves up to feel compelled to place blame for failure on somebody who then becomes persona non grata in a life they were once at the center of.  In short, we should start grading love on the curve- the amazing curves that love can take that can’t fit neatly on a flat scale.  And honestly, would we even want it to?

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When a relationship ends, is it a failure if both parties are better people than they were when it began?  Was the relationship a failure if the couple accomplished things together that they may not have accomplished separately?  Was it a failure if you have a greater sense of who you are as an individual and are better positioned to fully self-actualize than you were in the beginning?  Has your view of the world and of yourself expanded in a positive and meaningful way?  Was it a failure if you are glad that you shared a part of your life’s journey with somebody even when it is time for you to take different paths?  Of course the devil is ALWAYS in the details and- again- it always comes down to how the “x” factor plays into the dynamic but it is certainly something to think about.

If you’ve visited TPP since we launched you know I have a great appreciation for the artistry of rock star Lenny Kravitz.  My admiration extends beyond the music and extends to some of the views on life dude has expressed.  Listen to a few albums and you will see that Lenny is the true and singular heir to Prince’s role as our “Funk Philosopher.”  When his daughter Zoe became a star actress and model a few years ago he started getting interviewed a lot and I happened to learn from some interviews that one of his very best friends in the world is his ex-wife, Lisa Bonet.  In fact, for this trio, the rock-solid bond of friendship is the foundation of absolutley everything.

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They have both moved on and have had several relationships since their parting but their friendship has endured because the fundamentals of their relationship supported it.  I see that as a standard to aspire to as I think we’d all be better off were that the rule rather than the exception.  It boils down to this:

The love, respect and admiration that it takes to have an enduring friendship simply outlasted the devotion and synergy that it takes to sustain a marriage. The passing of the marriage did not have to precede a passing of the friendship.  

That dynamic is driven by inclusive energies and reflects an elevated perspective on life that is of course (wait for it…) unique to the individuals and the love between them.

This is just one man’s perspective on the most complex issue known to humankind but I think it has legs and can be of great help to a lot of us.  My own life experience has shown me in painfully bright and living color how much better it is to be like Lenny and Lisa than to be just another emotional or bitter trainwreck on the tracks of life.  If this is a reality that is within your grasp I encourage you to reach for it.  If it ain’t, it just ain’t and that’s cool too.  You’ll figure out what works for you and how much and what kind of weight you want to carry after you exit a love-engagement.

It is just clear to me that having 50% of us who take the leap into marriage set up to feel like we have been broadsided by a tractor-trailer when it ends is unnecessary and unhealthy and it would be VERY cool if we evolved past that.  For our own good, we should appreciate all the amazing curves of love- the unique twists and turns and even the upside down loops- as long as we make sure that we are moving in an energy and in a direction that leaves us whole and happy with who we are if and when that particular ride comes to an end.  Because until we really are done and that grave-site scene manifests into reality, we’ve got living to do and living is just better unburdened by bitterness.  Here’s to hoping that realization can help somebody out there nearly as much as it has helped me.

∞ Thanks 4 checking in-  Do your thing 2day & I’ll see you 2morrow π

 

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