Do Relationships Have Expiration Dates?
There is a saying – relationships are here for a season, reason or lifetime. The challenge at times is figuring out which one you’re in at the time! I truly believe that the 3 types of relationships apply to all relationships- not just romantic. I also believe that taking action is the hardest part when you realize it’s a season and not a lifetime.
We all can look back in our lives and see relationships that served their purpose and then were done. Friendships or romantic relationships- some just aren’t meant for the long haul. The toughest part for me to navigate in past romantic relationships was leaving when I realized the sun had set on the relationship.
As with any marriage, I got married with the intention that it was for a lifetime. I believed in the fairy tale and happily ever after. I also didn’t realize that I was marrying into addiction and emotional abusive.
The marriage hit rock bottom 7 years in. Did I leave? Nope. Despite everything that had happened, I felt guilty for wanting to leave. Maybe it was my messed up faith, past, or upbringing- but a huge part of me felt that it was wrong to leave no matter the circumstances. The ironic part is that my conservative faith based family told me to leave!
My unjustified guilt and years of emotional abuse had taken its toll, so I stayed. I stayed for 9 more years. There may have been good times during that expired period – but overall it wasn’t a healthy relationship.
Decisions have consequences and staying too long had a price. The price was that I lost my joy, peace and self-worth.
What I have since learned is that staying past the expiration date of any relationship is a fast pass to pain. You think at the time that leaving is the most painful decision you could make. I disagree- staying in an unhealthy relationship is the most pain I’ve ever felt.
You are the only one who knows if your relationship has hit the end. I will also say that bumps in the road – tough seasons- doesn’t mean a relationship is done. Lifetime relationships can have hardships and usually do. An expiration date flashing before you and a tough season are very different things.
The easiest way that I can explain the difference is the sense of peace. I remember ending a short relationship after my divorce and feeling a quick peace. Sometimes the peace is immediate and sometimes it takes a while- but for me that peaceful feeling lets me know I made the right choice.
Today the expired relationships and newfound peace have lead me to feeling confidant in my decisions. They also lead me to my lifetime person. For the first time in my entire life I have no doubts or anxiety. All I have is peace. That is a huge change for me! Growth wasn’t easy, but I also wouldn’t change the journey if it brought me to today.