YspeopleExplore tab

Are you facing a relationship breakup?


Thumb mystery man on the phone

About James

I have lived a lot of years and the more years I have lived, the fewer answers i have found. I hope that by engaging here we can discover some answers together.


These wise words may provide some strength and comfort during a painful time.

I remember licking my wounds over a cup of tea with a friend back in 2002. The main topic of discussion was my very fresh separation from a woman I had lived with for some eight years.

Parting ways with honour and dignity is something to aspire to.

Parting ways with honour and dignity is something to aspire to. Picture: Shutterstock

I recall starting the conversation by announcing: ''Well, I have fucked up again!'' My friend, an ex-girlfriend herself, responded: ''Of course, that is what you do''.

When I went on to explain that my relationship had drawn to a close, my friend asked: ''How is that fucking up?''

Upon questioning whether a successful relationship wasn't one that endured, my friend responded: ''But it did endure, eight years!''

She was, of course, right. For most of those eight years, my relationship was successful. In fact, based on how well we got on, how much fun we had and how infrequently we were at war, I would suggest that it was very successful.

But it did come to an end, which I viewed as a failure, and thus, a fuck up.

My friend didn't. She takes the view that every relationship has a life span and it's the quality of the relationship during that life span that is the measure of success. She also believes that managing a separation with a minimum of anxiety, with both parties still talking to each other, is in itself a success, and quite clearly it is.

While my previous partner and I were never married, the point I am making is no less valid in a defacto relationship than in a formal marriage.

If a relationship goes well, both parties enjoy it and appreciate, willingly or otherwise, that it has run its natural life. While there will be pain, there is also success.

Failure comes when the relationship, while it lasts, is unhappy, runs longer than it should (to the detriment of both parties), or they cannot part with honour and civility.

My relationship was a simple one. We didn't have children. That said, i would argue that while the needs of children should always come first, children are also not well-served in a household with unhappy parents, parents who stay together too long, or those who can't appreciate that the relationship is over and part with dignity.

This is not to say that a relationship should ever end without both parties giving it their best shot. But once it is clear that it's run its course, failure involves sticking with something that is not working to the detriment of all parties (including children).

Even if all parties understand that it is over and that it is in everyone’s best interests to part, there will still be emotional pain. In many cases, that pain will be extreme. But it will almost certainly be better managed if the relationship ends when it is over, and is not dragged out.

Marriage is seen as being for life and in my view, that is the outcome that all parties should aspire to. But life in 2018 is very different to life in 1950.

The environment we live in today comes with extremely different pressures than existed in 1950. There is also evidence that divorce rates in the '50s were so low because many women put up with poor relationships because they had no source of independent income, no job prospects, and a need for financial and practical support. This has changed a great deal since then.

I've never given a damn what the community thinks about me or my relationships. Frankly, I can't see that it is anyone’s business but mine. Hopefully more people are thinking like this, as the world opens up and religion dies a natural death. 

The point I am trying to make here is that the object of a relationship is happiness for both parties.

And it is best served when all parties make the most of the relationship, recognise when it is coming to an end (while retaining the notion of married for life), and then end it when it has run its course (at death, or at any time prior).

What do you think?

Banner 1
| Your rating
No ratings yet


Related stories

A class divided passport of the 80s.

My passport is a snapshot of an uglier time

 

You only have to look at my passport from the 1980s -- which lists me as black and bans me from travelling to South Africa --...

India Australia Politics Social Issues
Expand
7 days ago
(Love & Relationships)
Empty nesters, how did you celebrate winning your freedom back? Picture: Shutterstock.

Empty nesters, let's hear your stories

Alright all of you empty nesters, how did you celebrate your new-found freedom? Let's get a conversation started.

Community Property Relationships
Expand
14 days ago
(Love & Relationships)
Baby Joyce.

Marriage meltdown not Barnaby’s only failure

Our Deputy PM's moral protestations about our interest in his love life go directly to the character of the man.

Social Issues Relationships Australia Politics
Expand
18 days ago
(Love & Relationships)
Let's learn to hold on loosely.

Holding on loosely benefits everyone

Are you drowning others because you feel insecure and left behind? Here's what to do.

Community Health Relationships
Expand
20 days ago
(Love & Relationships)
Share your dating disaster stories with us.

Share your dating disaster stories here

We've all got them ... those hilarious disaster stories from our forays into the dating world. We'd love to hear yours.

Relationships Dating
Expand
20 days ago
(Love & Relationships)
Baby Boomer men are having more unsafe sex than their younger counterparts.

Why are many older men so stupid about sex?

Baby Boomers are much more likely to have unprotected sex than younger men. A recent experience rammed home the stupidity of...

Health Relationships
Expand
27 days ago
(Love & Relationships)
Don't accept being invisible in retirement.

Why women feel invisible in retirement

 

Retired and feeling invisible? Lacking in self-confidence? Here's what to do about it.

Relationships Health Ageing
Expand
28 days ago
(Love & Relationships)
My bees are busy creating beautiful honey.

Life lessons from the farm

It was at my rural retreat, far from the madding crowd, that I had an epiphany of sorts!

Community Philosophy Relationships
Expand
About 2 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
Marriage isn't always a fairytale (Image: Shutterstock).

The midlife marriage fairytale

Do we expect too much from our partners after decades of marriage?

Relationships Marriage Love
Expand
About 2 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
A Christmas indulgence!.

7 tips for transforming your next Christmas

So, just how stressed did you get this Christmas? Have you resolved to do it differently next time? If so, read on.

Planning Holidays Christmas
Expand
2 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
Trending stories
Don Bradman - number 2?.

The poet who beat Don Bradman to No.1

When it comes to great...

(Entertainment & Culture) 3 days ago
Top Indonesian chef Chandra Yudasswara will be cooking up a secret storm for Taste Great Southern.

Celebrity chef set for a Secret Affair in Great Southern

Take one of Indonesia's top...

(Epicure) About 1 month ago
Comedic actor Leslie Neilsen's grave stone is a beauty.

We're all just a little dash between two dates

But there are some who get...

(Entertainment & Culture) 4 days ago
Trickle-down economics my arse.

How big business is giving you the shaft

Are you battling to make...

(Money & Business) 5 days ago
When it comes to great bloggers you can connect with, this list has you covered.

20 mature bloggers worth following

Looking for Australian...

(Entertainment & Culture) 11 months ago
Weekly Poll
Haiku of the week
Mzozsn6uhmpeu1xeugbm
Photographic memories
G5udx6syeevxkzlwtxao
Who remembers these fashion trends of yesteryear? Share your fashionable photos from the past with us!