Before getting into the crux of this discussion about life and relationships, it first needs to be noted that I’m divorced.
This shouldn’t come with a stigma or raised eyebrows, but it sometimes does. Why? Because for most people who are in long-term relationships that are going wrong, it’s easier to stay than it is to leave. Leaving is better.
I’ve had a woman I was talking to stop answering me, and never answer again, after I told her I was divorced. That sucked. But, it’s better than being in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy.
And for most people, the process that is separation or divorce or moving out, combined with the fear of being alone for whatever period of time that transition lasts, is somehow preferred over starting anew. Starting anew is better.
The details of why I’m divorced really don’t matter. I have no ill will toward my ex, and she has none toward me. But we weren’t right for one another. And while I perhaps knew that before getting engaged, it took time to muster up the courage to leave the situation. Four years to be exact, one of which was absolutely brutal.
And in a long and winding way, that brings me to the main point, about long-term relationships — marriage included — in general.
I can literally count on one hand the amount of people in relationships I know who I believe are truly happy. And I haven’t drawn those conclusions anecdotally. I’ve drawn them from things I know to be true and posts on social media that portray two happy people, while I know one of them is dying internally.
Perfection, in relationships or elsewhere in life, isn’t possible. But happiness? That shouldn’t just be possible. It should be a requirement when you’re in a relationship with someone, let alone a marriage. And not sporadic happiness, either.
Yes, there will be fights. If you’re in a relationship and don’t fight, either one person is being dominated by the other and afraid to react, or both people are so boring that there are never any disagreements. Disagreements, within reason, are fine.
What’s not fine? Being with someone who you can very easily live without. Being with someone who doesn’t make you smile and laugh. Being with someone who doesn’t challenge you intellectually. Being with someone who you can’t wait to get away from.
And, there are far too many relationships/marriages like the above, as evidenced by the number of truly happy relationships I can count.
One such relationship involves people much older than millennials — a couple who are both around 70 years old. They realized after having kids that they should get divorced, but didn’t. Why? For the kids. They stayed in an unhappy, loveless, sexless marriage for their children, who were then raised in a house where their parents fought every day and showed no love toward one another.
While it can be incredibly hard and scary to leave a situation and start over, there is simply nothing worse than potentially wasting your life with someone you don’t belong with. And the sooner you get out, the sooner you can find the person you should be with. The person who will actually make you happy.