Here we are, at the end of our series on Romantic Realism, and the question is should we stay, or leave?
“Mastering the sorrows of love should not be taken to imply that no relationship, however miserable, could ever be worth leaving – or indeed that being in relationship must be the only state worth valuing. To the contrary, success at relationships is critically dependent on an awareness of when it might be wise to quit one and an honest assessment of whether relationships are even an arrangement to which we are psychologically suited.” This last bit is worthy of it’s own reflection, and I will save that for another day. After all, recognizing that one is not suited to be in a relationship is a legitimate realization that deserves to be honored. For today’s purpose, let’s look more deeply at the question of if and when to quit a relationship. “Though we need to be more determined and skilfull about staying in relationships, at the same time, we need to grow a good deal more strategic and intelligent about knowing when to leave them.” We can assume and predict that there will be suffering in any long term relationship. “As we have seen, sorrows belong to the lives of all couples, even the best suited ones. The fact that we have many regrets should never in itself be a reason to end a relationship.” The decision to leave isn’t when we’re sad or frustrated or lonely, it’s when we “identify that our lover is contributing to sorrows above and beyond those that belong to love in general; when aspects of their character are embittering life far more than the normal rules of relationship and when we can see that the hurts we are facing go beyond the dark and long list of woes provided by the Romantic Realist.” After an honest appraisal of our relationship troubles, we arrive at the realization that “our many griefs simply cannot be laid at the door our partner but are the work of that less blameful entity, life itself, then we should make our peace and stay put. We will know that we are encountering the misery of existence in the company of one particular person, but not – as it is so easy to presume – because of another person.”
So there we have it. A deep reflection on just how challenging partnership can, and will be. And given these predictable challenges, each of us must decide if the relationship we are in should be traded, and if so, what will necessarily make the next one less sorrowful? There are certainly reasons that could answer that question in the affirmative. Sorting this out is not for the faint of heart. Consider the counsel of an objective other to help you arrive at a wise choice.
Until next time, peace.