L is for Longevity • what if love doesn’t need to last forever?

I know that a relationship that lasts only a few months can bring unconditional love, beauty and transformation. I know people change, tastes change, and love doesn't always conquer every situation. I know that relationships are hard, and they are sometimes too hard to bear. I know my only regret is causing unnecessary pain.

Before I was married, I spent most of my time sampling a smorgasbord of lovers, without feeling any need to restrict my appetites to only one person.

During those heady days of sexual freedom, there was always the thought in the back of my mind that I would one day ‘settle down’. I never questioned the expectation that I would eventually become a wife and mother, as my mother had been before me.

So as I approached my thirties, I was on the lookout for a husband. This man would be different to the wild, passionate boys I usually went for, because a potential husband would need to last the distance. A marriage takes serious commitment and therefore requires a serious candidate.

I settled on the man I ended up marrying because he was earnest, intense and single-minded. His appetite for sex was less than mine, but I figured it would reduce the odds of him cheating and it might calm me down. As I walked down the aisle one sunny day in June, it seemed my primary criteria for happiness was that my marriage would last until ‘death us do part’. By choosing sensibly, had done everything in my power to guarantee I wouldn’t become a divorce statistic, that I wouldn’t fail at being a wife.

It is no secret that my marriage ended badly almost sixteen years later. We had stopped being good for each other only a few short years after our wedding. When I finally left, all I felt was relief.

Looking back now, I realise that my desire for a long marriage was entirely misguided. If I had wanted to be married, I should have chosen someone challenging, exciting and passionate. I should have been willing to take a chance that we might not last forever.

And when my actual marriage turned sour, I should have walked away years earlier instead of stubbornly trying to stick it out. I stayed for far too long because I believed longevity was the only measure of success.

Now I know differently. I know that a relationship that lasts only a few months can bring unconditional love, beauty and transformation. I know people change, tastes change, and love doesn’t always conquer every situation. I know that relationships are hard, and they are sometimes too hard to bear. I know my only regret is causing unnecessary pain.

You cannot throw love away and you cannot waste it. Every second of love is worth it, even if it hurts when it ends. It is better to explode as brightly as the sun and then fall into darkness, than to endure endless days of tepid artificial light.You cannot throw love away and you cannot waste it. Every second of love is worth it, even if it hurts when it ends. It is better to explode as brightly as the sun and then fall into darkness, than to endure endless days of tepid artificial light.

All relationships change and transform you, they challenge you to evolve, they bring the wisdom of experience. Just because you don’t stay together forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, or right, or important.

Longevity might be the currency of other people’s relationships, but it is no longer mine.

My boyfriend and I celebrate every month we’ve been together, not because we’ve endured, but because we’ve been lucky enough to spend another month surrounded by juicy, delicious, positive love.

But if the time comes when either one of us becomes damaged by our relationship, we will end it, with all the love and respect we can muster. I know the darkness will seem terribly cold after this hot supernova has burnt itself out, but I won’t mind, because for a day, a week, a month or a few years, I basked in the intense heat of an unconstrained heart.

Do you believe in everlasting love or is longevity overrated?


This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge

 

About Katie Paul

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing • Join the hottest group on FB → Sassy Midlife Women

31 thoughts on “L is for Longevity • what if love doesn’t need to last forever?

  1. I’m sitting on the undecided camp, but I think it’s better to have something passionate but short than humdrum for a long time.

  2. I married the first time because it was time. That officially lasted two and a half years and was “over” within six months. It was for all the wrong reasons. The second time, it has lasted over 30. We’re still in love, and respect and longevity is NOT the measure of success. Never want to be THAT couple, but sometimes it is a challenge.

  3. I now know that whatever I expect, is exactly what won’t happen. Life unfolds. There are endless possibilities and guessing the outcome is futile. Loving the moment and being open to the next is the only path I’ve found that works for me.
    Kimberly
    FiftyJewels.com

  4. I guess when one knows that love is no longer at the centre that it is time to move on. Thank you for this post Katie and for sharing your story. How lovely to keep it alive by celebrating the time together every month!

  5. I believe in both. While I’ve been lucky my love has lasted for many, many years if it had ended in a year it still would have been love no matter what. If it had turned sour I would have left, I’ve already lived that once with my first husband.

  6. I identify with this post very strongly, because that’s exactly how my marriage was, especially that part about ‘we stopped being good for each other only a few short days after our wedding.’ I stuck it out for ten years, though. This is a refreshing idea, that longevity doesn’t have to be the criteria for a good relationship! Thank you.

  7. Happy to find your blog through AtoZ and can really relate to your story. The one and only, was not the one and only after all… I will come back for more,enjoyed the read:-)

  8. I believe in everlasting love, but I believe that the love changes over time. The love I felt for my boyfriend 10 years ago is very different than the love I feel for him today. Since I understand that love changes, I’m happy to get to know THIS love and appreciate it. If I only wanted that honeymoon love, then I’d be miserable.

    1. You see, I don’t want anything else BUT honeymoon love. So far we’ve made it last for five years.

      I’m not saying my way is better or worse than yours, just different.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective x

  9. Such a lovely post!!

    It may sound a little greedy, but I’d love to have both if it were possible. The right love burning until one of us burns out of this world. I, too, am taking that chance with someone and can only take it one day at a time.

  10. Thank you for this! I recently wrote about this same topic myself (http://omgchronicles.vickilarson.com/2015/08/18/is-love-really-dead/). Why do we consider lifelong love to be the best kind of love, especially since most of us fall in and out of love with several people before we find someone we actually might want to be in love with for the rest of our life — if we even want that at all? Is there any research that indicates love that lasts forever improves us in any way — makes us smarter, more resilient, more creative, kinder or a better person? Not that I know of. Yet each time we have a loving relationship that ends, we actually learn more about ourselves, others and the world.

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