We outgrow many other things, so why not our relationships?
By Dr T J Jordan
We love the myth about meeting someone who will be our one-and-only soulmate forever. When forever doesn't work, we think that we have failed in our relationships.
The average length of marriage is 7 to 8 years. Now add to those facts the finding that a primary cause of divorce is "growing apart."
So, what do these facts tell us?
We judge our relationship endings as strongly negative because we interpret those endings as personal failures. That interpretation stops us from recognizing the positive aspects of change.
Perhaps we have been missing the point that outgrowing our relationships can be a natural sign of human development, whether we are married, cohabiting, or otherwise connected. Perhaps we need to reconsider our relationship endings as a healthy part of personal development instead of a failure that we must avoid at all costs.
We call graduation "commencement" in order to emphasize the start of a new phase of life. We are pleased when our children reach developmental milestones. We like beginnings because they remind us that we can have hope in the future.
Sometimes we need to graduate from our relationships because we have reached some of our own milestones. And sometimes we need to "commence" a new version of our relationship lives in order to create new and improved versions of ourselves.
We change over time whether we want to or not. Who we were at 20 is not who we are at 50 or at 70. Life happens and it changes…