In Praise of Short Term Love by Alain de Botton.
As a young girl I dreamed about having a successful career, visiting amazing places and having adventures, marriage was never my ambition. But in the end I towed the line and I got married because I risked becoming a strange outcast, not the sort of thing a good Greek girl does. I’m happy to be a mother, my children are my life and my marriage was no disaster, there were some great times. But I have no clue what my life would have been like if I had stuck to my core beliefs and never married or had children, if I had lived on a more short term basis.
So when a friend shared this video, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on long term relationships.
Friends often ask me if I’ll marry again or if I have a new “long” relationship. I believe they ask out of genuine concern, sometimes I think they ask just out of curiosity. However right now I can’t imagine giving up my freedom or constantly sharing my space with someone else. I am also convinced that long term relationships are not the best way to live. I’m not saying this because I’m bitter or because I’m trying to undermine marriage, I say it because of the points Alain de Botton raises in his video.
If Not A Long Term Relationship, Then What?
Do we enter into a long term relationship because we are so in love or is it because we fear being alone?
Why does society find it so difficult to accept that actually there are meaningful short term relationships. I’ll even support Alain de Botton and say that short term relationships can be more meaningful. Why?
Because in a short term relationship you learn to just accept the other person as is, without trying to change or mold them into someone you want to share your life with. It just is what it is, no pressure and no expectation.
Could you really embrace being an open, free spirited individual, open to whatever and whoever comes into your life? Would that be so difficult to live with?
Appreciation Comes From Knowing There is an Expiry Date
When we know someone won’t be around for ever then we appreciate them more. We tend to value the time together because that time may be the only time together.
In long term relationships we take each other for granted, we assume the other person will be around for ever and we appreciate less. Of course, in an ideal world we should just learn to appreciate the other person more. How realistic that is I’m not sure.
Marry or Not?
I’m not anti-marriage or anti-long term relationship. I respect individual preferences, I was married for a long time so speak from both sides. I only offer a different perspective that I feel best suits me and many others. I do my best to live moment to moment and I am working on attachment, so a long term relationship no longer fits. Maybe one day it will, maybe it won’t, either way I’m good where I am right now.
You may think I’m being negative because of my so called “failed” marriage. So let me be clear, I was never really into marriage, all I am doing is going back to what I always knew. Relationships are complicated, we go through stages in our life and to think that one person should be with us through each stage is not my preference.