I met someone.
Well, I’ve met lots of someone’s over the course of my 37 years. And I hope to continue to meet more someone’s. But, what’s different about this recent someone, is that he told me, as our very first date progressed effortlessly well, that dating him comes with an expiration date.
Cue the record scratch and my, “say what?” double take.
Approximately a year or so. He is only here, in my country and my city, for about a year—and after that? He simply and honestly doesn’t know.
What he does know is that commitment and making long term plans is just not in his deck of cards right now. So, the decision is mine. Keep playing with what most would consider a losing hand or have another drink, thank him for dinner and fold. Cut my losses, quick.
Most of my friends would choose the latter and advise me to do the same. He shares with me that this is precisely how many of his first dates have gone. Not surprisingly, most have not been interested in a second date after this disclosure.
I consider the usual potential outcomes—we could wind up annoying the shit out of each other or just be friends with or without benefits. But if all goes “well” I will dig having this person around to the point of developing feelings for him and I will be sad when, not if, he leaves.
The best case scenario is that I will be heart broken when he buys a one-way plane ticket and leaves me.
That’s a helluva thing to wish for.
Or is it?
Just because I won’t be making any long term plans with this person, does that necessarily mean that the relationship will be a mistake, a waste of time, a “failure?”
When I go out with friends for an evening and have a great time and then the night inevitably ends, was that a waste of time? What about the friendships that have come and gone, the ones that have changed over time from talking ten times a day to once a month. Are those failures?
Several of my choices haven’t been the best and in some cases they have adversely affected my relationships, sometimes to the point of a parting of ways, but does that mean the whole experience is categorically stamped as a “mistake?”
If I have a really fun time with someone, mourn the loss when it ends and eventually move forward, that doesn’t sound so bad. It sounds a lot like life. And you know what else it sounds like? How a lot of relationships play out. Like, pretty much all of mine and I’d wager a pretty large percentage of yours.
Life is a series of beginnings and middles and ends. Why should relationships, particularly romantic ones, be held to a different standard?
Every relationship has an expiration date.
Every single one.
We, each of us, have an expiration date.
And that certainly doesn’t make life any less awesome and beautiful. One could even argue that this finite amount of time, a dawn and some days and a dusk, makes it even more so.
And so, if I’m especially lucky, I’ll have an awesome adventure for some time (up to about a year, tops) and then I may want something that I can no longer have.
And eventually I will get over it and I will do it all again, most likely without an apparent expiration date. But one nonetheless.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Jenny Spitzer
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock