And they lived happily ever after.
As a child, I, along with countless other children heard these words. It all seemed so easy: you meet someone, fall in love and end up together forever.
Even after growing up and learning there are no such things as fairy godmothers or witches, many of us still believe in the idea that once we meet the one—our soulmate—the love of our life we have to remain with them forever or else it doesn’t count.
Like most on the cusp of 40-years-old, I have had my share of relationships ranging from the memorable to the forgettable. Some of the most memorable were the ones where I fell head over heels in love but for some reason, they didn’t last. For years, I classified them as failed relationships. They were the ones that I never spoke about except anecdotally, as a warning to others, to not do what I did.
Lately, though, I have come to think otherwise—what if the best romances have a end date? What if for the vast majority of us, we are meant to have several romances throughout our lifetime?
While this may seem anti-romantic or a bit cynical, it isn’t meant to be.
Many of us don’t believe there is only one person out there, who is right for us. All of us know at least one couple who seemed perfect and were together for years—only to split up. In most cases, it wasn’t even anyone’s fault but rather they grew apart and found they no longer suited each other.
Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to have more than one great love relationship?
The idea of staying together forever is nice, but it tends to be the exception rather than the rule. Writers have been aware of this for years. Think of all the poems about lost love or the one that got away. And then there is pop culture, which also appears to have gotten the message.
As a young girl, one of the first movies I ever fell in love with was Gone with the Wind.
The depiction of the Old South may be the stuff of fiction, but the kind of love that Scarlett and Rhett had was very real. It was always of interest to me that despite the pressure from editors and readers, the author Margaret Mitchell, refused to write a sequel or say if they ever got back together again. Despite the authorized sequel that Mitchell’s heirs had commissioned decades later, by another author, which answered that question, I always thought that the pair had reached the end of the road and went their separate ways.
Likewise, the series finale of the very popular Sex and the City filmed three endings two of which involved Carrie and her on-again/off-again beau, Mr. Big parting ways. It’s also worth noting that in the book, which was based on the real life adventures of the author Candace Bushell, Carrie and Big did not end up together.
Therefore, when it comes to real life and our own relationships, we should look to both art and the real world.
Not all romances are going to last forever. Sometimes the best romances have a definitive beginning and end date. We change and others in our lives change too. When I look back at my own experiences, I can see why a romance that occurred in my 20s and was so great at the time, would not have worked in my 30s and certainly not now as I approach my 40s.
Therefore if asked if I ever had a great romance, I will reply that I’ve actually had several.
Rather than seeing it as a failing on my part, I see it as a positive. In each of those instances I like to believe that I learned something which helped me to grow and may have even helped in future relationships. Rather than see them as the ones that failed or got away, I think of them as they ones that were here, served a purpose, and then went away after they served their respective purposes.
Perhaps great romances don’t really die, but actually just move onward to wherever they are meant to go.
Bonus: A new kind of relationship that’s truly sustainable, passionate and fun.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock