A dear friend of mine shared with me this post on Instagram the other day.
Yolanda Renteria, a psychotherapist and trauma professional, wrote in one of her posts:
“There are some couples who share a house and a bed, but have been emotionally separated for years. I have said this before—the measure of success in a relationship is not longevity, but the trust that the other still cares about their partner’s emotional needs.”
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Reading this quote hit me hard. Because let’s be honest—we do measure our relationships’ success by how long they have lasted. It’s even clear in our question for couples, “For how long have you been together?”
And we’re always wowed when he hear 10, 20, and 30 years.
But maybe we need to start asking a different question. Maybe we need to ask couples, “Do you really care about each other?” Frankly, this question makes more sense.
As Renteria states in her caption, “Longevity simply signals two people’s ability to stay together, or the stuckness/pressure they feel to stay.”
And I couldn’t agree more with this. Why do we assume that the longer a relationship lasts, the more successful it is?
But a long period of time doesn’t equal a healthy relationship. Longevity isn’t a parameter to measure success in our sacred unions. As Renteria says, staying sometimes means “feeling pressured.” Not everyone has the means, the courage, or the knowing to walk away from an unhappy relationship.
Some partners stayed together “till death do them apart” because it was the only option they had. Because they didn’t know better. Because there were children involved. Because they didn’t want to be judged. Because there was no exit. Because…because…because.
So no, piling years doesn’t equal love—caring does.
Kindness equals love. Compromise. Empathy. Understanding. Respect.
A successful relationship is one where there is open communication, support, selflessness and self-love, intimacy, forgiveness.
Success in a relationship is an emotional investment. It’s constant work.
Ask yourself, “Does my partner care about my needs? Do I care about theirs? Do I take my partner’s needs seriously? Am I harboring resentment or connection?”
This is what makes a relationship successful. The way we treat each other. The way we see each other.
Longevity is beautiful. It definitely speaks volumes, but it is not the only metric for relationship success.
Stop celebrating multiple-year anniversaries. Instead, celebrate what you give to each other, every day.
Celebrate your union, every moment, and work on making your relationship work.
Quit focusing on the result; focus on the path.