In Praise of short-term love

Nothing lasts forever, and never has forever had such a short life span as in love and relationships.

It was probably the French-Swiss film director, Jean-Luc Godard, who said it best:

“A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.”

Like stories, this is also true for love and life.

The Japanese have a beautiful tradition called Hanami which means ‘flower viewing’. It celebrates some of life’s beautiful, tender, and yet ephemeral moments – the blooming of a flower, especially the Sakura (cherry blossoms).

What is especially beautiful about this gentle acknowledgement is that it puts in plain view that something can – in contrary to popular societal belief – be real, significant, important, beautiful, and yet short-lived.

It is with a degree of maturity that we can appreciate that a relationship can be equally beautiful, deep, sincere, meaningful, and yet short lived.

One of the most debilitating ideas of society today is that ‘real love’ need be eternal if it is to be anything at all. To equate genuine relationships with life-long love.

We accept transience in most areas of our life with variable ease except in relationships. When confronted with change or the realization that change may be necessary in other areas of life, we do not immediately feel like that area of life has failed, that it was nothing, and that moving on is a betrayal to that time in our lives – yet we do this to our relationships, unfairly devaluing some of the most intimate, and tender parts of our lives.

A relationship that ends before you or your partners death-date isn’t a failure on anyones part. To accept this is to be able to properly give yourself to love – in all its forms.

In gaining an appreciation and an acceptance that short-term love is its own wonderful flavor of love and relationships, we open ourselves to a wider spectrum of emotional nourishment.

There are of-course perks to long-term love that could not exist in short-term relationships. It does take a good amount of time for the intricate complexities of another human to reveal itself to us.

When there is an understanding of long-term love, there is more room for effort, more room to work hard on making this work, and we would be willing to display some of the most vulnerable parts of ourselves to another person – given enough time. There will be a mutual growth of humility and modesty, and together there will be a necessary ‘growing up’.

The beauty of a sunrise has never diminishes the magnificence of a sunset. In the same way, we should not allow the tender charms of one love take away the charms of another. They are distinctively virtuous in their own right.

When we know that a love may be short lived, sometimes acknowledging its possible termination from the start, we tread more gently. Knowing someone could leave at any moment, that any moment it all could end, allows us a growth of tender appreciation often taken for granted in long-term love – to have someone who is independent and free to walk away from us – and yet miraculously is choosing not to do so.

When its new or short-term we can afford to not be on the same page as our partners – experiencing the same journey at different chapters. We more deliberate and liberal in our daily compromises – without being or feeling threatened.

The most exciting thing about a new relationship isn’t so much that it’s them. It’s that it’s new. And What makes people difficult and dooms relationships is almost never the people involved. It’s what we are trying to do with them.

To love someone, to really love someone, is to want whats genuinely best for them. Inviting someone to spend the rest of their lives with us may sometimes not be a very nice thing to ask of someone we love. It is to ask of them to encounter with us some rather challenging, tedious, and difficult things with us – like laundry. To truly love someone may, in some circumstances, mean to love deeply and to tenderly part when the relationship has run its course.

Relationships can end without without the need for any party to have cruelly and prematurely killed it. Relationships can end without guilt, without blame, without bitterness – there is already enough of this in circulation.

Its time to reinvigorate short term love.
Its time to reinvent the end of relationships by introducing transitions rather than endings.

Sometimes all a relationship could mean is a mutual deep tender, appreciation and admiration of another being for a particularly beautiful portion of our lives – and to know that this too is wonderful.

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