And yes, almost every relationship has one!
I remember growing up, actually quite vividly at this moment. I just cooked my first beef liver, something I don’t really like for the taste of it but have been meaning to try out for it’s nutritional benefits — and unexpectedly it took me back to my childhood.
I remembered my dad when he was about my age, I must have been 4–5 yrs old (plus minus a few). Sometimes he would make liver, I think he did it with sides, where I just did it with onions. I remember he wanted me to eat it, and I remember my refusal. Before my first bite I remember how liver made me gag and the more taste of the liver spread within my mouth the closer I felt that gag happening again.
Well, it didn’t, and liver isn’t what this is about. Because with this very vivid memory of my childhood and how different my reaction is now to liver (sorry) I suddenly realised many things I view differently nowadays, after a few years have passed and I’ve grown. Not grown-up, let me make that distinction, but grown.
I remember a time, when friendship wasn’t anything I knew at all contextually. I was alone in my early years, I had my sister for the first six years but we hated our guts until she moved out, then we realised we actually liked each other.
We moved a lot, so I basically was always the new one. Only ever a few people would like me, the rest went so far as to throw stones at me when they saw me out of school (and that’s not a metaphor, that literally happened).
I think I had my first real friend when I was 11 yrs old. That was the first time some sort of relationship like this would go on and on, never seemed to end. He was my best friend, we went through hell and fire together, my brother from another mother. And that’s what I thought friendship would be. Every friendship is forever, there’s no end with it, you can’t comprehend for it to have one and even less imagine even the possibility… until it ends
We didn’t split ways in a fight, but somehow it just ended for no reason. My life went into another direction and even though we saw and spoke to each other every once in a while when I moved to the city that was basically the end of us.
And that’s the story of every friend, that I’ve ever had, every relationship in the literal sense, because friendships are relationships just as family and love is. Some stayed around for a year, some a couple more, some less.
Does a relationship have a purpose
Yes, I think it does and it’s not to continue on forever.
As far as I’m able to describe it I’ve come to understand that every relationship is two (or more) people coming together, sharing their lives with each other to the degree of the intensity of their relationship. But it’s not only the sharing of lives, it’s also the value of each person that enters a relationship for the other. A relationship is always a possibility to learn:
- about yourself
- about someone else
- and from someone else
People within a relationship go along a path together to mainly learn as much as they can from each other. Hence there are basically only two ends to any kind of relationship
- Learning together has reached the point, where both can’t learn from each other anymore
- or one person reaches that point while the other one doesn’t and the metaphorical distance between both becomes too wide to leave room for compatibility.
As far as my experience goes one or the other comes inevitably in every relationship! And especially the latter one mainly ends badly!
The inherent tragic nature of friendship?
Yes, by that definition a relationship is something tragic, but mainly because of our expectations and the way we choose to view it. Even though we are aware that relationships can end, they shouldn’t. A son should always stay in contact with his mother, two lovers should fight for their relationships and not split up, friends should always be friends, etc. And within none of it is a realisation that maybe relationships are even supposed to end.
Life ends in death, it’s as simple as that. Existence has a tendency of creation and annihilation. Holding on to a rotten corpse doesn’t mean it is still alive, just because we refuse to acknowledge the smell. It’s the opposite actually, because the longer we share a bed with a dead body, the more prone to disease (and probably decease) we come. Relationships and their endings in a nutshell, my dear 5 readers a month.
And the longer we refuse to accept the nature of it the longer we withhold ourselves from meeting someone alive around us.
Tragic endings are hopeful beginnings
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting to throw away every relationship as soon as it gets challenging (maybe that challenge is there for you to grow and learn), but I’ve learned to observe my relationships very consciously. I don’t expect an end to them, but I’m aware that they most probably will have one. I can’t even say, that sometimes I hold on to a relationship longer than I should, even though I already know better. This is not a claim for perfection but rather a hopeful one.
Because if the nature of any relationship is to learn from another and as such one has reached its literal final destination it’s time to exit the train while it’s still in the station, because at the station your chances of finding another train to enter for experiences and learning are much higher. We all have heard that “every end is a beginning!”. Maybe it’s time to transfer it to concepts we deal with every day before they happen and not just after the fact!