There are few endeavors of human experience that are so predictably disastrous, yet approached with such relentless optimism, as modern-day relationships.
We move through cycles of flying sparks and fading dreams, always thinking that this time is different, this time it's real. But invariably all relationships start with a talk and end with a talk, the awkward curtains of the ecstatic play between them.
The break-up process - which includes not only the dreaded talk, but also the weeks leading up to it and the weeks of bad aftertaste - is almost universally painful.
The good news is that if you can step back from your self-hypnosis of cherishing just long enough to see the relationship life cycle for what it is, you can see the break-up coming, accelerate the process and minimize the pain.
The real problems arise when people resist the natural course of their relationships by mimicking that which originally brought them together through chemistry that no longer exists. Maybe the couple plans a date night or digs their heels deeper into a mundane routine.
Ironically, this resistance to the end only amplifies the pain. You accidentally set the stage for a nasty break-up in place of a quiet conclusion to a beautiful chapter in your life.
Routine breeds boredom, which, in its defiance of the exciting hopes, dreams and promises set forth at the start of the relationship, breeds resentment. From resentment, anger builds, accusations fly and affairs often arrive to consume the relationship like maggots to a corpse.
If you feel like you're losing grip of your relationship, it's not time to cling harder. It's time to let go of your attachment to the long-term promises once invested in short-term feelings that have since passed. Focus on preserving the friendship rather than reviving the cadaver.
The requiem of a relationship is sung in the words, "Where are we going to be in five years?" to which every heart knowingly answers: in misery, in therapy or out of the relationship.
Don't follow your analysis. Follow your heart and end things at the first sign of trouble, so you can break up on good terms and keep this special person in your life as a friend if nothing else.
In the course of a relationship, there will come a time when the fighting and nagging get to such an extreme, you find yourself asking, "Is this worth it?"
Sure, the sex might be great and it's nice having someone to rely on, but is that worth all the drama? Well, yeah, I think it is.
Of course, it all depends on why you began your relationship in the first place. If it was just to have fun, then maybe you're right to nip it once things get tough. But if you started that relationship with the intentions of having something serious, why let a few bumps along the way bring you down?
You're together now because, at one point in time, you thought it was the right thing to do. When you start losing that chemistry and getting annoyed with everything the other person does, there has to be an underlying reason. By working on it and figuring things out, you're only benefiting your connection with the other person, making your relationship stronger and proving that you actually care.
If all relationships ended at the first sign of trouble, the first waiver of interest, everyone would be single. Healthy relationships have problems - fights are going to happen, you won't agree with everything your partner says. That's what makes us human, that's what keeps life interesting. Ending your relationship isn't solving anything; you're just running away from a potentially perfect situation down the road.
We're constantly working for what we love. We're writing papers to get a degree, going to work to earn some money - relationships fall into these categories. Nothing good in life is easy.
Ending on a rough patch isn't going to preserve your friendship - it's going to make you resent them even more. If you hold onto what you have and at least try to fix it, if an ending comes you'll at least both know you made an effort instead of wondering what could have happened.
Ending a relationship because of some faults is a sign of cowardice. Making that first commitment shows that you're willing to work. It's not every day you find someone you want to have a relationship with - you need to hold onto that person while you've got them, despite any troubles that may ensue.