How lovely it would be if all relationships endured for a lifetime.
Of course, they endure for more than a lifetime, that’s my belief, but sometimes, in this lifetime, a relationship comes to a natural end.
Most of us are reluctant to leave another. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to be alone. But a lot of the time it’s that we just don’t want to hurt our partner, disappoint them, or break our agreement with them. Our choices are to be true to ourselves or to perhaps hurt another. Because sometimes, being true to ourselves means another will feel pain.
We must remember that we are meant to be happy. That’s what the Divine wants for us.
For decades the words of story-teller Oriah Mountain Dreamer in her famous poem, The Invitation, stuck in my brain
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
The idea of being faithless is a tough one for many. But Oriah tells us that she realized that the the most trustworthy people aren’t the ones who always kept their agreements with her. “Those who can be faithless,” she said, “who can bear the responsibility of breaking an agreement when the alternative is to betray themselves, are trustworthy.” We aren’t used to thinking that way, are we?
Having the integrity to be true to ourselves can sometimes be hard. Honesty can hurt. But faking it is harder. I’ve seen firsthand that integrity is one of the keys to happiness.
So maybe you’ve been in a longterm relationship that lacks sizzle but provides comfortable companionship. The questions you must ask yourself are these: Is companionship enough? Can I live this way the rest of my life and be truly happy? Do I want more?
But this is the kind of question I sometimes hear: “He’s so nice, what’s wrong with me that I can’t be with him?”
I’ll bet you meet a lot of nice men. Do you enter relationships with them all? Is just being nice enough to hold a relationship? While being nice, a kind person, considerate are all wonderful traits, they are not enough to make a relationship for most of us.
What about love?
I can honestly say that I have loved every man I’ve been in relationship with: love has been at the core of “us.” But it’s not always been romantic love. Some people are ok with this. But when I was in my early 50s and married to my best friend, I decided I wanted a chance to experience romantic love again, that sizzle that poets write about. While it was hard to leave my mate because I loved him deeply and didn’t want to hurt him, it would have been harder to have stayed with him. I had to disappoint him so I wouldn’t betray my own soul, as Oriah would say.
I did find love after midlife and it’s been one of the deepest and richest experiences ever. And while I was sad to leave my best friend, he went on to find a wife that was more suited to him and has a life that seems to suit him as well. And not that long after I left, either.
So if you’re on the fence about your relationship and fear disappointing or betraying another, you might want to read Oriah’s book, The Invitation.
Because sometimes, in the process of being true to yourself, to your own soul, you will have to disappoint others.
And that’s not always a bad thing. Because it’s worse to live a lie.
Here’s one final thing to remember: What comes after goodbye is often a hello — hello to a new adventure. Because from the rocks of a relationship you’ve left, comes the bud of something new that’s just waiting to flower..