Not a failure, but a lesson



by Laura Formisano

Relationships. They aren’t the “one size fits all” type of thing. Much like clothing, relationships can get stretched too thin, become full of holes and sometimes just altogether deteriorate.

When clothes fall apart, there is sometimes a reason; we wore it too much, loved it too much or treated it too roughly.  And sometimes we just outgrow them. It’s nobody’s fault, they just don’t fit our bodies. Due to weight gain or loss, changes just don’t fit.

Sometimes we try to make them fit, anxiously tugging the hem down, or trying to stretch it back to it’s original form, refusing to believe this beloved T-shirt won’t fit our different body, but no matter how hard we pull or how determined we are, it’s not going to fit. So what now?

This summer I saw the demise of a close friend’s relationship. No wronged party or spurned lover, it just was not working. They had simply outgrown each other.

After being in a relationship and in college for two plus years, one can only expect some internal changes to take place.  A lot of times with long-term couples, the couples grow together, the changes ebbing and flowing, working in tandem. They like who the other has become.  As they continue to stay together, and the relationship continues, this is dubbed a “success.”

Sometimes, though, we change, and our partner doesn’t change with us. They may not be “bad” changes, but just ones we simply cannot deal with. We have, outgrown the relationship. It’s not because the person we were with changed into a cretin who suddenly finds joy in stomping on small animals and telling little children Santa doesn’t exist. No, they just simply take on a different form (as did we) and the relationship does not sit on us well. Does this suddenly mean this relationship is in fact, a failure?

It seems these days we’re in a hurry to quickly label any relationship that ended for whatever reason a “failure.” And sometimes, they are. The other person cheated,  lied or turned out to be our second cousin (what?!).

It’s much easier to end a relationship when anger is involved and  we can assign blame to something other than ourselves.

But often, we just can’t do that. Because no one did anything except grow into the person they are today. That’s hardly a crime, but rather a thing to be celebrated. I’m not here today to tell you, “So sorry your two year relationship ended, but really, they changed into a far better person than you could ever hope to be, so move on, puhlease.”

When you have to give away a great pair of jeans or wonderful old top, do you throw it out saying “Geez, that shirt really stinks. Screw it. It doesn’t fit me, out with the trash you go, since it’s where you belong.” No.

You part with the piece of clothing sadly, perhaps even a little bitterly. You mourn the loss of that great pair of Sevens for a bit, you don’t let it stop you from eventually dusting off your trusted AmEx card and hitting up Macy’s in search of a new pair.

How is it a waste of time to spend time with someone you loved? It’s painful to look back on initially, but with time, you can look back fondly and remember how great it felt to be with someone who at the time was very special. And how great you looked in that shirt. When it fit, it looked  darn good.

That’s something to be celebrated. That is a success.