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Pencil Shavings | Tessa Blair

Photo credit: Bobby Jones

The word divorce has such a negative connotation. In our world, people are supposed to find “the one,” be with them forever, and live happily ever after. If they can’t do that, they’re seen as a failure. But why should life-long commitment be the ideal and the expectation?

I’m not saying divorce is a good thing and that people shouldn’t try to work out their problems with the people they care about. People should most definitely be encouraged to work out problems in a relationship if they make each other happy. And if two people can be happy together forever, that’s wonderful. The problem is when two people who are no longer compatible are pressured to think they have to stay together.

Society gives unhappy long-term couples two options: (1) Split up and be seen as failures and poor decision-makers or (2) Spend the rest of their lives with a person who makes them unhappy. In reality, two people who plan to spend their lives together and end up separating does not mean they made a bad decision. I am sure that the vast majority of people who get married truly believe they will be with the other person forever. The problem is not in their judgement. The problem is not even a problem: people change.

A person may be a completely different person than they were five, 10, 20 years earlier. In fact, many people are. And if the person they have become is not compatible with the same person as 30 years prior, that’s okay.

Some people grow together and some people grow apart. Some people don’t want to be with anyone and some people end up being with a lot of people. And none of these options are wrong. The fact that there isn’t a “one size fits all” of relationships shows the wonderful diversity of people and experiences our world has to offer. Why should anyone be criticized for deciding to leave someone they don’t want to be with anymore?

Ending a relationship does not mean the relationship was a failure. There is fun to be had, lessons to be learned, and experiences to be gained from every interaction—that doesn’t mean they have to last forever.

Tessa Blair
Tessa Blair

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