No relationships really fail

It’s not that my friend was lying.

Or confused.

Or dumb.

Rather that her story,

Her sadness,

Her frustration,

Looked different from where I sat.

Which, physically, was only right across from her at our local coffee house.

Emotionally, I was sitting on another planet.

A much older planet.

“Every relationship I have fails,” she shared as she filled me on her latest string of dates that haven’t lead to finding The One.

To her soul mate.

To marriage.

I listened with hard won understanding and compassion.

Because I have been her.

Oh, have I been her.

That one sitting with a cringing stomach at countless dinner parties where everyone else is partnered.

Everyone, but me.



Serial dater.

Serial dumpee.




When would I ever be the one who someone picked?

From that place I offered my friend this different spin—

Is it possible all her relationships haven’t failed? Perhaps, they’ve simply ended?

From where I sit today, it’s a considerably different thought.

Ending vs. failing.

Ending because they came, they served their purpose.

They ended.


That’s to say they were supposed to be something they weren’t capable of being.

Even with the fanciest cruise ship, when you reach your destination,

It’s time to get off.

Doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great time.

Doesn’t mean it’s sad when the trip is over.

Does mean it’s time to get off.

I think about these kind of things when milestones come around.

Failing vs. ending, that is, not fancy cruise ships.

My fourth wedding anniversary is this week.

I can say, not a single one of the men who didn’t pick me, can touch the quality of the man I married.

The man I picked.

Relationships are not that special in this regard.

In ending.

So does every job.

So does every life.

Surely, my marriage will end as well.

Though, I do believe we’re both in it for the long haul, it will end.

See the part about every life coming to an end.

When this marriage does end, it will not be a failure.

I get that now.

I sure didn’t at 27.

Or 37.

There is one thing that appears to not end.

The learning.

The wanting to shortcut life lessons for my friend.

For my kids.

I see them struggle with things it took me years to figure out.

“Oh, we can skip this heartache, this pain,” I want to brush away. “Just read my Life Cliff Notes.”

Make that “Spark Notes” for you, Dear Younger Reader.

I’m figuring out it doesn’t work that way.

I don’t get to just fast forward through this lesson because I’ve lived this part of the movie before.

I have to let them find out for themselves.

That’s how we left our coffee date, my friend and I.

Not sure I convinced her about failing.

Only that I gave her something to think about before our time together ended.