Most of us have had the experience of making a friend … a good friend … and then losing that friend either by a breakdown in communication, death or some other reason. The effect of such an occurrence can create all sorts of problems for those suffering from that kind of experience. It is not unusual to experience a sense of remorse, sometimes couched in feelings of guilt and anger over the loss. Of course, this experience is also applicable to marital relationships and ensuing divorce situations.
The human person’s need for closeness and intimacy is a two-sided coin. On the one hand, our basic need may result in moving into a relationship and its developing into a very close, intimate one over time. On the other hand, we know that everything has a beginning and an end so that the basic need can ultimately result in a good deal of pain and anguish. Although nothing can be done about the reality of the “beginning and end” part of the equation, there is something that can be done to limit and better manage the resultant emotional consequences of the ending of a relationship.
The first thing that would be necessary is to be able to put relationships … and all of life … into a realistic perspective. By this, I mean that fantasizing that relationships will always remain intact and never end is just that, a fantasy. Having a realistic perception from the outset will save a good deal of emotional heartache when the relationship ends. Recognizing that life is a process that always has a beginning and an end is something that many shield themselves from in the belief that doing so will insulate them from the pain that the outcome produces.
Secondly, keeping a quality form of communication ever-present in the relationship helps both parties to be able to talk about the ‘what ifs” that might or will ultimately occur. The degree of openness in communication that relationships can enjoy enhances both the quality of the interaction as well as the eventual outcome.
Thirdly, realizing that nothing is permanent also requires the awareness that should a relationship fail or end in some other fashion, there are other people in the world with whom we can become involved. Although we may never be able to replace the relationship that’s been lost, to adopt a narrow-minded approach suggesting that we can no longer enjoy the fruits of a close relationship is very unhealthy. Essentially, that would result in our closeting ourselves away from what it is that we may want or, indeed, need in the future.
Fourth, realizing and practicing a lifestyle that is balanced is very important. A balanced life is one that doesn’t place emphasis on only one facet of our lives. Instead, there should be a sense of balance in which we have many alternatives available to us instead of putting “all of our eggs in one basket.” This doesn’t mean that we should be unfaithful to our partner or friend but that there is nothing wrong with having interests and activities outside of the primary relationship which creates a sense of balance. For example, having only one good friend or doing absolutely everything with only our married partner instead of having more people with whom we can enjoy life is creating unbalance. The more that we limit ourselves, the more desperate we will become in dealing with our lives. The general rule of thumb is that “desperate people do desperate things.” Goodness knows that life is difficult enough even within the balanced practice of living it without creating more problems for ourselves in the process by becoming desperate.
(18 April 2012)
Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.