How to Create Happy Endings to Relationships (Even When They Aren’t)

Recognizing relationship cycles can add a twist to what it means to have a “happy ending.”

IPaper wedding hearts on dock. Photo by Debra Moffitt  believe that every relationship has a life cycle — a period of time that we’re meant to be with someone where we learn, grow, share, build something, maybe create a family or a business, and then — sometimes, we need to move on to grow and learn with someone else or simply on our own.

This is not a failure. It is a change in the paradigm of how we think of romantic relationships.That old paradigm was based on financial security and our survival. Today we can have relationships and maintain them — or not — based on how we feel and what our life purpose may be.

What if relationships are now about learning, growing, and constructing, rather than financial partnerships? Though they can be that too. What if when we get to the end of the cycle and recognize that it’s over, instead of resisting and trying to pretend it’s still alive, we mutually acknowledge it and move on?

It can be beautiful and honor the other and the relationship, and recognize that conditions change. In one relationship, I deeply and dearly loved a man and we had a wonderful emotional and physical experience together. We shared joy, love, good sex, and fun times. We spoke honestly and encouraged each other to grow. We supported each others’ life goals, and all seemed perfect. And it was. Then one day, we both felt it. He had an overwhelming urge to have children. Not to adopt, but to have his own children. I believe that being in a relationship where he felt loved and supported, that natural urge for babies suddenly arrived. It was natural. We talked about it. Nothing hidden. And we both knew that while it was right for him, it wasn’t right for me. With breaking hearts, we both decided to separate as lovers. But the deep honesty and love between us transformed into an abiding friendship. And we’re still friends. We honored our change in relationship through a private ritual of respect and gratitude.

P1030614Our friends remarked on how they’d never seen anything like it. What was so different, I wondered? The difference came from being aware and accepting. Instead of trying to force the other to be different, instead of denying what we both felt going on and the transition we felt coming, we shined a light on it and brought it into the open. Neither of us denied our feelings about it. It did not make parting easy.. I still felt the grief of loss and so did he, but we both continue to love and befriend each other. We didn’t try to get friends to choose sides or blame each other. We both simply had different goals and dreams and we accepted it.

What made the difference with the ways most relationships end?

1) Awareness of the change/feelings and a willingness to confront them.

2) Deep respect and openness and honesty.

3) Love and caring for the other’s well being and desires.

4) A desire to grow and become better human beings.

We can make transitions in peace — with ourselves, our mates, and our family and friends. We don’t have to fall into the same old trap of creating angry explosions and forcing endings in unconscious and unnatural ways. We can make all of our relationship “endings” happy ones. The choice is up to us.

Copyright Debra Moffitt, June 2015

Bio: Debra Moffitt is an award-winning author who believed in “the One” and in living “happily-ever-after” with one man, but life turned out differently. She has had two wonderful marriages and two okay divorces. And her last boyfriend was about fifteen years younger which her grandmother would probably find exciting and shocking at the same time! Debra observes human nature and loves and respects men. She aims to help women and men connect better in relationships — and also to bring a little humor to it. A laugh almost always soothes the heart.


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