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partyrock's avatar

Ever been in a relationship with someone you had no idea where it was going?

Asked by partyrock (3863 points ) May 3rd, 2012 from iPhone

Have you ever been in a relationship where you didn’t really know where it was going? I guess technically no one really does know the future, but have you ever been in one that was so complicated? For example already discussing and realizing that it would be best to just enjoy each other’s time and company, and worry about the future later? Is there a point to being with someone you knew you couldn’t have a long term relationship with? Like if you enjoy their company bit realistically knew that a long term relationship was out of reach? Do you enjoy the ride and the journey with the person because you love them, or save yourself possible heartache by cutting it off slow? At one point did you know whether to go on or not?

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21 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

Every relationship in my life has been that way, except with my parents. They’re now dead. So, yeah, “every extant relationship”.

nikipedia's avatar

A couple times. Usually it meant the relationship was going nowhere, and after enough weird flakiness or bullshit I called it off.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Frequently. That’s the fun and excitement of relationships. If you know what the ending was going to be, then where’s the fun of discovery?

Remember, most relationships can be compared to “two shits passing in the night”. They happen to be in the same place at the same time, but ultimately the move in different directions.

Blackberry's avatar

Everyone has. Do you expect to marry and live happily ever after with anyone you enter a relationship with?

partyrock's avatar

Blackberry I know everyone does or has, but I mean a relationship so complicated that realistically it seemed weird to think about long term, or what society thinks. For example like if a girl was dating a man who was 30 years older than her. But they both really liked each other, bit of course didn’t know where it would go because the age difference is so big…

tranquilsea's avatar

No. I had goals and if my current relationship didn’t match those goals after a period of time I walked away. I’ve been married for 18 years to a guy who did match goals with me.

SpatzieLover's avatar

No. I don’t set myself up for failure.
What you’re describing in the details @partyrock is something I purposefully cut off at the start when I was younger.

wundayatta's avatar

I was never in a relationship that didn’t have long term possibilities. It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like to be involved with someone knowing there was a deadline.

But if someone told me that at some point it was going to be over, although they didn’t know when, I would certainly pull back if I could. Now it is not in my nature to pull back. If I love someone, I love them. I can’t hold back. So what would happen is I would push them to choose me or not. I would not be cool. I would press them every instant. Most likely, they would break it off.

I’m not recommending this. It’s just how I act. I cannot stand that kind of uncertainty. Not when I love someone. It is better to settle it, even if it means the end, then to string it out, trying to ignore the fact that it will end.

Now, I suppose there is the possibility that the person will change their mind. They might decide they want to make a commitment to me. Then I would certainly push for that if I loved them.

But that’s me. I want to know. If it’s not going to happen, then I want to know that as soon as possible. I am very good at pushing. The most wishy-washy people will feel like they have to make a decision because I am very demanding and very high maintenance. No one is going to put the effort required to be involved with me into me unless they think they are going to marry me. Emotionally, I require everything. That weeded out a lot of people pretty quickly. Well, some took a few years, but eventually it came down to the woman who became my wife. I must have done a good job because she has stuck with me through some pretty serious problems: infertility, infidelity, mental illness. We’ve been through the proverbial ringer. Several times.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Twice. In both cases, the relationship status or future was never discussed on any level. One was sort of the thrill of being with The Bad Boy. It died very quickly. The other was with a much older man. While we enjoyed each other’s company over dinners, I think that we both came to the same conclusion that we were just at very different points in our lives. In both cases, the parting of ways was never discussed either.

wundayatta's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer That last sentence was somewhat ambiguous. I assume it doesn’t mean you never parted ways. Are you trying to say you parted, but without talking about it? It just kind of happened?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@wundayatta Thank you for asking for clarification. Yes, in both cases, the personal relationship just died without discussion. And in both cases, we were co-workers, meaning working for the same company and not in supervisor/employee position. The professional relationships were, at least from my perspective, kept friendly without any sign of discomfort.

I know why I thought that each relationship wouldn’t pan out in the long run. I can make assumptions why they might have thought so in their minds. It was just never discussed between the two of us in either case. If I had to take a wild guess, all parties involved realized that there wasn’t enough chemistry generated to sustain a long-term relationship, thus there was no reason to conduct an autopsy to discover the cause of death.

Blackberry's avatar

@partyrock Yeah, sometimes you enjoy the ride until it’s over.

ninjacolin's avatar

yes. eventually, it becomes heart breaking. When you’re together having fun, it’s fun.. but every moment you get a chance to ruminate about the relationship is painful because you lack the distraction from reality: this thing I like is doomed.

It’s funny to think about. It’s like being at the end of a really really good tv series for the duration of your relationship. You never know exactly when/how it’s gonna end but you know the end is coming and it plagues your mind the whole time.. which is I think the opposite of a normal relationship where you might tend to expect no end… maybe.. in a normal relationship, like with my best friend as an example, I have hope that it will continue and get better. But with a precarious relationship, there’s a very strange lack of hope.. there’s more certainty that it will fail.. but you keep crossing the bridge anyway as if failure is the goal that you haven’t reached yet.

tedd's avatar

I met a buddies younger sister in my final year of college, while she was a senior in high school. We were immediately enamored with one another, and despite token efforts to avoid it, a relationship ensued. As you might imagine the age/phase-of-life gap made things incredibly difficult (and on top of that it was a distance relationship that we had to keep secret from most of her family!)

Eventually, after much drama, we ended up officially dating one another, around the time she left for her first year of school. We dated in total for almost 2 years, with the full approval of her family (most of whom I was already friends with). Eventually a combination of the distance and the phase-of-life issue caught up with us and we parted ways.

The gist of my story is, if you’re having fun.. why bother worrying about the future? Let it play out, and if you really like someone.. go for it… you never really know how it may turn out.

(I have also had “successful” relationships with a German exchange student, and a girl who was moving away for a new job in a few months…. both situations that had doubtful outlooks, but were incredibly enjoyable while they lasted)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Most of my rewarding relationships did not stay bewildering and troubling for long. Short periods of uncertainty are worth enduring while you work at building it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes and as frustrating as it was to cut out since we both really enjoyed each other, we practiced being putzes to each other until we got it out of our systems.

He’d never been married, was younger and wanted children. I was looking for a good serious relationship with no possibility of children. All the fun, all the comfort, all the commonality couldn’t distract us from the fact we were spinning our wheels.

Something can be not wrong but also not right, for either of you and it has to be digested and accepted or else you waste each other’s time and opportunities.

mazingerz88's avatar

Right now that’s the kind of relationship I’m in. I love it and I hate it. It’s both a tragedy and a triumph in my life. Without a doubt, I’ll perish as an ambiguous creature drowning in a sea of contradictions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I was in a relationship for 10 years, off and on, and I never had any doubt in my mind that it was going nowhere. And that was fine with me.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

Your question, @partyrock, contains an element of the answer: ”...realizing that it would be best to just enjoy each other’s time and company…” All good relationships at heart are about this; if you can reach a level in any relationship where you just enjoy “each other’s time and company”, then it’s a successful relationship in my book.

But that’s not really what you were asking. I think people do encounter uncertainties like this, in all kinds of relationships. Sometimes it’s due to unequal power balances; sometimes it’s due to incompatibility. Often it’s because of miscommunication, or excessive expectations (or a lack thereof) on one person’s part. Sometimes it’s just because two people are growing apart, or were never really growing together to begin with.

I’ve had a few relationships like that, and the one I’m in now is one where I’m not sure where we’re going. I think everyone either experiences or witnesses relationships like this.

The key, I think, is to keep in mind people change. Life is about change; without change, we die, either completely or in all ways except physically. Nothing is forever. Ok, enough mystical musings, and back to my point: people change. The person I was at 20 is not the same person I was at 25, or 30, 35, 40… you get the point. The people I was in relationships with as a youth worked for me when I was that age, but looking back, no way would I be with them now. The same is true for friends; I have friends now that I was not friends with (although I had met them) when I was younger—our paths hadn’t yet merged to the point where we were able to treat each other as equals yet.

I think most relationships, regardless of how solid they are, always have a level of ambiguity, because they depend on the relationship we have with ourselves.

Ok, enough navel-gazing on my part. I think you get where I’m coming from. ;-)

lonelydragon's avatar

Yes, but after a few months, we decided to officially be together.

bookish1's avatar

Yes, I am in a relationship like that now, with someone who feels like a friend I have known forever, but who is significantly older than me. We both have talked about how we are in different stages of our lives and how it is not going to be permanent, but we can enjoy what we have together as long as it is good for both of us. We also have brought up that this is a relationship that has changed both of us permanently, and that cannot be undone. And that is enough for me. :) I do hope and think that we can still be good friends when conditions require us to part ways.

And this is a big difference from how I used to approach relationships when I was mentally/emotionally younger (I’m still pretty young, haha). I used to jump into every dalliance expecting to spend the rest of my life with that person. While that might work for some people (heck, some folks I knew from high school have gotten married to their first serious girlfriend/boyfriend), I came to realize it wouldn’t work for me, and I don’t begin relationships with this expectation anymore.

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