Thoughtfulness is an under-appreciated virtue in today’s world. It goes beyond remembering a birthday card. It’s being deliberate, almost goal-oriented when it comes to people. Is it possible to be goal-oriented with relationships?

Relationships by their very nature are organic, natural, un-coerced. Yet, most of us would agree, sustaining them takes work. But what kind of work? And is “work” really the right word for it anyway? This is where sadness strangely comes in.

Sometimes the motivation we need to sustain relationships is letting ourselves feel the sadness of not having them anymore. We move from why keep to why not keep? We realize the alternatives to having that person actively in our life are not better.

We move further down the path of what would be a fling-mentality. We don’t use people. We understand the depth of their sacredness and refuse to start something we don’t want or need to finish. We don’t acquire friends, we cultivate friendships.

Of course no one is perfect at this. But we try. And we have all either been through a process or known someone who has directly been through a broken relationship only to head straight way into another. We are all challenge-averted to some degree.

We want things to be easy. We want at least with our precious little “free” time to have someone who will make our lives easier, not more complicated. We want someone who will stroke our fragile ego (in a healthy way) and reinforce our true identities.

The problem is that we are all wanting that same thing. And we are all dealing with the shame of not living up to people we want to be. We fall short. Constantly. We over-sleep. Over-think. Over-eat. Over-simplify. Over-whatever or we don’t.

We are always over or under doing life. And there is no one to tell us we are getting the balance right. We bring that heavy weight into all our relationships. We need. But so do they. But at times our needs become more important than theirs.

Relationships have many layers of complications. Still we manage to make commitments to certain ones. Abandoning certain important ones never feels right. No fault divorce in America really opened this reality up.

It legally allowed (for the first time) easy outs of the most realized committed relationships. Of course there are many who were for the first time able to leave abusive, unhealthy marriages. I’m not sure that’s who benefited most.

The freedom to leave really started changing the nature and definition of marriage. It necessarily became a question of happiness, since nothing else is really binding me to the relationship. I am happier with the person that without?

That may seem like the right question. Don’t know that, simply put, we are capable of answering it ourselves. People forced to existentially deal with that question and make the call were tormented by their own freedom.

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