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Starting out in serious relationships: Coping with "forever" ending and trusting the next "forever"?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Dating, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (23 February 2019) 5 Answers - (Newest, 26 February 2019)
A female United Kingdom age 22-25, anonymous writes:

Please bear with this question. I'd really appreciate supportive answers, rather than blunt or patronising answers, if possible :-)

I've only been in one relationship and it did feel like it would last many more years than it did, though it lasted nearly 4. We had the plans for the future, the "forever", the "always", the genuine "soulmate" feeling, etc. It wasn't like a fairytale; we were both realistic throughout and supported each other through individual hardships, but we were in love even for months after it ended (possibly right person, wrong time/place). I believe there's probably more than one "right person" for everyone, but I'm not sure how to handle the emotions around "forever" ending and feeling it in future relationships.

How do you come to terms with the fact that you were so sure of that relationship/marriage, but "forever" was cut short?

How do you deal with being reminded of that negative ending when you eventually feel the same about another relationship? (i.e "I felt that so strongly before, but it didn't last, so how do I trust this forever?")

How do you deal with knowing that your current partner was probably just as sure about people before you as they are about you now? (I have no issue with not being their first relationship; most of us have pasts, I'm just unsure how to feel okay that the things they're saying to me about being "the one" or "love of my life", they were convinced of with someone else before.)

Many of us are raised on "you just know" for the "right one", but also taught that "sometimes it just doesn't work out" - both are okay, but a little vague on how to actually come to terms with feeling "forever" in a current relationship after one or two previous (genuine) "forevers" haven't worked out, despite being so sure of it at the time, and how to deal with probably not being the only person your partner genuinely thought they'd spend forever with.

I know life is uncertain and that you need to take some risks anyway, but I'm hoping for some kind advice on ways that helped you when you first started out with serious relationships, how you trusted the next "forever" when the last "forever" ended and/or how you may have dealt with a good marriage ending when you still felt like there was a happy, loving future ahead.

Some may say not to use "forever"/"soulmate"/"the one"/etc., but I hope you can see what I mean - "forever" in the above questions can be replaced by any kind of genuine feelings/expression/expectation/hopes for a lifelong relationship with a current partner....

Many thanks! KL :-)

~ Apologies for the wordiness of it; I'm just not sure how well I've expressed what I'm trying to ask for advice on :-P

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 February 2019):

I believe in the here and now, be in the MOMENT feeling.

Past has gone, future has yet to be,look to to the past and miss the present, look too far ahead, miss the present, look to now and miss the moment.

Sometimes these moments last forever, it's not in man made time or necessarily in long term relationships.

Each relationship brings a unique experience, good or bad, short or long.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (25 February 2019):

Honeypie agony auntMost people who uses the terms forever mean it when they say it. The I will ALWAYS love you, we will make this work and grow old together. It's quite often said with the INTENT of "honoring" it.

The thing is, people who are SO busy looking far into the future don't live in the here and now and they think "love" will fix issues or that because WORDS of "forever" was uttered that problems will just solve themselves. Until they don't.

I think it's OK to want a relationship to last. But the FOCUS should be on the here and now and the immediate future (though long term plans PERSONAL for career, travel, education can still exist). Don't try and look to far ahead that you ignore the present.

And plans for the future like, marriage, house ,kids, dog UNTIL it actually HAPPENS - it's fantasy. NOT reality.

A little like wanting to win the lottery. If you get my meaning.

And sometimes, relationships CERTAINLY shouldn't be forever, they turn out to be abusive or very uneven.

Soul mates? Personally, I don't believe in that. I believe that there are people who are a GOOD fit, a GREAT fit and not a fit at all. You will probably MEET all 3 types in your life.

Benjamin Franklin said :" in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Same goes for relationships.

ENJOY building a strong and healthy relationship. Treat it like a garden or lawn. Water it, pluck the weeds, fix holes.... Invest in it, put in the work if it seems like you and your partner are a GREAT fit.

Don't try and skip to the "and they lived happily ever after" That is like trying to understand a book by reading the ending.

Relax. Remember that 1. plans are OK but the CAN and WILL change. 2. you can't plan for everything. Life isn't a straight line. 3. plans aren't REALITY until they are implemented and lastly 4. THERE are no guarantees in life.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 February 2019):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you for your advice! I'm not someone who rushes into relationships or develops crushes easily - more like the opposite, if anything - so I'm not concerned with thinking "forever" too soon, which is one less thing for me to be worried about!

I am an emotional person - not "too" emotional, but I feel more comfortable when I can understand my feelings and ways to deal with them, which is why I appreciate the responses.

I'm hoping someone may share what helped them when they first started out in serious relationships, as I'm grateful for the current advice, but would also find it helpful to know how others who felt similar coped with the feelings in my post :)

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 February 2019):

I think that most people unless they are in a FWB relationship go into the relationship hoping that maybe it will be "the one". Most people want to have a long lasting relationship that will hopefully lead to marriage/kids down the road.

Sadly, the reality is that most relationships do end whether its weeks, months or years. People change and even though at first it seems like the perfect union, most often it is not and unless both people can and are willing to adjust to the changes and can love and respect one another, the relationship won't last. Sometimes sadly you just fall out of love. I can't explain why but it just happens. People also sometimes have the wrong expectations of others and its especially bad when a person thinks that they can change their partner. Its one of the worst mistakes that can be made.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a soul mate or a life long partner. Its sad to see people become so jaded and cynical that they no longer believe in love and believe that every relationship is doomed to fail. It does happen though because some of us just get so hurt and disappointed in life that we no longer have that little spark of hope. Some people are just luckier in love than others. Some people just choose badly and some of us just are unfortunate.

I think you just need to have a healthy respect of reality and take things slow with each relationship. Go into each one with an open mind, open heart and its ok to hope for the best. BUT...always keep reality in the picture. Understand that for whatever reason, things may not work out or last but don't get into a relationship with the attitude that things will fail.

I have been through 2 rough marriages. The first one I was only 19, pregnant and we were total opposites. Sad to say even at my young age I didn't have high hopes but I wanted things to work. He was physically abusive. That lasted 2 years.

I waited 4 years and thought I had found the perfect man. He was older, had never been married and seemed like a perfect match for my 4 year old daughter and I. I thought I had hit the jackpot. For almost 15 years it was a fabulous marriage (I thought). I really loved him and was very happy. What I didn't know is what was going on in the shadows. There was a part of him he kept hidden. He mistreated my children (I won't go any further but you can read between the lines). He also became an alcoholic. The perfect marriage was all a farce and I was married to a monster, someone I didn't even know. End of marriage #2.

I was totally disgusted with love, life and just everything in general. I couldn't believe I had failed again. I had tried so hard to have the perfect life and still I failed. I didn't want to date, I didn't even want to look at a man. I didn't hate men, I just didn't want them in my life.

Then without any warning, without me even looking, someone came into my life. He was intelligent, sweet, kind, nice looking and he was interested in me. I did everything in power to discourage him. I wanted nothing to do with love or dating. He wouldn't give up though. He was always there to talk to, always there to give encouragement. I admit it..I was terrified but I had grown feelings for him. I didn't want to! He was like a boomerang..he just kept coming back. We have now been together almost 20 years. I am happier than I have ever been and I love him more every day. I guess somewhere there was still just one little tiny spark of hope left in me, and it slowly grew and then exploded into a fire.

If I can still believe in love after everything I have been through, anyone can. Just be realistic is the best advice I can give you. Don't walk around thinking its all rainbows and unicorns no relationship is. In the same way of thinking though..don't walk into a relationship assuming it will fail. You just might be surprised.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 February 2019):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you for your comments! I’m not focusing solely on the forever; it’s just what I’d appreciate some advice on how to handle (instead of “forget about”) and I’m not someone who would throw it around in many relationships, nor could I be with someone who did, but I would like to know how to trust it when it eventually happens again in the future.

I know nothing is guaranteed to last, but that doesn’t always help the emotional side of things, as it’s the rational response - the same way someone who gets divorced may ask for advice on how to trust their feelings about marrying someone else, if they were convinced last time and it didn’t work out.

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