Tuesday, 7 February 2017

On Leaving a Relationship


'So you're saying that Dan won't change,' she said. 
I looked at the young woman opposite me. I imagined my own daughter, years from now, Jennifer's age, trapped in a lifeless relationship - what would I want a colleague to tell her? What could he say that might help? 

I'd want her to be told that sometimes we have to mourn the future, that many young couples have more future than present. Breaking up means giving up not only their present, but the future they'd dreamed of. Leaving a relationship, starting  a new life, meeting the right person, getting married and having a child can take a long time - much longer than she might imagine. She might have to go through some pain to have what she wants. But facing up to reality, however dreadful, is almost always better than the alternative. I'd want my colleague to tell my daughter that, should she so want, he'd try to help - he'd face all this with her. 
Psychoanalysts are fond of pointing out that the past is alive in the present. But the future is alive in the present too. The future is not some place we're going to, but an idea in our mind now. It is something we're creating, that in turn creates us. The future is a fantasy that shapes our future.  
Stephen Grosz, The Examined Life