By relationship, I mean a relationship between a woman and a man, who share a mutual interest in each other.
Asked about long term relationship I have the more general answer that in our universe nothing lasts for ever save the rule everything is temporarily 🙂
So the definition of a long term relationship depends on the definition of the period that is considered ‘long’. Before venturing such a definition I’d like to analyze the term relationship itself. It seems that relationship is an umbrella term that defines a man and a women living together or seeing each other on a regular basis. That is the external perspective, but internally that summarizes a lot of different things. Here I collection of what I can think at the moment:
From its design a relationship can be mutual or lopsided or even one sided.
From its character a relationship can have a positive or negative influence.
- A relationship to share intimacy
- ~ to have sex (which is not necessarily the same)
- ~ to reproduce
- ~ to raise children
- ~ to collaborate
- ~ to share secrets
- ~ to mutually inspire
- ~ to teach and learn
- ~ to support
- A relationship to intimidate
- ~ to parasitize
- ~ to drain resources
- ~ to abuse
It is clear that all these characters live in different time frames. For instance the mere intimacy relationship without sex has the shortest lifetime. It is common among teenagers. Mere sexual relationships are short living too. Sometimes as a one-night-stand only. A relationship to reproduce is over as soon as the women is pregnant. When the children are grown up, the upbringing responsibility ends. A work or a secret sharing relationship depends on the life span of the work or the secret. Mutual inspiration and learning lasts as long as there is something to learn or to inspire. Well there are people that need lifelong support and fortunately they sometimes find a partner to provide that support needed. But in my experience these relationships lack all the other characters listed before.
It is difficult to estimate the life span of relationships with negative connotations. Unfortunately those relationships lasts longer. It is always too long because one partner if not both pays.
Relationships are composed of different characters and that composition can change with time. This can happen even from the positive to the negative. Often one partner in the relationship tries to maintain a relationship that is about to die by intimidating the partner and that effectively may delay the decay of the relationship but accelerates the decay of the abused partner. Many diseases endemic in Western societies like diabetes and obesity are caused by that failure to free from such a relationship.
Retuning the initial question about long term relationships, I confess I’m not a proponent of a life long relationship. I’d rather like to help people, including myself, to free themselves from an abusive relationship and to establish a new and successful one.