I just learned a new phrase this weekend. Serial monogamy. It was mentioned by Nick and coincidentally it was also mentioned on Trevvy in their recent editorial feature.
Basically, serial monogamy is going from a relationship to another, whenever the current one becomes unfulfilling or unsalvageable. To me, it seems an intermediate stage between a one night stand and a relationship. It is longer than a fling but shorter than a long term relationship.
One goes into a relationship not expecting to be long term and hence when it really does end, it would be relatively easier. One enjoys the stability of a relationship which comes in the form of emotional support and physical needs. There are dates and movies and gathering with each other’s friends. It does seem like a perfectly healthy relationship.
There is a sense of familiarity but at the back of the mind, you realize that it would end one day.
I suppose this is really taking the 7 habits literally, begin with the end in mind.
To quote from Trevvy, where the author in turn quoted from Before Sunrise:
the ideal relationship was two intense years, with clean breaks, fresh starts, friends for life, something like that. It's like if you knew your relationship had to end in two years, there would be no room for fighting or wasted time. There could be more love and appreciation for one another. ... If everyone you met you knew was going to die at midnight, you would be a much more compassionate person.
Perhaps it is that relationships work best if we don't drag them on unnecessarily; if we step into them with the primary objective of getting the most out of it, emotionally, spiritually, in whichever ways, even if that means letting the relationship be short-lived. Too often we're more preoccupied with how far and long the relationship will go instead of making every second of it worthwhile and letting things run their natural course.
Indeed, if the relationship couldn’t be salvaged then really it is time to move on. No point wasting each other's time. But I do believe that breaking up should be the last option, not the first. All effort to save the relationship should be tried before finally waving the white flag.
The main thing is that you have given whatever you can into the relationship to make it work. This is totally different from dating someone and dumping him when someone better comes along.
Ultimately, I think what the author is trying to say that relationships have its own expiry date too, be it a break-up or death. Nothing is permanent; treasure every moment together and a break up could be the best, no matter how difficult, thing to do.