Last week, we talked about the need for “good friends.” Today, let’s back up a bit, and ask the question: Do you decide whether to embark upon a relationship because of your judgment of how long it may last?
We might as well get used to the fact that, with our increasing mobility, temporary relationships are here to stay. Temporary relationships should not be confused with long-term relationships that can be uncommitted. A short-term relationship can be committed, for there are other dimensions to commitment besides time.
Because temporary relationships have a beginning and an end, they have a special value. They require us to telescope our time and shed superficiality to concentrate on what we can share in the short time we have. We can be free of culturally predetermined preconceptions about each other, and free of role-playing.
And, even though we may not have a long period of time to spend developing and nurturing the relationship, we can still be committed to conducting it with integrity and full respect for each other’s values. Our short-term relationships can be much more than superficial encounters. They can bring us something of great value from the process of mutual sharing and discovery. They can bring us lessons in a moment, that last a lifetime.
These things are essential in any meaningful relationship and meaning need not be purely a function of time. We don’t need to “short change” relationships that are “short-term.” When we do, the only short-changing is what we are doing to our own growing and learning. It’s about finding the meaning in the moments we do share.