Not every relationship will last forever, so how can we know if ours is one that will?
We go into every new romantic relationship hoping for the best – we want to make things work, to have invested our time and energy in a relationship that will withstand the tests of life, to know that we have found the right man to marry.
But even if we have the best intentions and give a relationship our best try, some relationships aren’t necessarily meant to last forever. Some of the guys we date, even if we do love them, aren’t the man we should marry – and this isn’t always easy to accept.
It’s painful to recognize that, in every circumstance, the guy we’re dating is either in our life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. But acknowledging this can actually help us go into relationships, or approach our current relationship, with managed expectations and a clear understanding of what we’re looking for – leading to fewer heartbreaks for us.
So how can we tell? How do we know if the guy we’re with is the one we’ll marry, or if he’s really in our life for a specific reason, or a fleeting season?
If He’s Here for a Reason
Even the relationships that don’t work out have a purpose. It’s not so much that “everything happens for a reason,” but that we can find meaning, gain insight, and learn lessons from every relationship, even from not being in that relationship anymore.
You might currently be seeing a guy who’s in your life for a reason if you’ve been left with a nagging unanswered desire, wishing both he and the relationship were different. And the longer you’re together, the more you’ve become convinced that he’s not the one.
Guys who are in your life for a reason are the ones who, once the relationship eventually ends, you walk away feeling like you learned something really valuable — whether he taught you exactly what you don’t want in a husband through his toxic behavior, or exactly what you do hope for in a husband due to his missing that quality. You now have a much clearer understanding of what you need in a man.
If He’s Here for a Season
There are some seasons of life in which a particular relationship makes sense. Maybe you’ve just started a new college with your boyfriend from high school and having him around makes you feel safer in such a change-filled time, or maybe you were first attracted to him because of how different he was from your ex, who scarred you just a few months ago.
You could be with a guy who’s here for a season if, while there’s nothing “wrong” with him or the relationship, you’ve consistently felt like something is missing from the relationship, and like your lives don’t feel like they’re moving in the same direction.
With guys who are here for a season, it might feel strange to end things, especially if the relationship has been technically good, or even just fine. But the reality is that some of the relationships we find ourselves in are really there to help us transition or withstand a particular period of life, not to last for its entirety.
If He’s Here for a Lifetime
Then, you find him: the man you could actually see yourself with for years to come. You see something special in him that you haven’t seen in anyone before, and you know you wouldn’t come across someone like him again – he’s the kind of guy you meet once in a lifetime. And you think he could stick around for a lifetime, too.
If you’re currently with a guy who’s here for a lifetime, things won’t necessarily be a cakewalk, but you will feel like the stories you’re telling with your lives make sense together. You might hope to have a son like him one day, you’ll feel valued and respected by him, and you won’t secretly wish you were with someone else. It’s not so much that everything about the relationship comes easily, but that you know the two of you could face any challenge and season together, and you’d be better off for it.
Even the relationships that don’t last forever have something meaningful to offer us, whether that’s a life lesson, a clearer understanding of what we need from a significant other, or a helpful transition through a season of life. In the end though, all of these relationships will lead you to the guy who’s meant to stay around for a lifetime.
Love Evie? Sign up for our newsletter and get curated content weekly!