Death isn't the metric for relationship success

Sometimes, even the experts get it wrong.

Sometimes, even the experts get it wrong.

Dan Savage likes to say, “Every relationship you will ever have will fail… until one doesn't.” This is completely true, if your idea of a successful relationship is one where the two, or twelve, of you love each other forever until you die.

For the rest of us, we will have several successful relationships throughout our lives. These relationships will be short and plentiful, but they will play a huge part in making us successful in love and life. After all, practice does make perfect.

Short-term relationships can be anything from a one-night stand to a two-week summer fling to a two-year flirt fest. All of these are valuable, substantial and shant be regarded as throwaway experiences. Each one has something to teach you, no matter how brief.

A man or woman on the elevator inquires about your scent. Flattered, you flash a smile. You tell the story and just as you are getting to the final chapter, the elevator doors open to your floor. You hold the doors for a moment to finish, step out, turn and watch as the doors close on their smiling face. What you just experienced was a successful and very short-term relationship with a beautiful stranger.

While you may be tempted to label such a moment as just a compliment paid, it was in fact much more.

For a moment consider this was your first time using said cologne. You now know that, to at least one person, the scent was intoxicating enough to warrant a compliment. At the very least, you could say this was an exercise in flirtation and a verification of your general sexiness. Isn’t it enough that this moment made your day? Why do you need more to qualify it as success?

I do not want to over-sell these experiences to you. This moment could make your day and be forgotten the next. On the other hand, you could remember that moment in the elevator with that beautiful stranger every time you mist yourself. It is all a matter of how you allow these experiences affect you. In my case, one of these relationships has stayed with me for the six years following its end.

I… well, let us not be coy. I had a fuck buddy who has forever changed not only how I view myself but how I view sex and relationships as a whole. His name was Chris; I never knew his last name. To be honest I didn’t know much about him at all. We met through a mutual friend and had a series amazingly hot one-night stands over a four year period.

It was a strange unspoken arrangement, where in if we happened to see each other on any given day he would magically show up at my door in the middle of the night. We would play around, kiss and lick and explore each other in ways I have not, as of yet, experienced again. He would leave me more than satisfied, anxiously awaiting our next passing.

He made me feel sexy and desirable. I was a fat awkward teenager so that was a big deal for me. Keep in mind, this person was the equivalent of a stranger for four years. Some might say that this was slutty or morally reprehensible, those people are idiots and should be shot. Well, shot or put on an island by their self to rot.

Before I met him, I was not nearly as confident and strong within my sex as I was afterward. To be honest I owe him a great debt, I thank him, and he may never know it. That being said I recognize that I may be glossing the past. But even if he did none of it, he was still a catalyst for me to find these things within myself. Is that not enough?

Relationships being what they are, it is no wonder that so many “fail”. Successful relationships require a lot of compromise and strength that is learned. Until we find someone or a series of someones that we can do that for, it is true that every relationship will “fail”. However if you can learn to appreciate relationships for what they are, learn your lessons, take your lumps and enjoy them while they are there your outlook and definition of success will shift, for the better.

What was your best short-term relationship? I want to know your stories. Share them in the comments below. If you haven’t had one, it’s summer find one! Lurking around every corner, at every concert, pool party, bonfire, or coffee house there may be one waiting for you. Seize the day.

*By the way, I am well aware that Mr. Savage does not view short-term relationships as pointless. I was simply misquoting him to make a point and make this article more SEO friendly. 

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