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Is Your Relationship Just a Waste of Time? When You Are Not Going Anywhere in Your Relationship ...

Am I just wasting my time?

One of the most often heard complaints following a break up is: "I can't believe I wasted my time with that guy". How do you know when you have wasted time? What does it even mean to have wasted time with a guy? When do you cut your losses? These are the questions that plague working women in search of that special romantic connection. While I definitely question the nature of the question, sure, I'll bite. Let's explore its answers. Shall we?

The question "am I just wasting my time" implies an agenda in relationships. Our culture has taught us to ask the question "where is this relationship going?" We ask it as if there is a destination. For most of us, that "destination" is marriage. Those of us in a marriage, however, know that marriage is hardly a destination, but more a point of origin. With that sort of logic, then I guess one could come to the conclusion that "wasting time" would constitute anything that is not conducive to reaching the destination/ point of origin. By that reasoning, any relationship that doesn't result in marriage would be a waste of time. Furthermore, if the relationship ends after marriage, in divorce, then one might also say that it turned out the relationship was a waste of their time. Presumably, this is because when the marriage ends, one finds themselves back in a position of needing to once again achieve a relationship. There is an exception though. If a marriage ends as the result of the death of one of the two partners, despite the lack of a life partner going forward and the presumed need to find another, no one will say "I wasted my time with that guy."

If you haven't grasped it yet, I don't actually believe that any relationship, as a whole, is a waste of time. Thomas Edison is credited with saying that he invented thousands of ways not to make a light bulb. In other words, he tried a number of things that simply didn't work, but every time he tried something that didn't work, he could cross that thing off of his list as a possibility. Eventually, as we all know, Edison got his light bulb and thousands of other patents to his name. By some accounts, he spent most of his life wasting his time, and yet, in the end, he still emerged as arguably the greatest inventor ever. It's impossible to waste time in a relationship, because even from the failed ones, we can find ways not to have a failed relationship. Furthermore, I am not even sure failure is the right word. That implies that there is something wrong with one party, the other party or both. It's my contention that both parts are fine. They simply don't fit together well.

We own a BMW and a Nissan. The parts are not interchangeable. If I try using the parts from one on the other, I will meet with impossible and potentially disastrous results. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with one piece or the other. It simply means the parts don't fit together correctly.

To use another analogy, our relationships are sort of like dancing with multiple partners. Sometimes we dance well together and sometimes we don't. it's even possible that we would dance well together for a time, but that at some point the song might end and we might once again find ourselves in need of a dance partner. The dances that came before were not failed attempts at dancing (unless of course he did the "chicken arms" move") They were enjoyable and nice dances in and of their own right. In fact, the only way I could conceive of time being wasted is if we continue to dance when the song has ended. A dance with no music is like cake with no sweetness.

Dancing to no music sounds like a silly thing to do, yet, when it comes to relationships, for some reason our desire to stay within the norm, and to hold onto the things we find familiar often leaves us dancing long after the song has ended.

You are in a relationship and you are wondering if it's a waste of time, if it is going anywhere. Only you can answer that, but a key indicator is determining whether or not the band is still playing. Is there still music? If not, my dear, then for the love of God! Stop dancing! May your dance card be filled with songs that never end!

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