Shared “History” Does Not Imply “Happiness”

As the Earth spins on its axis, every creature on the planet must learn to adapt in order to survive the changes that have occurred. On a smaller scale, as human beings we too must do what is best for ourselves if we want to keep on living — even if that means letting go of what is familiar to us and accepting that our lives will not always be what they were.

I’ve focused on change a lot in this blog: a change in location, a change in circumstances, a change in ourselves. But what happens when we pick up on the changes in those around us? What happens when we realize that the people we’ve known for years are no longer the ones who make us happy? What happens when our memories and nostalgia are eclipsed by our differences in interests and behaviors? And what happens when we don’t like what we see?

All too often, people hold on tightly to relationships simply because of the length they have lasted so far. “She may seem selfish and manipulative these days,” one might say, “but we’ve known each other since kindergarten, and deep down she isn’t actually like that.” One girl may fight with her boyfriend every day, then argue, “We’ve been dating for two years and we’re in love,” even though she stresses out over the relationship constantly. More and more, we find ourselves defending those close to us long after we’ve drifted apart, when the only thread holding the friendship together at that point is the highly coveted Past. The trouble is, we’re often too afraid to let that thread go.

We tend to place a lot of importance on early experiences, especially firsts, because those are the ones that helped us to grow up before we even knew we could grow up. It makes sense! Connections to those from our past allow us to hold on to a simpler, more innocent time in our lives, before we had the Real World and its tragedies to worry about. — Tweet this!

And it’s not like pop culture helps us at all — movies and television seem to worship this concept of “together once, together forever.” For instance, on The OC, nerdy but super cute Seth Cohen remained in love with the beautiful and popular Summer Roberts since she read her poem about mermaids to their class in third grade, even though she hardly even spoke to him until their sophomore year of high school. Don’t get me wrong — I love Seth and Summer, but this is just another example of longevity’s importance in the media.

A shared history can bring people close together, but it doesn’t always have to. We have to remember that the fact that we have known each other for a long time doesn’t mean we need to accept a friendship or relationship that will never be what it once was. Sometimes, we’re scared to let go of what’s familiar to us — we’re afraid of falling out of our comfortable habits — either because we fear the unknown or because we fear that we will never find someone else.

I’m not saying that you should drop every relationship that’s ever lasted in your life. But when a friendship or relationship starts to do more bad than good, it’s time to let go. It’s time to free ourselves from the relationships that no longer make us happy and find others that will. 🙂

7 Replies to “Shared “History” Does Not Imply “Happiness””

  1. I agree. We attach ourselves to so many things and relationships are no different. I think people live day to day without ever fully realizing that the relationship they are in does not benefit them.

    Of course you realize that all of us that read this will now have to start a singles club. Haha.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Paul! I do think that relationships can be beneficial but that too many people stay with significant others who are NOT good for them without even really realizing it. Maybe as a society we base too much of our self-worth on our relationships with other people, which is actually quite the opposite of what our self-worth should be based on, but I think that people need to develop the relationship they have with themselves first and foremost.

      Haha, I’m afraid I can’t participate in the whole singles club idea, since I’ve been in a relationship for the past three months or so and my boyfriend would probably be a little insulted! But in the past I’ve definitely been one to hold on simply for comfort/longevity’s sake, and these days I choose to stay in a relationship because it’s working and because I’m happy, not because of “shared history” or any of that. : )

      Thanks again for the comment!

  2. This is so sad. But true. I’ve actually always thought that some people whom we think have “changed” actually never did truly change – they are just the kind of people who kinda “absorb” the personality of whomever they become friends with next, or, in the boyfriend perspective, they acted differently from the beginning just to make a good impression. It’s really sad because most of us, including myself, have had such a hard time letting go not only because of the memories but simply because of the time that had already been built. 🙁

    1. I totally agree with this. I’ve had friends who took on different personas to fit whomever they were spending the most time with. I remember a friend in high school who wanted to be a cheerleader when we were close friends, then a “Southern” girl for a while with another friend, and then some kind of hipster. Boyfriends definitely have an impact as well… and I hate seeing friends change over a significant other. It’s a really sad thing to watch and unfortunately I think that’s going to be common for our age group, but I agree – it can definitely be painful to let go of something you thought would last forever.

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