Four years ago, my daughter broke up with her boyfriend of over a year—this is a loose summary of our conversation three weeks later. He’d just apologized and asked if it was okay to speak with her, letting her know that he finally understood what the argument had been about.
MY DAUGHTER: He asked if I had expected him to follow me after our fight. I told him yes. Is that wrong? Have I seen too many romantic movies or something?
ME: Did you ask why he didn’t come after you or call?
MY DAUGHTER: He was respecting my wishes. Now he knows that he’s supposed to fight for me. I mean, isn’t he? I don’t know. I love him, but I don’t think we can get back together. I don’t trust that he feels the same way I do.
ME: Well, you need to talk with him again. I know you. And you’re not going to let this go. You’ll spend too much time wondering if you did everything possible to make it work. Did you do everything? Did you share how you feel?
MY DAUGHTER: No. But I’ve said everything before.
ME: I don’t think you were completely honest before. You never told him about the problems you’ve had or the sacrifices you make in order to see him. So how’s he supposed to appreciate that…if he doesn’t know?
My daughter called him with a list of what she thought was working in their relationship and what she thought wasn’t working and ended by asking what he’d heard this time and also asking if he’d been completely honest with her. Afterward, they took their relationship one day at a time, dated again with no pressure. In case you’re wondering about their outcome:
The point of my story is that real people seek a happily-ever-after all the time. Is it a fairy-tale story? No. Real life is full of the good and the bad. It’s what makes us stronger. It’s how we keep growing—separately and together. “And they lived happily ever after” indicates an end. Life is a series of stories, segments that come to a close, but baby…it ain’t over till it’s over.