8/30/2012 11:49 AM
Every now and then, I hear about someone entering a relationship that has an expiration date. Maybe it’s someone who is at college and graduating soon. In other cases, one partner is going to have to leave the area within a few months for a job somewhere else. In any case, the limited time relationship, to me, sounds more like a time bomb. Some of what I’ve seen go wrong:
One partner breaks the “pact” to keep things casual.
Usually, when entering an “expiration date” relationship, both participants will say that they are going to keep it light and casual. And then, they’ll proceed to have a lot of sex, spend nearly every night together, go out together a lot… generally, all of the things that cement an infatuation. You do these things because they are fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, in a situation between two highly compatible people, it’s hardly surprising to become emotionally involved.
Or, both partners become more attached than planned, and suddenly you are in a long distance relationship.
I’ve known more than one couple who started off with an expiration date and ended up being unable to break it off. Then, they found themselves in long distance relationships. LDRs can be rewarding, and they can definitely work. But, if the relationship did not start with that scenario, it can be very hard to go from seeing each other regularly to being thousands of miles apart. If you do enter into a relationship with a self-destruct date, it’s probably a good idea to discuss whether a long distance relationship is something either of you would want, and what kinds of terms you’d be up for.
You both decide that LDRs suck, and now someone has to uproot their life.
It can be very hard to be away from someone when you are in a relationship. So, you decide that one of you needs to go to where the other is, even if that place is Anchorage, Alaska, which is where someone I once knew moved to be with his long distance love. He was miserable there, and they wound up leaving the area together less than a year later, at great professional and financial expense.
I have read accounts from people who found the time limit freeing during the actual relationship. There’s no friction over where you see the relationship going long term. No fight about whether you’re obligated to go to a holiday dinner at their parents’ house six months from now, because you will be in Sweden by then. However, this seemed the exception instead of the rule.
Readers, am I missing something? Chime in in the comments with your experience with expiration-date relationships.