Permanent Relationships In A Disposable Culture

In A Disposable Culture, How Do We Teach Our Children That Relationships Are Not

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Permanent Relationships In A Disposable Culture

I have a friend (Erin) who went through a painful divorce a few years ago.

Since that time — even though she is an attractive and engaging woman – only in her late 30s — Erin has not gone out on many dates.

It’s not that she couldn’t — she gets asked regularly.

But it’s her children.

Erin is concerned that if her children connect with another man (or worse yet, several other men), only to have him (them) move on, then they will end up seeing relationships as just one more example of a disposable commodity.

What do many people do when their current flat screen TV no longer provides the latest HD images?  They upgrade to a more appealing model.

What do a growing number of people do when their perfectly functioning refrigerator is not as attractive as the alternatives seen repeatedly on HGTV?  They trade it in for the allure of a stainless steel version.

What got Erin to thinking about all this was a comment made by one of her children after spending a weekend with their dad.

Unlike Erin, her former husband has not attempted to restrict his romantic interests, and he has dated several women since the divorce — and many of these women he has dated for several months before the relationship has ended.

As a result, Erin’s children have gotten to know several of these women. 

In the process, they have connected with some of them (obviously, to varying degrees), only to have each of them move on.

This is what Erin’s 14-year old son stated after being with his father for a weekend:

“You know, mom, I think relationships are a lot like that pair of jeans that I wear all the time.  They fit well, they look great, and I love them now.  But I know that eventually I won’t find them as appealing as I do now, and I’ll be out looking for another pair of jeans that I will love just as much as I do these.

“Over the last couple years I’ve been watching dad spending time with lots of different women, sort of trying them on like pairs of jeans.  And he seems to keep trading them in for another model.

 ”Do you think this is this is sort of what happened to you and dad?”

In a disposable culture, it’s a challenge to teach our children that relationships are not.

Unlike Erin, her former husband has not attempted to restrict his romantic interests, and he has dated several women since the divorce — and many of these women he has dated for several months before the relationship has ended.

As a result, Erin’s children have gotten to know several of these women. 

In the process, they have connected with some of them (obviously, to varying degrees), only to have each of them move on.

This is what Erin’s 14-year old son stated after being with his father for a weekend:

“You know, mom, I think relationships are a lot like that pair of jeans that I wear all the time.  They fit well, they look great, and I love them now.  But I know that eventually I won’t find them as appealing as I do now, and I’ll be out looking for another pair of jeans that I will love just as much as I do these.

“Over the last couple years I’ve been watching dad spending time with lots of different women, sort of trying them on like pairs of jeans.  And he seems to keep trading them in for another model.

 ”Do you think this is this is sort of what happened to you and dad?”

In a disposable culture, it’s a challenge to teach our children that relationships are not.

Psychology Today: Here to Help

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One thought on “Permanent Relationships In A Disposable Culture

  1. This article really got me thinking. Excellent writing by the way. It does seem like relationships have become as disposable as yesterdays left over sandwich. I think we are sending a lot of mixed signals to our children and I don’t know the answer. I very much like this article.

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