Grown people know that loving feelings do not justify turning off your brain. The fact that you feel love for someone does not necessarily mean that they are ready, willing and able—i.e. qualified—for a relationship with you (or vice versa). Being Grown also means that your love does not give you the power to make them so. In the Grown Zone, we measure the quality of a relationship not by “feelings,” which are often wrong and notoriously unreliable, but by outcomes. Either they are healthy for both parties—sexually, emotionally, physically and financially—or they’re not. Once relationship outcomes are deemed to be unhealthy, the relationship should immediately and permanently change, or it should end. That’s what break ups are for. Here’s how to enter, engage and end relationships in the Grown Zone:
Grown people know that loving feelings do not justify turning off your brain.
Accept going in that a new relationship probably won’t last. Why? Because the evidence is slapping us all in the face: most romantic relationships, including half of marriages, end. Also, at least one partner in most relationships is dissatisfied. Instead of focusing on identifying or trying to create a lifelong relationship, it’s far more important to pursue healthy relationships—as defined by your own standard of self-love and good treatment. It’s also time we get smarter about what it takes to have healthy relationships, so that we can do a better job of recognizing healthy relationship prospects, and begin to have more successful relationship experiences, regardless of how long they last.
When they choose to end the relationship, Grown folks do so with minimal drama.
Finally, when they choose to end the relationship, Grown folks do so with minimal drama. Allowing break-ups to become adversarial—with a winner and a loser—or placing blame, is both counterproductive and unnecessary. Approach every possible romantic relationship with a “reason, season, lifetime mentality,” knowing that most of the people you meet will be for a reason, even fewer for a season, and less than you ever imagined, for a lifetime. Counting on every relationship candidate to be a permanent partner—or worse, treating them as such prematurely—is a recipe for disaster