Which is better for life: having many short term relationships or one long term relationship?

I'm not sure how I found my way to this question. But perhaps I can share my perspective. I have barely ever been single in my life. Let me explain. I met a girl named Sue in high school. I was 16. I loved her and we were together on and off through high school and a little beyond for about 4 years. I was young and stupid and something of a bad boy. So I screwed up the relationship. I went 3000 miles west to start a career. There I met Cyndi who would become my wife. We were together and happy for 20 years. We had a child together. Cyndi had a terminal illness and passed away. At that point it was just our 15 year old daughter and I. I wondered how I would manage as a single father. I had spent nearly all my life with a woman as a partner.

I reached out to one of my oldest friends whom I hadn't seen in person in ~22 years. It was none other than my high school sweetheart Sue. We lived on opposite coasts. She had had been married and had kids about the same age as my daughter. I had not realized Sue was single but when she told me we decided we should meet in person after decades not seeing each other. I came to New York City on a "business trip". She picked me up at the airport and took me to Manhattan where I was staying. Seeing her brought back a flood of feelings. We went out that night and saw a broadway show, had late night meal at a diner and talked for hours. After that it took just a few months before we realized we should be together again. My daughter and I moved 3000 miles to the east coast.

My point: Apparently I am most happy when I am in a long term relationship. I had a long and happy marriage. When single again I found myself right back to where I had started my love life. Am I happy? Yes. I absolutely love having a lovely woman to share my life with.

That said, I don't believe that it always works that way. Some people are unhappy in their relationships. They should do what makes them happy. Relationships work best because both people want it to work. Feeling like it has to work for some other reason is not likely going to make you happy.

One final point: to be happy you have to want to be happy. I want to be happy, and I want Sue to be happy. Cyndi had told me she was happy. I often think about what I can do to make my partner happy because that will make me happy. Relationships are work. It's fun work most of the time, but it's work. Decide what you want and then make it happen.


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