The Revolving Door of Relationships

Understanding that relationships bend and sway, as well as cease to exist and re-animate throughout the lifelong psychosocial stages of development.

The Revolving Door of Relationships

As we progress through life, no matter what stage we are at, we find ourselves making new connections, new friendships, new relationships, and at the same time, letting go of old relationships that are toxic to our mental health.

A young version of yourself may believe this is your fault, but in fact, it has nothing to do with you. In general, it has everything to do with the balance of life. The key to maintaining healthy relationships lie within the shared interests and morals of two individuals. As we age, our interests, as well as our belief systems modify, bend, twist, multiply, diminish, and change. This is what causes some relationships to follow suit. It is not a sign of failure to have a relationship change form, or even cease to exist any further. It is about what is right for us as we are currently pursuing our goals and dreams at what point in life we are facing. 

For example, during our early twenties, we are focusing on autonomy, building a career, trying out new relationships and exploration. Towards the end of our twenties we are solidifying our impact in our career field, searching for relationships that are less about enjoying the moment and more about enjoying the future. Our prefrontal cortex in our brains are finalizing development and are shifting the focus of our attention to long term goals, long term relationships, long term careers, and overall prosperity throughout life. 

The twenties are a difficult time for almost everyone. There, I said it. Unfortunately there is no guidebook, and your mother probably never told you any of this either. If you are fortunate enough to have a mother who did prepare you for the dreaded twenties (almost mirroring the terrible two’s) then you are one step ahead of the rest of us who have to figure it out on our own… even though in the end, we all must figure it out on our own in order to figure out who we truly are, what we truly desire, and what our impact in this world and our lifetime will be. 

Good and bad news, regardless of our successful or unsuccessful completion of our twenties, we will continue as human beings to re-define our relationships with others throughout our lifespan. Why is this something that seems to cause a lot of discord? It is purely based in change, and as we change, so do our surroundings. We choose to either let others define our surroundings, or more commonly, define our surroundings ourselves. As we mature, through each psychosocial stage of development, we are faced with different challenges to overcome. Whether we are in early adulthood facing love versus isolation, or maturity facing ego integrity versus despair, we are ever evolving and thus our friendships will continue to evolve as well. Erik Erikson provides more thorough information regarding the psychosocial stages of development, and his teachings can be used as a reference guide to aid in moving through all phases of life.

Changes often are consciously or unconsciously sparked within our lives. We either choose to make drastic change, or change occurs due to our evolving perception and guidelines of who we wish to be, what goals we wish to accomplish, and what inner persona we identify with. I can firmly say that I believe no one person is the same person they are now compared to the person they were a decade ago. Because of this, we are granted the beautiful opportunity to bend, reflect, and mature based on our surroundings as well as our intrapersonal belief system and our and interpersonal experiences and background. 

No one person enters our life for absolute zero purpose. This is the core belief that all humans are interconnected in one way or another for one purpose or another. All of life is a lesson to learn, and as we work through each stage of development, often the lesson is learning to let go of what is not beneficial to us anymore, and focus on what is beneficial and supportive of where we are mentally, at that point. Just as beautiful as life is with the ratio of yin to yang, is the beauty where individuals may re-enter our lives years past our parting. When we harness the ability to accept that each individual relationship has its own lifecycle, as well as its own energy, we are more equipped with the mental framework and outlook to positively engage in new and prosperous relationships, as well as new dynamics with old relationships.