Despite its lack of permanency, the holiday decor was still beautiful. This theme was echoed to me on Sun when I went to the theatre to see "Call Me By Your Name". I should probably warn of possible 'spoilers', but if you know anything at all about the movie then what I'm going to share isn't really a 'spoiler'. In the film Oliver is a graduate student spending 6 weeks as an intern for a professor at his family's summer home. The professor's 17 year old son Elio develops an attraction to Oliver who eventually gives in to Elio's desire. (All of that is shown or insinuated in the trailer below.)
He tells Elio that he is very lucky to have had such a special friendship, perhaps more, with Oliver. He says that many people do not experience something that beautiful their entire lives. And while he is now feeling the pain of loss, he should not try to repress or blank it out. He tells Elio that it is better to feel than to not feel. Only by feeling something wonderful can you also understand the feeling of pain. He cautions Elio never to choose feeling nothing over feeling pain. The fact that something wonderful ends does not negate it being wonderful. Its non-permanency does not make it a failure.
I found this to be a profound declaration; one that I've struggled to verbalize over the years.
Those of us who have been in relationships that didn't end up being permanent can still remember the good times in those relationships. No doubt we laughed, loved, and learned in those relationships. But because they weren't permanent, the world has a way of considering them "failed relationships" which is just not true. We have still experienced something wonderful even if it wasn't permanent, regardless of whether its end was by choice or by circumstances.
I believe this a key to not regretting the past. We are not failures and our relationships were not failed as long as we know there was goodness, fun, or something positive experienced.
In my case my 1st relationship (if you want to call it that) was not balanced. I was more smitten and willing to move-heaven-and-earth than him, which was not his fault. But we had some good times, and its end was by circumstances. But what I learned was that a long distance relationship was not for me. I needed someone who'd be physically present the majority of the time.
In my 2nd relationship I wanted to be 'out and proud' and strive for greater authenticity, but he was satisfied living a quiet and inconspicuous life. I felt I just couldn't compromise, and he felt he didn't want to, so it ended by choice. But we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs! I learned much about life and about myself. It was a time of huge personal growth for me. What I took away from this relationship was that I now knew who I wanted to become and what I would accept and not accept from a partner.
Neither of these were 'failed relationships' because they weren't permanent. I have memories of wonderfulness experienced in both of these relationships, and both were stepping stones on my path.