The first time I heard it I was so taken aback that anyone would say something so stupid....my first thought was "Why wouldn't we make it? And why would you ever say that to someone?"
After the initial shock, and as I found other people who were retarded enough to think this was something you should ever say to someone about ANYTHING, let alone marriage, I began to wonder the same things that you did.
Now people will say things like that about my career, but it no longer bothers me. I know that I determine my own "success" and that's all that matters. But it still gives me *headdesk* moments to realize that people think that that is an acceptable sentiment. Or that they can quantify your success.
Because in response to your last question, I think that what determines the the success of a relationship is different for each. So their sentiment is just even more retarded.
For me success in a relationship really is hard to quantify. It's honest and open communication and being able and willing to work through the big issues, while enjoying the most insignificant of moments. You must have more good days than bad. It's.....hard to really say what makes me think that a relationship is worth it or if it's doing good. It's just something that you feel/know. And I imagine that others have different standards, things they pay attention to. Things that are important to them. To me, its having my Sos let me in. We need to be able to laugh and talk. Big stuff, little stuff. If I feel like I'll be there for them no matter what, then there has to be something there. There's more, but it's just so hard to quantify. Success has to be judged moment by moment, sometimes. But that's all you can do. Success is not really something you arrive at, with anything, it's just something you keep working toward and journeying to. (And I'm getting goddamn tired of talking about this.)
Do you have an answer to your question? Do you have things that makes you think of "success"?
I guess the reciprocal point I was getting at - is if and when the relationship comes to an end, for whatever reason, does that mean that it has "failed"?
Is the opposite of sucess, failure? If I'm with someone for five years, and it's just not working any more, have we failed?
I think as long as you came away with some good memories, or acomplished something the relationship was set up for - training together or something, then it is still a sucess.
The other idotic thing I think about that phrase, is it doesn't say how long or what it means to suceed.
Like your career - if you end up doing what you're doing until you make some large figure X, and then quit what you're doing and invest the X into real estate, you haven't failed at the career. If you decide you're not making enough at it, and want to do something else, you haven't really failed.
I don't think agreeing to disagree and that a relationship is not working is nessicarily a failure.
My mother would never let me say I'd "passed" or "failed" a course. She said you either did what you needed to do to move on, or you didn't. That's not failing. You learned something, you may not have completed everything you should have, but you get another shot. (Perhaps elsewhere.)
I guess the other thing is I don't like the attitude of someone saying, "I've been divorced twice, and am working on my third failed marriage." Um, what? If all your marriages were such an utter waste of your time, why did you wake up each morning? Presumably you learned something, and there was something fulifilling and happy about the relationship, at least at first. And you don't lose that when you move on.
PS: I was shocked initially too, it seemed like we were sort of supposed to mourn the enivitable end, at the bouncy NRE start of the relationship, and that seemed ass backwards.
Is it supposed to be some sort of realism statment, to deflate the NRE?
Why can't we just say, "You guys seem happy" and leave it at that. Celebrate the relationship, regardless of if or how long it lasts.
Our society, being captalistic and indiviualistic, has a lot of cracked out stuff about forming communities.
We seem to be indoctrined with a lot of stuff designed to constantly remind us we are all destined to die cold and alone, regardless of how much fun we try to stick in the middle.
I prefer the veiw of being surrounded with family and friends of my choosing.
*nods vigorously* I believe in your mom's philosophy a whole lot. The problem is that I believe in it, but find it hard to practice it.
But I get better.
One thing becoming poly teaches us, or at least makes us aware of, is just how much negitive bullshit and non-self-actulizing scripts we've been exposed to through society, the media, and our folks all our lives.
"Be positive, and independant, but not too far out of the status quo or you'll wind up a spinster," etc.
It's becoming aware of those things, and slowly being able to say, "Ya, know, I'm just not going to buy into that crap" any more that's the hard part.
It took me a long time to get out of the automatic comparing mindset, "Robin's so this, but Dave is so this!" Well, duh, they're different people. But I can enjoy and love both of them (at the same time!) This isn't a romcom, I don't have to chose at the end of two hours who I want to spend my life with. I get to be with both.