This morning I awoke to the news of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum’s loving separation after nine years of marriage. My heart broke for them and their daughter, Everly. A seemingly “perfect” couple decided that love may be taking them in different directions. “Two best friends lovingly deciding to separate” is how I think they put it. So many questions raced through my mind. On screen and in their public life they seemed to have so much love and sexual chemistry. They definitely have money and they never gave me that odd “Hollywood Couple we are faking being in love though we cannot stand each other vibes.” So like what happened? Why did we not see this coming? Better yet why are we so invested in other people’s relationships…whether they are Hollywood couples or not? Could it be that we want to see one success story so that we too can pull through the hardships of long term commitment? We all secretly want to know that it is possible to love forever. Do I believe in eternal love? Yes! But that does not mean that you will be with that person forever. Trust me…I know. June will make it 8 years on and off I have been dating the Ex Factor. Around the 7th year, things got down right uncomfortable…even for our pseudo commitment. We are not married, do not have children together, we don’t even share a dog, and have never lived with each other. I get so much side eyes about the lack of commitment in our commitment that even I started to question our every movement. We don’t look like any other couples I know. We both need so much freedom yet can do monogamy easily. He actually stresses that more than I do. I focus more on improving our communication and working on mastering his love languages. Truth be told, myself and many others are surprised that we made it out of summer 2010. What was suppose to be a summer fling has lasted almost 8 years…and even the years we were not dating…we were still in each other’s lives. I moved 340 miles away for two years and the Ex Factor made sure I never left him behind. He is with me in spirit everywhere I go. But still we look like no other couple (past nor present) that I know. The irony in this is that over the last 8 years we have out lasted every non serious and serious relationships around us. Our love survived a third of my friends’ first marriages. ? Who would have thought that. Yet we aren’t viewed as serious to most folks because we haven’t done the big commitments. For 6 years I agreed with our critics. In this 7th year, however, I started to realize that our differences may be the secret to our longevity. The Ex Factor and I try not to push each other into doing things we aren’t ready for or are uncomfortable with. To be honest, if there’s pushing being done…it’s from me. I push and I push so that we can have some resemblance to thriving couples around us. I push for things that I am not truly ready for. Like I cannot imagine living with any man but if there was one I would try with…it would be the Ex Factor. And because we are both big on emotional and physical space…we would need a big house or apartment. We are real about those things. WE NEED SPACE…I think mainly because our number one relationships are still with ourselves. ?? We want to be true to our individual selves first and foremost…yet sometimes I look around and I see other couples starting way after us and growing much faster. Sometimes it saddens me because I have no guarantees. But then I watched so many of my friends (male and female) go through devastating divorces and reality finally hit me…not all that glitters is gold. This is why we cannot invest in other people’s relationships. No one knows what that couple has endured or how hard they have fought to cling together before they decided to let go. A couple could be perfect on paper and be a disaster in real life. We just never know. Their love ending should say nothing about our own relationships. What blasts one relationship apart may just save another. A storm for some couples may just be a little summer rain for others. THERE IS NO ONE RECIPE TO A SUCCESSFUL LONGTERM RELATIONSHIP! Relationships, much like the human beings in them, are flawed and ever changing. Thus, we should only be investing in our own lives. Cherish the storms you and your significant other made it to the other side of. Live for today the best you can and do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself…as it has always done. Relish in the moments of love you feel. And yes by all means pray for other couples! Remember, however, that there will be breakups and perhaps makeups within all the couples you love. Support them on the sunny and rainy days. And instead of questioning why it did not work out for them, support and respect the couple’s decision to split the best you can. No one is perfect. No relationship is perfect…and if it ever becomes your day to make such a difficult decision…you will want the love, support, and respect from all the people who knew you as a couple. ~KJM on Temptation Tuesday. Here at Kingston Expressions, I am sending love, light, and peace to Channing and Jenna. Also, I am relishing in the fact that the man I love is still in my life and we have been given another day to choose each other…for better or for worse. ?