A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime


I sat with a single woman the other day who used the phrase, ‘A reason, a season, a lifetime’ to refer to the different categories of men she was meeting. I had never heard the phrase before. She explained that the eligible people she was meeting always fall into one of the three categories.

People who are in the  ‘reason’ category would get together for a reason any reason be it desire, a passing fling, a momentary rush of pleasure, lust, curiosity, etc., etc. According to my patient ‘reasons’ are pretty common and short-lived. If you are looking for a ‘reason’ that shouldn’t be to difficult to find. She told me she was looking for a ‘lifetime’ so she wasn’t really interested in men in the ‘reason’ category.

She then told me about eligible people who fall into the ‘season’ category. These are people who will come into your life for a ‘season’ then leave. Like seasonal plants they bloom for a while then wilt. The best example of this phenomena I could think of would be the summer love. I can remember as a young man falling in love with a young woman at the beginning of a summer and knowing in the back of my mind that the relationship would have a three month expiration date on it. Regardless, the experience was wonderful, bitter-sweet, and cherished as a memory of young love.

These kinds of seasonal relationships can be pretty pleasurable and meaningful, especially if the time limit is accepted by both parties when it inevitably arrives. According to my patient, love life ‘seasons’ are harder to find than ‘reasons.’ Unfortunately they can also be a bit more painful. I figure there would be a greater feeling of loss involved because more time was spent together developing a relationship during the course of the season.

The final category, the people who would stay in a relationship for a ‘lifetime,‘ my patient said they were the hardest to find. People in this category know they want a life-long partner. I’m an optimist. I believe that membership in this category gets broadcasted to other people, if you are truly certain that you want a life partner. I can remember when the ‘turn’ from reasons and seasons to lifetime took place in my own thoughts and feelings.

I had spent a lot of years looking for reasons and seasons. I can remember the point where I got sick of always searching. Even though I practiced a form of ‘serial monogamy’ before marriage (definition: 1-3 year monogamous relationships one after the other), it seemed that in my mind I was still searching. At the point where I realized I had grown tired of all the short-term relationships I was having, I literally stopped and became focused on the, what felt like at the time, a very private feeling of wanting something more.

I personally thought of this in terms of ‘getting too old’ to keep running around jumping from one love relationship to another. I was nearing 40 and the prospect of chasing reasons and seasons into the next decade and beyond just didn’t feel right for me. Funny how I got married shortly after this ‘turn’ in my thinking and feeling.

Maybe what happens in your mind gets reflected in some mysterious way in what you experience in your life. Imagine if we all have a ‘self-creative function’ in our minds that semi-consciously creates in our lives what is deepest in our thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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