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Relationships Of Convenience

Updated on December 3, 2014

Since I've been in two relationships of convenience I believe I have some insight into this type of relationship. A relationship or marriage of convenience can be defined as any that meets the needs of both parties at any given, particular time. When the needs of both parties are no longer met the relationship ends.

In my case, my first relationship of convenience came about when my then boyfriend and I decided to move into a house together because he needed a place to live and my driver license was on suspension. I know that's not a very good reason to move in together but as one who has never been lucky in love the idea of someone actually being willing to live with me thrilled me. How could it not? At nearly 40 and never married, none of the men I loved returning my love and a series of bad relationships/friendships under my belt I had all but given up on love and ever finding someone to truly love me, this situation seemed ideal. It provided convenience, companionship, friendship, a cure for the loneliness and someone to have fun with and do things with so I was no longer doing things by myself nor he. This relationship worked so well for the both of us that we considered ourselves married and introduced ourselves as a married couple and became quite involved with other couples. This relationship would have continued to work for us had his alcoholism and my desire to live half the year on the road traveling not have gotten the better of us. It finally ended with us continuing to be friends and doing things together. We just don't live in the same house.

Now this type of relationship can work well for many people. There are the pros and cons to these kinds of arrangements. Some elderly people get into them out of a need to not be lonely and have someone to be there for them. Other people(much younger people) just kind of end up in them without ever realizing this is the kind of relationship they are in. And while in these kinds of situations much time is lost that could be spent with someone that truly cares about your feelings and truly loves you without reservation. Now for elderly people time is not on their side so it could be considered wasted time searching for that one special person and often as is the case with elderly folks that one special person has already passed on to the other side so their search is over. They simply want someone to spend their remaining years with and both parties know that it will probably never flourish past a good, caring friendship and they are happy with that.

But what about younger people that simply have never been lucky in love and don't feel they ever will be? Is a relationship of convenience worthy of your time? Again, there are pros and cons. Some people have been hurt so badly that this kind of relationship is as far as they will ever go. For those of you out there my suggestion would be to find someone on the same page as yourself. Don't delude some poor soul into thinking you may at some point truly commit to that person and love them. That is hurtful and downright immoral. You can never truly commit to someone you don't truly love. This isn't to say that both parties can't remain monogamous to each other but they will never truly commit their heart and for some this is just fine. If it's fine then by all means go with it. Just make sure the other person is on board and if at any point you realize the other person is developing feelings don't stay in the relationship because it is convenient. Be prepared to walk away because it is now apparent the other person has the ability to love someone beyond convenience.

Then there are those relationships of convenience you may not be particularly fond of being in but circumstances put you in the situation. This brings me to my second relationship of convenience which I have yet to untangle myself from. This involved me coming back to my home state to rebuild a house left to me and having no place to live while renovations were being done and an invitation from a friend of my ex's to live with him while I took care of my business affairs. While at the outset this seemed like a good arrangement I didn't bargain on us being attracted to each other and ultimately me developing deep feelings for this man. I have yet to define what I feel as love because I see no future with this man and by not admitting what I feel will somehow make it easier when we part. If what I feel is truly love. I've done a good job of squashing any feelings I'm developing. But that doesn't change the fact that a part of me will hurt when this arrangement comes to an end.

After posting on a forum I was adeptly told that what I was involved in was essentially a business arrangement while others quite harshly informed me that I needed to get out of this arrangement even if it meant living in a house with no toilet or living in my car. My therapist has another idea and that is to navigate through it without running away from it. I can't say either option is the healthiest and I suppose I will learn something in the end.

Unfortunately, for some like myself the true learning curve is learning to trust even less than you did before, being more frivolous, superficial and thoughtless. These kinds of relationships breed only thinking of oneself, one's own needs and what feels good. In no circumstance can this be considered healthy or morally correct.

Is there ever an instance where this relationship can truly work? That's a tough one. It all depends on the people involved. First, the two must have mutual respect and trust for each other. And even then it actually working is up for debate. And whether it's healthy is another debate.

Two people involved in this kind of scenario must make a conscious effort to be giving, caring and love each other. While the two may not be in love they can love each other. This takes much more work than actually being in love. Falling in love is a state of being comprised of chemistry, attraction and hormones which wears off just as infatuation does which some define as also falling in love and we all know infatuation doesn't last.

One of the last pitfalls of a relationship of convenience is that it may lead to friends with benefits. This may seem like a fun friendship but it is devastatingly damaging and you owe it to yourself to avoid these kinds of relationships/friendships like the plague. In the end they only lead to heartache and broken friendships. There is nothing healthy about this type of relationship. There are some out there that want this type and I imagine can make it work if both parties are clear that the relationship begins and ends with sex and there will be nothing more and break it off at the first sight of one becoming more attached than the other. The problem is that some make a new relationship this kind without ever telling the other person involved and if he/she can get what he/she wants(meaning sex) without sharing his/her true feelings that person will do just that. This person will continue to engage in a no strings attached affair without divulging their true intent which is to get sex without commitment. This is particularly unethical and the person doing this has zero integrity let alone any worth. Because honesty is a must in any relationship be it friendship, love or something else.

The good news is that a person can spot this kind of relationship for what it is. Possibly not before being intimate with the person but it is never too late to end the affair for what it is. It is an affair based on sexual gratification that you may or may not have been told about. If you were not told end the relationship immediately, cease contact if possible(if you are neighbors, coworkers or worse roommates you can still end it and set clear boundaries and consequences for breaking those boundaries), tell the person how you feel about his/her bad behavior(it is okay to be angry) and most importantly stick to your guns and don't allow the sex without commitment to rear it's ugly head again. This one is the most important and the hardest to stick to but will be the most worthwhile for you in the end.

To wrap up, my opinion is to avoid a relationship of convenience if at all possible. It isn't based on any real feelings or commitment and certainly not love. That said, Good Luck!

Do you think a relationship of convenience is healthy?

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