Is there value (both instrumental and non-instrumental, but especially non-instrumental) in romantic relationships that terminate without having led to marriage or some other form of commitment for life? For instance, some people think such relationships provide opportunities for many goods, while others see such relationships as failures: who is right? Can there be a value (instrumental or non-instrumental?) in having romantic relationships one does not expect to lead to marriage or some other form of commitment for life?
Are these serious questions? I guess someone might consider a past relationship to have "failed" in the sense that it didn't yield everything they might have hoped for, i.e. they are disappointed by how things turned out. But it would seem crazy to think that all impermanent relationships must be unsatisfactory on balance, let alone that they have no value whatsoever. As I wrote last year:
I think it’s a deeply pernicious cultural framework that leads one to only value a romantic partner insofar as they might eventually become one’s future spouse. (Though rarely recognized as such, it’s dehumanizing in much the same way that “using” someone for sex is. Both involve a failure to recognize the intrinsic value of knowing the other person, and hence devalue the relationship.)
What sorts of considerations might lead one to conclude otherwise?