Relationships are often about fulfilling a need. Well, at least this is how they are often demonstrated or advertised. Then it is all much different when we actually enter into a committed relationship. We quickly learn that our needs are not always met, their needs are not always met, and there is conflict along with days when we may not even like our significant other all that much. This, is the nature of real-life relationships, so far from those glued-at-the-hip, can’t-live-without-you, I-need-you-to-breathe, relationships presented in the movies.
Now let’s scratch the first sentence of the last paragraph. Relationships should never be about fulfilling a need. And they should not be entered into lightly. Simply wanting a relationship does not mean we must be committed to someone, or anyone. Committing to a relationship is serious business.
Being single is not easy. Being in a relationship is also not easy. Unfortunately, we are influenced to believe that there is some type of competition between “being single vs. being in a relationship.” This competition results in the misperception that either status is easy to navigate, or that one is the preferred method to live your life. Well, if you are anything like me, you have lived in both realms and can testify that neither one is easy. Based on your preferences, being single or in a relationship may carry more weight or significance for you, but for others it has no bearing on their life.
The competition between “being single vs. being in a relationship” can cause a lot of confusion for us, if we are not careful. We can begin to feel incomplete and lonely if we are not in a relationship, and/or trapped or forced to be in a relationship we wish to end.
There is nobody on this planet who can complete us. It is simply not possible. Sure, some of you may disagree with me as you are deep in love with your soul mate and couldn’t imagine living a day without them. This is great, but I am not talking about being deeply in love and satisfied with being in a relationship, or being satisfied with single hood, either. My point is that if being in a relationship with someone becomes part of your sole means of survival and you connect this person to your ultimate happiness, you need to reconsider the pedestal you are placing this person upon.
We are all only human beings. Nobody can carry the weight of being our happiness provider. It is truly impossible, and we WILL be disappointed. Not necessarily because they want to let us down or do not truly love us, but simply because they are human and unable to master this daunting task. When we place this burden on anyone it is not only unrealistic, but completely unfair.
Then we wonder why some of our relationships fail. Often times, when one person is demanding too much from the other, especially in unreasonable terms, the relationship wears out. When two people cannot continue to pursue their own passions and live their own lives (of course within means, as being committed does change things) then the relationship becomes suffocating and may feel forced.
- A healthy relationship is one where both parties embrace each other.
- They support and encourage individual as well as their united growth and goals.
- They agree to continue being who they both were before entering into the commitment.
- They understand and accept that conflict will be part of the journey, and commit to working through it in positive ways.
- They do not idolize each other, placing impossible demands upon the other.
- They also understand that relationships evolve and change through time, should not be stagnate or stale, and require a significant amount of attention and work from both of them.
- Under no circumstances, is either person allowed to be the “life completion” for the other.
When we center too much of our attention on a relationship, we are out of balance. Yes, we have to commit to enormous amounts of time when we agree to enter into a commitment, but just like every other activity and human being in our lives, we need to take time away for ourselves. We have to be conscious of the importance of continuing to live our own life in the best way possible, allowing our relationship to be a compliment to our already healthy life and being.
If your current relationship is not a compliment to who you are and your current life, then it may be time to rethink the amount of pressure you are applying. Consider this: if you place all of your happiness and purpose for living on your relationship, what happens if it ends? What happens if someone passes away (which happens in the very best relationships, and will for all of us)? What happens when your relationship is under conflict or being challenged, as life tends to give us?
Of course, I wish the best for all of your relationships, as nobody wants to endure the heartache of the ending of a good thing. But it is important to be as realistic as possible, because life is not always predictable. If we lose ourselves in a relationship then we are not being true to our own character.
I encourage you to evaluate the current state of your relationship, or single status. If you are focusing all of your efforts on someone and neglecting your needs, or identifying your significant other and their actions to your current happiness, this may be unhealthy. If you are currently single and seeking to have a relationship because you believe you are incomplete without it, this may also be unhealthy.
Bottom line, you should only enter into a relationship as a complete and whole person, with goals and dreams of your own. You should not enter into a relationship when you are unhappy and seeking for someone to take control of your emotions. If you are currently in a relationship, all of the above applies for you as well. You should continue to work on improving yourself, meeting your goals, and being a quality partner in the relationship, as both of you should.
If you have to lose yourself for anyone, it is not worth it, no matter how much love you believe is present. And if you need a relationship to feel complete as a person, there is some other internal work that must be done, immediately.