Two halves do not make a whole. This is relationship wisdom. Harlequin Romances, bad TV movies, and codependent lyrics of songs keep trying to convince us that it’s okay to “be addicted to love..” And the film, “Jerry Maguire”, gave us that touching but sappy line in the elevator that stuck in romantic women’s hearts — “you complete me.”
Well, the truth is, we complete ourselves. Or rather we’re already complete and searching for love in all the wrong places literally means searching outside of who and what and where we are right now. A deep yearning and longing for love, in some deep way, is self-forgetting. We’ve forgotten who we are. Our true nature is love. So why go out and seek for what’s already there?
The wisest and best book on relationships I’ve read recently is Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, “The Mastery of Love.” He gives the big love secret away. To paraphrase, here’s what he says in this tiny book: “it’s all inside you, babe.” Just let it flow. So what’s the difference between coming to a relationship with the intention of finding “completion” or “wholeness” and coming to it with the aim of sharing love and having fun?
The first way, aiming to find another to complete us, creates a feeling and an environment of lack and dependence. The energetic vibe that accompanies it is one of neediness and craving. We put our happiness in the hands of another person and then try to control how they relate to us and the world. Some people even merge energetically with their loved one — either to pump their energy out and fill them up, or to use their own energy to push, force, and control. This may be physical, but more often, it’s subtle. And when we no longer have them around, our lives crumble.
When the aim of a love relationship comes from a place of two whole people sharing love, it can be playful, vibrant, creative and so much fun! Energy and spontaneity characterize this type of connection. And there’s no need to control the loved one. Instead there’s a mutual respect and a sense of equal partnership. When the energy shifts and both partners recognize it’s time to move on, the relationship shifts — often into a deep friendship filled with mutual respect.
The big difference between the two can be described by the feelings. Does the relationship leave you feeling energized or depleted? Does it invite you to be spontaneous and playful or demand adhering to certain rigid patterns? Does the relationship invite creativity and innovative explorations or does it insist on sameness and a stiff, familiar structure? If you’re feeling energized and enlivened by your romantic connection, it’s a good sign. The tricky part comes when noticing how relationships evolve. It’s easy to be playful and spontaneous in the first weeks, but what happens a few months in, when she tries to control you with jealousy, or he insists that you spend every waking hour together?
If there’s no space for individuality in a partnership, then you’re probably unhealthily merged with your mate. Merging means that you use his or her energy to thrive. Or you allow him to use yours. You pick up on all of his/her whims and emotions and ride them up and down like a roller coaster too. You don’t allow yourself to be separate and find your self-worth without him or her. Your partner may act like he owns you or has acquired you like some business. These are often the same unhealthy, but familiar patterns we had with a parent and assume means love.
The sane way forward incorporates a good dose of conscious awareness of where you are right now, what you feel, and what you want to create in your life first, and secondly in your relationship.And to discover if you’re in a healthy relationship explore a few questions: Can you speak frankly and openly with your partner? Are you allowed to express your feelings, even if they make your partner feel uncomfortable?
Recently I invited a man I was seeing to come away with me for the weekend. He said no, he was busy. And I respected that. But he didn’t stop at saying “no”. He said I should never have proposed the idea because he had a heavy work load and I “should have known” that he could not come. By asking him, he said I made him feel guilty, which is very strange because I can’t even “make” him take out the trash or meet me at my favorite Thai restaurant for dinner.
I find it healthy and necessary to ask. I told him I’m not going to read his mind or try to guess what he wants. I asked without pressure or whining and only held the aim of sharing a fun time together. I went away for a fun weekend with other friends and let it go. When he said I “shouldn’t” have asked that set off warning bells.
If someone tries to stifle your expression, or wants you to assume where they’re at, don’t. Ask for clarification. Ask questions and don’t ever assume. It’s okay to have differences of opinions, and it’s okay for him to know he hurt your feelings, that you want him, or that you need time alone.
Copyright, Debra Moffitt, June 16, 2015
Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award-winning author of three books. She teaches workshops worldwide and loves to write, explore human nature, and play.