One of the most frustrating phrases that one hears around the holidays or when the well-meaning but nosy relatives come to stay is one of the two... 'You'll find your other half someday', or 'you're not whole until you've known true love'.
What a load of codswallop. First of all, these people are implying that someone else out there knows us better than we know ourselves – erm – how?
We are literally the only people on this earth that have access to our own internal thoughts, dirty images, and dodgy comments. How could anyone possibly hold a candle to that without just having their idealised image of us in their minds instead?
Secondly, the assumption that a romantic relationship is the most fulfilling thing that we can have on this earth – the thing that will 'complete us' – just speaks to a narrative that says any other accomplishment in work or life, pales in comparison.
What a silly way to view things! If that's the way that life gets meaning and the reason for living, then I don't want to drink the kool-aid.
That said, if you phrase it a little more sensibly, Aunt Sheila, we can talk about finding a fulfilling, compelling partner who challenges us, and is our equal. That, I can get behind.
Here's 3 reasons why.
1 – I need respect
There are no two ways about it, I need my partner to respect me. Otherwise, how can we view each other as equals? The power dynamics between men and women are fraught at the best of times, let alone in situations of romantic and emotional relationships.
If your man just sees you as a fling or not something he needs to commit to while you're more invested in the relationship, how can that sustain itself? It can't, and the truth is that if you can't communicate your needs early on in a relationship, you can't respect each other.
Wanting different things is perfectly fine, but refusing to admit that, or just wanting some eye-candy and refusing to define the terms of the relationship will leave you up a creek without a paddle.
Trust me, if you've been together a year and you don't even have a drawer in his apartment, you've already lost.
2 – He manipulates you or tries to make you think you can't function independently
If your partner always insists on knowing your every whereabouts and controlling your friends, work, and social life he is absolutely the wrong fit for you.
This is emotional manipulation and it's a slippery slope if he keeps playing to these stereotypes of 'man in charge' and 'women as obedient'. Both players in a relationship should have equal power and sway.
In fact, even thinking about a relationship in terms of how much power or control you have speaks to a very dangerous approach. It should be about giving, taking, and compromising. Not double standards and gas-lighting.
3 – If you feel like you can't go somewhere without his permission – get out
I'm serious, this is a form of not only emotional but physical manipulation. He makes you question yourself, second guess things, and refuses to accept responsibility for when things go wrong or you express your frustration.
This is not an equal or a partner. This is an abuser.
But even in terms not quite so severe as this, if the relationship dynamic makes you feel like you have to change or be someone different, or less complex when you're with that person, it is not healthy.
You exist in your own right as a human being with triumphs, flaws, and emotions. Also, you don't only exist in relation to another person. You are enough to save yourself because you know yourself best.
Prince Charming can go and climb another tower if he isn't willing to treat you like an equal. You are not a damsel in distress, and I very much doubt that he is a prince.