When you need someone else to feel complete

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In a healthy relationship, two whole people come together.  They stay whole in their own right, and enjoy co-existing, recognising their similarities and differences, and enjoying their overlaps.  They want each other, but know that without each other they will survive.  They have boundaries about what is and is not OK, and look to each other for mutual support and respect. The relationship has a balance, an ebb and flow, a give and take, which leaves both able to more fully and authentically be themselves.  This is inter-dependence.

However, for some people, it can be hard to be alone. Social conventions tend to focus on us as 'half' of a couple, and it can feel awkward to not be in a relationship. Or, the thought of being single may not be very palatable, it may even feel scary.  Sometimes it may be something that people feel driven to avoid at all costs.  

When we feel we need to be in a relationship, that we need someone else in order to be complete, it can be easy to do and say things that compromise our own sense of self to make sure that we are acceptable to the other.  We may put up with things that do not fit for us, give up things that matter, and swallow down feelings and thoughts in an attempt to fit in and be content, even when we do not and are not.  This is a dependent relationship, one based on two people becoming one, not co-existing as two wholes.

If this is your experience, it may be useful to chart your relationship history as an adult and to reflect on the environment and relationships you grew up with to notice patterns and influences that may have brought you to this point.  What does it mean to you to be single? How do you feel when you are alone? What do you seem to need from other people that you can not yet give to yourself?

Your way of being in relationships is not fixed and unchanging. Patterns can be explored and worked with. Your relationship with yourself can change, and as it does, the way you relate to others can also evolve.  If you would like to move from dependence to inter-dependence, and find new ways of being, then get in touch.

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Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

1 Comments

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Ummi Fulani about 2 months ago

Thanks for sharing this Fe :) I did the write down my relationship patterns and answered the questions here and I find that I'm currently very much inter-dependent but had patterns of dependence (emotionally speaking) in the past. This is was very useful to me