We might be deeply in love. Our relationship might have endurance, stamina, and patience. We might get love-bombed and feel overwhelmed with how into our partner we are. We might give so much of ourselves, and expect the universe back. We tell our loved one, “You’re my world, you’re my everything.” And, in a way, we do mean it. But when it boils down to the details … can one single person be everything?
We expect a lot from our partners, and with good reason. Love takes work, and a committed partnership takes fortitude. But, should we really be worried about fulfilling every single need of our partners, and expecting the same from them? Shamyra Howard, award-winning sexologist, licensed clinical social worker, sex and relationship expert, and therapist, graced us with her perspective on the matter.
“Contrary to love songs, it’s impossible for your partner to be your everything. Humans are very complex, we have so many intimate needs: social, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, sexual, and intellectual. People are looking for a partner to fulfill all of their needs, and that’s a lot of responsibility to place on another imperfect person.” And that kind of pressure does not a carefree existence make.
We wouldn’t want to carry the sole responsibility for every aspect of another person’s well-being, and we can’t expect the same in return. It doesn’t mean that seeking fulfillment—i.e. friendship, advice, love, and emotional nourishment—from others is a form of straying from your relationship. It simply means we are well-rounded, well-adjusted humans. Cheating excluded, of course, depending on your nuanced relationship boundaries.
Howard goes on to explain that “there is not one person who can satisfy all of your needs. No perfect person exists, sorry. Then, there’s the notion of finding a soulmate. The biggest problem with looking for a soulmate is looking for a soulmate.” Let that sink in. We don’t let that stress us out, we let that relieve us. It’s not finding a needle in a haystack, it’s a romantic alliance—an agreement that two people can love and communicate needs and boundaries clearly and lovingly.
“We’ve been taught that a soulmate is a romantic partner who comes in and sweeps us off our feet, checks all of our boxes, and likes everything we like. What if we changed the way we view soulmates? I don’t believe we have one soulmate, nor do I believe our soulmates are just romantic partners. A soulmate is someone you share a spiritual connection with. Someone who represents truth in your life. Someone who acts as a mirror to you, challenges you, and is committed to and connected to your spiritual growth.” But that doesn’t make them your everything, nor should they fulfill every need of every moment.
“For this reason, it’s helpful for you and your partner to establish meaningful relationships outside of your primary relationship. I’m not suggesting you get other romantic partners; I’m encouraging you to embrace the fullness of relationships with those around you. This can prevent you from expecting your partner to fulfill every need and void.” Having close friends and others we love dearly is actually healthier for the tenacity of our romantic relationships. Making time to pursue other loving friendships can only strengthen our ability to love and be loved.
“The perfect person and the perfect relationship doesn’t exist. Relationships need people who are committed to build, grow, and rebuild with each other. This means you have to be your own #relationshipgoals. When thinking about finding the one, being the one, or having the perfect relationship, think of what that means for you. Think of what type of energy you’re bringing to the relationship. Are you looking for someone to complete you, or someone to complement you? If it’s not the latter, then you might not be emotionally ready to nurture a relationship. Going into a relationship looking for your everything can place you in an egoship instead of a relationship. An egoship is a situation in which you have a partner to fulfill a void, rather than expose vulnerabilities and grow.”
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