“The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.” -Neale Donald Walsh
If you are into romantic movies like me, I know you’ve seen the movie Jerry Maguire. Do you remember when Tom Cruise said: “You Complete Me”? You either teared up a little bit or touched your heart and said “How sweet.” It was definitely a sentimental moment for me, too.
That line became one of the most unforgettable, romantic lines a guy could say to a woman. I do believe it was written with the best intention, but in reality it was taken literally for some, and it became another misguided mindset women embraced when pursuing relationships.
“When you feel whole, things come to enhance your wholeness. When you feel broken, things come to enhance your brokenness. That’s why you cannot fill a void. That’s why the premise from which you attract your relationship is so important.” -Abraham/Esther Hicks
I wanted to shed light on this belief, that we need another to make us feel complete, because as women we are already conditioned from cultural and societal messaging that says:
We need a man to validate us.
To seek male approval because it implies we are worth something.
That life doesn’t really begin until you meet that special man who will sweep you off your feet.
If you are single something is wrong with you.
Life is incomplete without a significant other, etc.
We are so in love with “love” that it’s easy to buy into fantasies and notions that a significant other should complete us. When we believe in something, those thoughts influence how we feel and act; therefore, when we seek to be in a relationship to feel complete, it comes from an emotional space of trying to fill a void.
Here’s my question: If you believe that someone completes you, then what happens when the relationship doesn’t last?
Relationships are not guaranteed to provide security, validation and a sense of feeling complete. However, I do know that being in a relationship can be a satisfying experience. There’s companionship, intimacy, happiness, healing, growth, trust, support, freedom to be you, creating a family, navigating life together and so much more.
Unfortunately, when seeking a relationship to fill a void, this approach sets the stage for developing an unhealthy and codependent relationship. What this means is you become dependent on your partner to make you feel whole and to fulfill needs that are lacking. Your partner will probably fulfill those needs for you but it’s temporary. No one person should be or can be fully responsible for making you feel whole because when your partner is unable to do so, that impacts your state of happiness and the control you have over how you feel.
How do you know if you’re seeking a relationship from a space of emptiness?
Your thoughts, emotions, and actions will all come from a place of neediness (which puts you in a position to choose the wrong partner).
You have unrealistic expectations that your partner is supposed to keep you in a constant state of happiness.
You believe you’re not good enough and seek validation from a man.
You believe your partner should fulfill the needs that the “other half” is responsible for.
You feel insecure and become consumed with being in a relationship.
You believe a man is a missing piece to making your life feel complete.
You can’t spend time alone and struggle with loneliness.
You’re more in love with the idea of being a couple than the actual experience of being in a relationship.
Here’s another question for you: When you seek out to be in a relationship are you operating from a space of feeling whole or incomplete and trying to fill a void?
If you are operating from the belief that your partner completes you, it implies that you feel like you are not enough by yourself, something is lacking and you can only become whole in a relationship.
This mindset gives you false hope, and I know this from experience. I realized having that belief was one of the major reasons I attracted the wrong guys over and over. It took about five serious heartbreaks for me to truly take a step back, examine the unsuccessful experiences I kept having and what wasn’t working for me.
What does it mean to be/feel whole?
Before I respond let me state this, when I use the term “whole person” I’m not saying you have to be perfect. Instead, I’m referring to having a full and meaningful life while uncoupled and when you are in a relationship your partner will be adding to your satisfied life.
There’s’ no one-size-fits-all to be a whole person but there are things you can do to work towards creating that foundation. Here are a few ways to explore.
When you are a whole person:
You’re capable of making yourself happy/creating your own happy moments.
You don’t rely on others to tell you what to do because you are surer of yourself. (I think it’s fine to get advice for important decisions but the final decision has to come from you)
You trust your ability to choose what is right for you.
You genuinely accept and love who you are, yet you’re still open to being loved by others.
You’re secure in knowing that if you were to be alone because of a breakup, you’d be capable of picking up the pieces and moving forward.
You have your own interests.
You maintain a strong sense of individuality.
You’re in a space of wanting a man, not needing one.
You take full responsibility for being satisfied in life.
You know how to practice self-compassion.
You know the difference between creating a connection versus an unhealthy dependency.
You’re capable of relying on your own resources to fulfill various needs.
This is what I want for you, to have a healthy, fulfilling, long-term relationship where you feel whole, independent and secure.
Working on being a whole person whether you’re in a relationship or not is a great example of practicing self-love in action. Therefore I want to ask you to take some time to explore your feelings around being whole as it pertains to your intimate relationship. We have to be more consciously responsible and intentional with the energetic space we’re working from when looking to be in a relationship.
Here’s a new perspective on this notion that another person completes you:
You are a complete and whole person without a relationship. It takes two fairly whole people (because no one is ever all the way together) to make one happy, healthy and whole relationship.
I want to leave you with a poem from Rupi Kaur’s poetry book, Milk and Honey that radiates the confidence of a whole person:
“i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
i want to have you
cause the two of us combined
could set it on fire”
Explore the questions I presented and let me know your thoughts.
Here’s to your wholeness.
About the Contributor
Monique Allison is a Relationship Clarity Coach. Her personal experience, observation, and insight gained over the years allows her to help women release unhealthy relationships and heal from broken ones in order to love again from a more self-loving and authentic space. She is also the mother of 10-year-old son, Pharaoh. Monique’s background/experience is in the nonprofit sector working for United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (UWMA) for 13 years; holding the position as the Quality Assurance Manager. She has achieved a B.A. in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, is AIRS Certified as an Information & Referral Specialist, attained a Creative Writer Certificate from Kennesaw State University. Monique has also taught life skills to young adults for two years. Learn more about Monique’s work helping women build healthy relationships HERE.
Read more of Monique’s articles at The Phoenix Rising Collective.