It is time for the term “other half” to die.
He or she will never be your other half.
Stop it. Now.
People are suffering from the illusion of what it means to be married or in a committed relationship. Our culture has laid it on thick for a long time. Every romantic movie, song, religion and family has an idea of what relationships should look like. It is almost impossible to question what’s real and what’s not when entire institutions have been created around relationships serving certain functions. There is one thing that all these different dogmas have in common, and that is that your partner is your “other half.”
We buy into because it sounds so appealing. Wow… someone who will take care of my needs, who will come for me when I call. And we do our absolute best to be that person to the other, stoically ignoring our own needs in order to serve the greater good. We suppress the resentment that comes from the feeling of a life half-lived because we know that we are doing the “responsible” thing. Soon, we start to serve a mostly utilitarian function to each other. Make food for them. Listen to them vent about their day. Fold their laundry. Suck it up for the good of the relationship.
This is not to say that we should eschew responsibility. Quite the opposite. Our primary responsibility is to ourselves, not to the other. Then, and only then, our we responsible enough to be in a committed partnership with someone in a healthy manner. Ironically, it is only through not seeing our partner as our other half and instead seeing ourselves as two completely autonomous individuals who choose to be together that we have any chance of functioning as a cohesive whole.
Initially, this realization can bring up fear for people. “Well, if they don’t need me to feel whole, then doesn’t that mean that they could go away at any time?” Yes, it does. But the alternative is to destroy the polarity in the relationship by feeling that you need (or are destined) to be together.
“Well, won’t they potentially cheat on me if they don’t feel like they need to be with me?” That’s certainly a possibility. But cheating or having an affair is usually the byproduct of relationships which lost their polarity long ago, not healthy ones where each person acknowledges and respects their partner’s independence. In the former, one person acts outside of integrity out of frustration that their partner no longer feels like a good other half; in the latter, they simply move on if and when the love is no longer present in the relationship.
Humans are social creatures, and, as such, we rely on others for our sense of security and purpose in the world. We need to be very cognizant of the implications that has on the quality of our relationships. Most people rely almost exclusively on their partner to fill a supportive role that really needs to be distributed among a much larger group of friends, acquaintances, mentors and coworkers. That means that we need to look closely at what type of support we actually require and seek out people who have the capacity and desire to fill those needs.
Our energetic systems are biological batteries, requiring daily recharge in order to maintain optimum function and clarity. Try as we might, we cannot use someone else’s battery to charge our own. We must find the source of our own vitality and tap into it each and every day.
Love cannot be found in another person. It never could be, and never will be. Those of us who are fortunate enough to know true love know that we can only create love for our own lives through gratitude and a sense of abundance and then share that love with another. When we feel that we are not getting the love we need, we need to look no further than the mirror to find the problem. Acknowledging this truth can be painful, but the pain is simply the byproduct of fear of our aloneness. That fear is an illusion, and needs to be conquered. We are never alone. We never will be.
Our “other half” is the part of ourselves we reclaim by conquering the fear.