I love my partner, but I don’t need her. I want to be with her, I want our lives to be intertwined, I want to grow and explore and experiment with her. But there isn’t a need there, and because of that I think our relationship is healthy.
Our relationship is built on a desire to be together and we both know that we would be fine if the relationship broke up. It would suck. There would be great sadness and mourning over what we thought our lives would be, but we would be fine. We would both thrive as we ventured out into the world. We would find new loves, or maybe live our lives perfectly content alone. We would grow and explore and experiment, with or without each other. The direction and speed of those things would differ, but they would still happen because we are not “two that have become one”, we are two who make each other stronger as individuals.
To need someone (or something) is to enter into an unbalanced relationship. It is giving too much power to the other person, it is to lose your identity and take on theirs. It is to pursue an addiction that is unhealthy. It is juvenile to need a person and it is unhealthy.
By needing another person you give them control of your life. When things end (whether through breaking up or a tragic death or being fired or being injured) you are unable to strive again until you break that need… and the need for a person can go on long after they are gone.
It is not only romantic relationships that can involve such imbalance. It can be an adult child who isn’t stable without their parents supporting them (emotionally, financially, etc). It can be a friendship where one person needs the other person to face the world. It can be a professional relationship where one person needs the job in order to survive and doesn’t have the skills to find a new one. It can be a hobby that requires your mind or body, things that will eventually fail.
When these relationships break down it destroys a keep part of our being. We have defined ourselves based on our relationship instead of as an individual. We become a boyfriend, instead of a person who has a partner. We become a father, instead of a person who has a child. We become a writer, instead of a person who writes. By defining ourselves in relation to other people we destroy ourselves, we become dependent on someone else’s acceptance, love, and stability. Then, when we find ourselves alone we can’t cope.
And that is suicide.
I love my partner. Each year with her has been better than the last. We continue to grow and challenge each other. With every day I spend with her I find new depths and strengths and passions. With her I feel strong.
But I don’t need her, and she doesn’t need me… and that is one of the best things about our relationship. Need takes away the voluntary nature of our relationship. Need means dependence. We don’t have that, and I hope we never will.