Photo by Markus Spiske
My love of romance novels started about four years ago. At the time, I think my drab life needed more spice. Okay, so to be honest I was reading erotic novels first… Then I started reading romance novels. Romance novels are famous for their HOAs. Happily Ever After. Book after book, the men and women fall madly in love, overcome some obstacle, and live in bliss, presumably for the rest of their days.
I’ve been married for eight years. I truly believe my husband is my soulmate and I do believe in an (overall) happily ever after. However, there is one line that appears in some books that grates on my nerves. It is a line that perpetuates the stereotypes, fairytales, and unhealthy, unrealistic expectations. To me, it is one of the most harmful messages people believe about love and marriage.
The man holds the woman close, looks deeply into her eyes, and says “I love you so much. You complete me.” She looks lovingly into his baby blues eyes and says, “I love you too. I need you.”
You. Complete. Me.
Before this starts to sound cynical let me clarify a few of my beliefs. First, I believe in soulmates, but I do not necessarily believe they are always lovers. I believe in reincarnation and that souls tend to travel together and find one another over and over. For example, my sister could have been my mother in a past life. Second, I believe in the power of love. Admittedly, true love can feel like a completion, but I prefer to describe it as coming home. That feeling of coming out of the cold on a blistery winter night. Still, coming home, falling in love, is not the same as being completed.
A life partner is supposed to challenge and support you; allow you the freedom to be yourself and room and support to grow. That is not completion. A good match can feel like completion, like perfect puzzle pieces finally fit together. Well matched partners tend to complement one another, each having aptitude in an area the other struggles in. This is coincidence of the universe is its need to strive for balance even in relationships.
Truth is no one can complete you. No one can fix you. No one can save you.
Sometimes we do have holes and broken pieces when we step into a relationship. I met my husband in college and, young as I was, I still had craters I needed to fill and dents I needed to mend. Through his unconditional love and support I found the courage to face my craters head on and deal with the source. Slowly, we mended my—and his—heart together.
Looking for a partner to save, fix, or complete you will only cause more problems in a relationship. Ultimately, the responsibility of making the crooked places straight relies on the solely on you as an individual. However, it is your partner’s job to support you and give you the space to work on yourself. Side note: It is your job as a couple to continue to get to know each other through your individual changes and personal growth, lest you fall into the “we grew apart” trap.
Don’t expect anyone to complete you. You are a whole person already. Flawed and a little battered, but already complete.
“There are always going to be dark places in her heart, but they’re fading day by day in the light our love.” Derek “The Love Whisperer” King (From Dirty Talk by Lauren Landish)