Yesterday while browsing Facebook, I came across this post from HoNY. What struck me first was his line, “we don’t have enough of what the other needs,” because that’s such a relevant part of any relationship. A lot of people are arguing that a relationship isn’t about you and your needs, but to me this phrase speaks to both people’s needs – they weren’t able to fulfill each other. I mean, that’s the reason why my ex and I broke up – he was in the Navy and with the distance we couldn’t love each other how we needed to be loved. I think it’s the basis for a lot of separations.
What caught me next was a comment that read, “I don’t know why people insist on their partner being the one person to meet all their needs. No one person can do that. It’s unrealistic and unfair.”
I have heard this sentiment on other occasions, generally in support of open relationships. Honestly, I don’t get it.
Maybe it’s naive of me, but between my ability to control my own happiness, satisfaction, basic needs/desires, and Sean’s willingness to do all these things for me, I don’t need anyone else. I choose to have friends because they are enjoyable to spend time with and they give me more people to talk to, but on a deeply emotional level the only relationship I need is with Sean. And advocates of open relationships have told me that I’m wrong to feel that way, that I can’t possibly be wholly satisfied. But I have been, for two and a half years (and if you tack on the period of time that Sean was my best and closest friend, and the only person outside of myself and family that I relied on emotionally, probably another two years). As a self-aware and independent individual, I don’t foresee my needs changing too drastically, and as they do gradually change, Sean is always willing to accommodate. And vice versa, of course.
I guess, whenever I hear this statement, I can’t help but feel like the people who feel that way are settling. Perhaps they are tired of unsatisfying relationships so they settle for multiple relationships that fulfill each of their needs separately, and tell themselves that it’s the most realistic solution. Or maybe they are unbalanced between taking and giving, which makes a monogamous relationship unfulfilling because they spend too much time doing one or the other.
Now, don’t get me wrong – if you want to have multiple partners and they are all okay with that, more power to you. It’s not my job to judge you or tell you you’re wrong, and just because that’s not what I want/need doesn’t mean it is wrong, just different. I just don’t understand this reason for it – I know divorce rates are high, but I don’t think long-term couples separate because they can’t possibly fulfill each other’s needs; it’s because they don’t want to try or change or adjust anymore.
Maybe instead of giving up on the idea of two people having a strong fulfilling relationship, deeming it impossible, it’s time we step up and start putting that effort in?