In the past few weeks, we have been discussing the ways that our own needs affect relationships. So often we select mates based on issues we have with ourselves – such as wanting someone that is good socially because we don’t feel we are good socially – only to find that we then resent them for these talents or expect them to act exactly as we want them to.
Expecting your partner to fulfill something in you that you are unable to fulfill in yourself is problematic, because it means you have become dependent on them to fill a void for you that you cannot fill on your own, and demanding of them to act that out how you would act it out yourself. But this brings up a common question: If being attracted to mates for what we lack can create an unhealthy dynamic, what does a healthy relationship look like?
Healthy Relationships Promote Your Abilities/Feelings
Attraction is attraction. If you are attracted to someone for their confidence, and you love them for that confidence, then your relationship is likely to thrive. Many issues can arise when we start to hold negative views of those people for those very same behaviors, or if we rely on them to act out our own needs because we do not want to fix it ourselves.
In a healthy relationship, your partner is someone that doesn’t fill a void you need, but rather enhances or enriches your life in some way. In healthy relationships:
- You are working on improving your own areas of weakness for yourself. For example, if you struggle with confidence, you are openly working on building your own confidence rather than using your partner’s confidence to improve your self-esteem.
- You are bringing out the best in your partner. Relationships are complementary. In healthy relationships, you are bringing out more of your partner’s best qualities, rather than filling a void for what they lack.
- Your partner is enhancing you. If you are already a confident person, in a healthy relationship you will feel even more confident and empowered because of your partner, and vice versa.
In healthy relationships, your relationship in your partner brings out the best in both of you. Rather than living vicariously, you are living for yourself, with you and your partner complementing each other and helping your true self thrive.
If you’re interested in learning more about my Long Island couples counseling service, please contact me today at (516) 732-0273.