Friday, March 13, 2009

Wanted or Needed?


Part of our pervasive culture is to be "needed" by our partner. Without them, we are incomplete. If our partner doesn't "need" us, why are we in a relationship with them? Gender roles play their part as well. I even had a man (not anyone I live with!) try to tell me that women _should_ need the man they are with. He's hardwired to feel needed, and fighting biology would be a pointless exercise. As a woman, I need a man to protect, guide and shelter my delicate self. Trying to structure things otherwise is feminist dogma that dis empowers my feminine vulnerabilities and undercuts his sense of manhood.

What a load of crap! Sure, there are going to be times where we need to lean on our partner to get through a tough spot, but I'd rather be in a relationship with someone that wants to be with me than someone that needs to be with me, and I would hope that my partners feel the same!

Things have not always been so clear. I have gone through my share of trials and self-doubt on the path to being more emotionally self-sufficient, and I'm sure that there is further to travel. At this point, I am the strongest that I've been, largely because my partners have helped to create the space for me to learn to love myself, and be proud of being self-reliant. Could I have gotten here on my own? Not as quickly and with a lot more pain, maybe not at all. This is why I want to be with them.

I am SO excited that, after many years of working on myself, becoming a person that is self-sufficient and strong, I feel able to focus on growing within a relationship from a place of desire and not necessity.

It seems ridiculous to succumb to societal pressure to emotionally "dumb myself down", to be more needy. The message I've been getting my whole life is that being "needed" is more important than being "wanted" to most people. I vowed to myself a long time ago that I wouldn't become less to make someone feel like more, not mentally, not emotionally, economically, or professionally. That isn't something that any of my partners would want from me.

Developing the ability and preference to love and be attracted to ones partner(s) for being _less_ dependent, being more self-directed, but choosing and wanting to be with them, is something that each of us would benefit from doing. When one is able to feel joy that their partner is there out of choice, in love and appreciation of what they bring to the table, and not out of necessity or being trapped by circumstances, that is a great gift to them both.

To my partners with love and intent: I don't need you.


1 comment:

EmilyTbM said...

Tom Robbins has an excellent quote on this:

“When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on--series polygamy--until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”

And I told Sean, "I was complete when we met, you just add new and wonderful dimensions."