In the twenty-plus years I have been counseling individuals and couples, I have identified the number one reason relationships fail:
Looking for the other person to complete us.
In the recovery world, co-dependency is limited to addictive/compulsive patterns of enabling. Here, co-dependency is expanded to include any behaviors, attitudes and relationship dynamics which are rooted in the search for another person to complete us. Co-dependency arises out of a deep inner longing that says, “I am not enough,” making us feel incomplete, fractured and fragmented. In an effort to quell this longing, we look for “the other” who will complete us. We find someone who we believe might complete us, and for a time (as long as we are in the infatuation stage of the relationship), they might. Eventually, however, the longing returns (because we never healed the true source of the longing), the fantasies we have created about our partner fall and we begin to see them for who they really are – fractured and imperfect just like we are. Resentment sets in and trouble begins.
Search for the Other vs. Search for Ourselves
When we are searching outside of ourselves for someone to complete us, it is because we do not know ourselves. The longing that drives this search for “the other” in reality, has nothing to do with “the other.” Instead, this longing is really the longing to know ourselves. Until we know otherwise, or until the bottom falls out (whichever comes first), the longing to know ourselves disguises itself in the longing for another to complete us. We are never fulfilled in our relationships, however, until we turn this longing for “the other” inward and start doing the work of coming to know ourselves. In coming to know ourselves, we discover our own unique gifts, our passions, what gives us joy and makes us feel complete – WITHIN OURSELVES. When we know ourselves, we no longer look for someone to complete us, instead, we wait for another complete person with whom we can enjoy the journey of life in a mutually supportive, interdependent relationship where both are honored as sacred and holy and where the two work together to support the needs of each other in service to the betterment of the world.
For support in moving away from patterns of co-dependency, looking for another to complete you, check out my new book: