By Brittany Dekorte
There’s a myth in greek mythology that humans used to exist with two heads, four arms, four legs, and were split apart by the gods, doomed to search their entire lives for their ‘other half’. When referring to romantic
partners, there is a tendency in the United States to call them “my other half” or “my better half,” There is an emphasis on finding a person to settle down with and to build one’s life with, and that pressure can cause a lot of grief for single people, especially around this time of year.
Why is it that we believe to be whole, we need another person to complete us? Humans are social animals, sure, but plenty of people can go their entire lives without romantic relationships and live healthy lives. People who choose to give up romance and sexual relationships for religious reasons, or people who identify as asexual or aromantic just don’t have a drive to seek those relationships.
This doesn’t even bring up the people who don’t have only one partner: In serial monogamy, is your current partner your other half, or was your former partner? Will a future partner ten years down the road be your real other half? How will you ever know which partner is the one that really “completes you”? Not to mention polyamorous people, who will often have two or more partners at any given time: If everyone who isn’t poly a half, is a poly person one-third of a person, or one-fourth?
A person is not incomplete without a romantic relationship. In a relationship or not, you have your individual goals and hobbies. You have your preferences, your own favorite food or music, your pet peeves. You have memories that inform your preferences and give you stories to share with the new people who come into your life. The point of a relationship is not to fill the gaps in your own personality because there aren’t gaps.
The people you are romantic with can help you explore your own personality, your own strengths, and they can make you aware of your own weaknesses. A partner of mine recently took a moment to tell me, “You are going to help ground me, and that’s a good thing. I’m going to help you find and experience adventures.”
Helping each other grow is a great thing, but you aren’t required to be in a romantic relationship to grow. Relationships that aren’t romantic (familial, friendships, co-workers) can help you grow as a person just as much and in many ways affect you more than your romantic relationships do.
This Valentine’s Day, whether you’re in a relationship or not, remember: you are a whole
person by yourself. You complete you, and I complete me.