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Your partner can’t be your everything

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Your partner can’t be your everything

It’s impossible for one person to meet all of your needs and you shouldn’t expect them to.

“If someone loves you completely and unconditionally, you don’t need anyone else’s love and support.”

This is a lie.

There are many different kinds of love—parental and familial love, romantic love, platonic love, self-love, and more—and it’s impossible for one person to love you in all these ways you need to be loved. And you can’t love one person in all of these ways either.

Some of our emotional needs can be met within ourselves, some only by an intimate partner, and some needs only friends or family can meet.

You’re probably more likely to want a cuddle from your partner than from anyone else, and you’d probably prefer shopping or baking with someone who won’t complain the whole time. Maybe you have a friend specifically for gardening and sharing books, and another for hiking and swimming. Someone to gossip with, someone to talk about work with, and someone to be vulnerable with.

All of our different relationships and types of love work together to fill our needs. But when you don’t have someone to be creative and artsy with, for example, you place that expectation (or need) onto another person in your life who might not be able to meet it.

You can’t rely solely on one person to do everything with you and meet all of your emotional and social needs because that’s an impossible expectation that will only lead to disappointment. Likewise, you can’t expect to be someone’s everything, because you will inevitably fail.

Relieving yourself and your partner of the obligation to fulfill every need will create a stronger and healthier partnership.

What are my needs and who will meet them?
Now that we know it’s impossible for one person to meet all of our needs, it’s time to dive into what our emotional and social needs are and how to fulfill them.

Emotional needs are conditions and expectations that we all have and need met to feel fulfilled and happy in our relationships. Your personal values and priorities will influence your needs and this will look different for everyone. Examples of emotional needs could be: being appreciated, quality time, and receiving and giving affection.

We also have social and self-fulfillment needs. Your partner won’t want to do everything you want to, and it would be unfair to expect them to go golfing if they don’t enjoy it, participate in a painting workshop if they dislike art, or live spontaneously if they are a strict planner. What are some hobbies or activities you enjoy but feel are currently neglected?

When your needs aren’t being adequately met, you might feel unwanted, unfulfilled, lonely, resentful, and insecure. If you think your needs aren’t being met, it’s time to take action.

You can start by evaluating what needs your current relationships fulfill and take stock of what needs remain unfulfilled. Remember that some of your needs don’t require another person to be met. You can fulfill some needs all on your own by saying daily affirmations, doing something you love on your own, taking pride in your work, setting boundaries, validating your emotions, and much more.

Once you’ve determined what needs your current relationships meet and what needs you meet for yourself, explore what needs are unsatisfied and create a hierarchy. Which unmet needs are most important? Focus on these first, and brainstorm ways to satisfy them.

Can you have a discussion with your partner about your neglected needs? Can you dedicate time for self-care and meet your own needs? Can you reach out to friends and family for support and guidance?
Some needs might easily be satisfied by simply having a conversation with your partner or friends. Other needs might require more work. You might need to make some hard decisions about your romantic relationship or start seeking new friends or communities.

Bottom line
Remember that it’s normal to need multiple people in your life to feel fulfilled and that others also need multiple people in their lives. You can’t be everything for someone, just like they can’t be everything for you.

Feeling secure in who you are, knowing what you need from yourself and your relationships, and making the right decisions to fulfill your needs will help you lead a happier and healthier life with stronger relationships.

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