Have you ever been in a relationship where you were told things like:
- You are the center of my world
- I can’t live without you
- If you ever leave me my life will fall apart
- You can’t leave, I need you
- My life revolves around you
Initially these phrases sound like love, we all desire to be wanted and needed by someone else. This person must see something in me that is so special they want me above everyone else out there. When the other person asks you to do things for them, go places with them, listen to them, comfort them, etc., you feel needed and interpret this as feeling loved.
But in reality these phrases are sometimes a red flag that something is not right. This is because the relationship is out of balance, one person is doing most of the giving while the other person is doing most of the receiving. The person you are with has become dependent on you for their identity, you define who they are, they live their life through you and if you leave, they feel devastated, empty and abandoned.
In a perfect world we would receive love, identity, acceptance and validation from the family that raised us and from our relationship with the God of Love. By the time we reached adulthood we would have internalized this and developed a healthy self-love. Unfortunately, in our broken world, few people are raised this way. As adults it is important that we do our own self work to heal from our past so we can become healthy and attract other healthy people to be in relationship with. In a healthy relationship, each person is complete in who they are independent of the other. They don’t “need” anything from the other, they are not coming to the relationship from a place of lack but from a place of love. I love and admire you for who you are, not for what you can give me, how you make me feel, or what you can do for me. You are in the relationship to complement each other rather than to complete each other. When the relationship comes to an end, you are able to release each other and while you will go through a normal grieving process, you will not feel like your world is coming to an end. Rather, it is transitioning into something different from what it was.