In Australia they don’t say ‘my significant other’ they say ‘my partner’ because that is what relationships really are, they’re a partnership. I often see hear people talk about how you shouldn’t rely on your partner, and I agree with 50% of what they’re saying.
I agree that you need to be able to function without them, you need to be able to live if something were to happen to them or if something were to happen to the two of you. But not being able to function without someone and relying on someone are not the same thing. You should be able to rely on your partner. They should be carrying you when you can’t carry yourself. I know that there’s an idea out there that you should never be unable to do things alone, but it’s false, everyone needs help, and sometimes we need a lot of it. I touched on this in my relationships and mental illness post, but the same way they should carry you when you can’t, you should carry them. It’s a two-way street. It’s a partnership.
The whole premise of dating isn’t just for fun, though it’s turned into that over the years, it’s that you’ve got someone by your side to tackle life with. It’s a try out session for the partner that will last you a lifetime. And being a partner means a lot more than being in love with your best friend. It means that you ask each other for permission before making sizable decisions. It means that you seek each others advice on near everything. People hear you talk about these things and think that you’re in a controlling relationship, but that isn’t what its about. It’s about wanting the others opinions and wanting them to agree with you as you make choices that will effect both your lives.
Marriage was made as a union, as two people becoming one, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t your own person, but it does mean that you shouldn’t be the only person on your mind. When you make decisions for you, you’re also making them for them, and vice versa.
We’re growing more independent as a society, and maybe there really is nothing wrong with that. There is after all, nothing wrong with being single, with tackling your personal goals one on one. But there is something fulfilling and beautiful about knowing that there is always someone in your corner, and I feel like as we drive harder and harder into the independence mindset people can get confused about what that means when you’re in a relationship. Of course you don’t need them, but your life should be harder without them, the same way their life should be harder without you. It doesn’t mean that if you lose them you will crumble, it just means that you were beneficial to one another and the whole relationship wasn’t just for the fun of it all.