Yesterday @ruby_shaylyn asked:
If you had to make a choice between having one of your best friends in your life or achieving happiness, which would you choose?
Today, the question has been amended.
What if the person is your significant other?
First let me say, when submitting questions, be honest. That way I can answer accurately the first time.
An important thing to keep in mind here is that no one can hold you back. They can be unsupportive or tear you down or keep you comfortably dependent, but you allow that person to do so by staying with them. If that’s the case, you’ve got some real self examination to do.
If there is anyone in your life that can’t stand in the way of your happiness, it’s your partner. More than a friend, they are absolutely an essential person to support you and encourage you to move forward with your own goals and dreams.
Ask yourself the following questions.
As you do, see if you can imagine these famous power couples saying such things to each other.
Does your partner criticize your goals?
“You? President? Ha! I doubt you’d even make it as a community leader.”
Are they competitive, jealous, or insecure?
“Babe. I’m the funny one. We can’t both be funny.”
Do they not want you to have goals, hobbies, or a life outside of them?
“I win the Oscars. You raise the babies. Got it?”
Are they dependent on you or attempting to make you dependent on them?
“My talk show money can take care of the both of us… that way, if ever you want to split up, you’ll have been off the job market for years and you’ll be stuck with me!”
If these couples treated each other in such a way, they would either not be the accomplished individuals they are or they would have split up.
While we don’t know them personally and every couple has obstacles to overcome, they all set a great example of two independent people who are successful in their own right and allow each other to shine.
I’d like to say, a single person giving this advice might seem somewhat out of school. I get that.
However, my single status actually supports my point. I’m single because I choose to be. Most people would rather be in a relationship than not. And sure, I’d prefer that, too. But am I going to sacrifice any element of my own happiness just to have someone around? That’d be a big, “Hell No.” Not only would I quickly grow to resent them, their very presence would annoy me.
Most people love the nestling of a partner. The warmth of someone there, the company, the ease of living with someone who can take out the trash or split the bills or cook dinner.
But listen up: the perks of a relationship can’t be why you get into the relationship. The comfort of partnership is not ever worth giving up what you really want out of life. Making it on your own and never settling for second best will ultimately make you stronger and happier. Would you rather be Mary Tyler Moore or Ethel Mertz? Liz Lemon or a Real Housewife?
The last two guys I dated were fantastic guys. Smart, thoughtful, and both did a great job of showing how much they liked me. They “passed the test,” if you will.
As a result, it was that much more difficult when I had to call it off. Why, if they were so great, did I call it off?
Their desire for a relationship was too intense. They needed a relationship to feel validated, important, worthy. They didn’t want to celebrate life together, they wanted to not be alone.
I don’t want a relationship because the other person happens to want a relationship too. When I choose to be in a relationship, it’s because we feel the improvement of our own lives as a result of knowing each other.
Build a partnership on the excitement and devotion to what you can create together. This means he isn’t just “allowing you” to do whatever your goals may be, he actively encourages you and holds you accountable.
“Didn’t you say you were gonna write a chapter of your book tonight?”
“Well get to it. I can’t wait to read it!”
You want someone who will ask you what you need to be happy and help you attain it in every possible way.
She proposes traveling to places you’ve always wanted to, but never got around to going. He makes sure your tie is straight and wishes you good luck at your meeting. She buys champagne to pop when you close the deal. When you’ve had a day full of people telling you “No, that’ll never work” He rubs your shoulders and says, “Yes it will. You’ll show em.”
If you can’t picture doing this for them and them for you, this person is not your equal. It is never worth settling for someone (who might be a fine person with many great qualities) if they are not lifting you up every step of the way.
A partner is your cheerleader and a leader on their own. The respect and admiration is mutual.
Long before Jay Z, Beyonce was singing about being an independent woman who needed a soldier and whatnot. She had confidence, a career, and didn’t beg to be taken care of.
Her message: step up to the plate, add to the quality of my life, and I’ll give you my best.
If the man can’t do that? I can just see her saying, “S’cuse me boo, I got a Grammy to win.”
A common problem for straight women is that men often feel threatened by a successful woman. Men can also feel insecure that seeking your own happiness outside of him means he’s not good enough. It’s always best to communicate this isn’t true, but in my experience, it’s best to shoot for someone who already understands that. Better yet, someone who thinks it’s sexy when you succeed.
Ideally, you want to grow enough into yourself before merging your life with someone else’s. This will attract likeminded people that think big and get your goals, get you. Together, you work to strengthen one another emotionally, financially, socially, and so on.
If your significant other is holding you back in any way, your regret will grow like a cancer. I’ve seen people wake up at 30, 40, 50 and say, “My god what have I been doing all these years?” Rather than heading down that path, do something now.
Always pursue the journey that will make you most fulfilled, no matter how scary. Most importantly, identify what makes you happy outside the context of a relationship.
Think of it this way: everyone wants a partner. Everyone wants love. Good news, you’re just like everyone else. The bad news? You’re just like everyone else.
Now, aside from love, what do you need to be happy?
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