Do you remember the emotional scene from Jerry Maguire in which Tom Cruise tells Renee Zellweger You… complete me?
It’s like he feels I love you doesn’t convey his feelings accurately enough so he gives her the power of making him whole.
But is this an expression of love? Or is it a romantic myth?
I believe that You Complete Me is a myth.
Half of a locket, half of a person?
Are you familiar with the half heart lockets that lovers wear as a symbol of their relationship? These lockets are also a romantic way to let the world know the two lovers complete each other.
Reflecting on this subject, the following questions pop into my mind:
Are people who tell their romantic partners You complete me actually incomplete as a person? What exactly are they missing? Is it one specific thing or are they missing multiple things?
While single, do they know they are incomplete, or does it come as a realization once they have found a romantic partner?
Will they ever be complete? When that happens will they end their relationship because it fulfilled its purpose?
Does their partner feel incomplete as well? If their partner feels whole, is he/she going to surrender their half in order to fill in the part that you are missing?
You Complete Me – Busting The Myth
The belief that you need someone else to be complete is a romantic myth that makes for a great line in a Hollywood movie scene, but it is destructive in the real world.
Know that you are already complete.
You are not half of a person and you are not missing anything.
You don’t need your life partner to complete you.
They are already complete, too.
You are whole.
You are enough.
The You Complete Me myth is dangerous in that it implies you are less of a person on your own. You are asking your partner to fulfil your needs or to heal your wounds. Your partner is not a jukebox that plays the song you wished to hear at a particular moment. Nor is he/she a band-aid to heal your wounds.
Is your relationship based on someone else meeting your needs or is it because you love your partner? Are you dependent on that particular person or are you with them because you want to share your life with them?
A healthy relationship is a choice, not a means to an end
Being in a relationship with someone is about wanting to be with that particular person, not needing them. It’s a choice, not a means to an end.
A genuinely happy relationship is made up of two people who are perfectly fine on their own but choose to share their lives together.
We all want to be with someone who is a positive presence in our life. If you can’t be someone like that for your partner, how can you expect your partner to be that for you?
Expecting one person to fill the gaps and meet your needs is unrealistic and unfair to them.
A healthy relationship isn’t about two halves forming a whole, but two wholes forming a bigger union.
The emotional banishment
In her book, You Complete Me And Other Myths That Destroy The Happily Ever After, Victoria Friedman talks about how people with different personality traits are attracted to each other.
An emotional person is attracted to a self-composed personality. And they feel they complete each other. What they actually feel is not a state of completeness; what they see in the other person is a part of themselves which they have suppressed.
While growing up, their parents rewarded particular behaviours and expressions of self with love and attention and punished others by ignoring them. That’s why the emotional person learned it was good to express themselves out loud and the self-composed person learned it was good to behave in a logical-reasoning manner. It’s like your behaviour pattern, essentially how you express yourself – have undergone a specific setting.
Victoria Friedman calls this learning behaviour banishment. The emotional person stifled and banished their logical part of themselves and the logical-reasoning person stifled their emotional expression of self.
These parts are not missing, they are under-developed. With professional support, you can learn to undo these settings and grow the parts of your self which have been hidden for such a long time.
The person you really need to have a relationship first – YOURSELF
Tracy McMillan, successful television writer (Mad Men, United States of Tara) and relationship author (Why You’re Not Married…Yet, 2013) knows it was wrong to believe in the You Complete Me myth – her three failed marriages can attest to that.
Listen to her talk about her life and her self-awareness journey:
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