“A relationship is a dynamic living system, composed of two organisms interacting in a living environment.” ~ Howard Cutler, psychiatrist and author
Are you looking (or waiting) for “someone special” to fall in love with and who will fix your problems, cure your woes, and make everything in your life better?
Well, you may be waiting for a while.
Is this the perspective of a jaded cynic? One disenfranchised from Love? Hardly! Let me explain: It’s natural for relationships — like the people within them — to change. And, in the end, someone else doesn’t complete you as a person: you just hope to one day find a special someone who will help bring out the best in you.
Humans Change, Love Changes, Relationships Change
A lasting, loving relationship between two people does not consist of two puzzle pieces — each cut and groove perfectly aligned and flush with the other — who have come together to unite and stay connected forever in total perfection.
That image — one contrived and drilled into us form our youth by the likes of pop culture, the media and Hollywood — is, while a beautiful concept, sadly a naive one. It’s what I call, the Someone Special Crutch: a naive, if only underdeveloped, misconception about the nature of two constantly-changing human beings who are existing within the a romantic relationship. You might find your soul-mate, but nothing means that your loving relationship with him or her will ever be perfect or unchanging. People change, love changes, and relationships change.
Human Beings are Constantly Changing
Throughout our lives, we’re continually growing or regressing, ebbing or flowing, learning or ignoring. Even on a day-to-day basis, we go through various emotional swings and mental states of being. No different, a romantic relationship between two human beings also exists in an ever-changing and constantly evolving state. The relationship, like the individuals within it, will ebb and flow, change and regress, evolve and encounter states of difficulty and strife. It will go through periods of growth and regression. The dynamic between the lovers will change and evolve — but not necessarily in one progressive, positive direction.
Any relationship between two human beings is certain to change.
Unfortunately, because of the misconceptions and over-romanticization spurred on by society and popular culture’s infatuation with the “Someone Special” Crutch, when we perceive changes in our romantic relationships to be occurring, we jump to the conclusion that this other person is not “our” someone special. When early infatuation dissipates, we fret and fear and run away. When a long-term relationship starts to feel just slightly different, we wonder if the magic is gone — that it’s time to call it quits.
The Nature of Romantic Relationships
Sometimes these observations are accurate representations of our relationships. Not every pair is meant to be, and not all relationships last. However, many times, the normal changes that we ought to understand as a natural part of the ever-changing dynamic of human relationships is misunderstood. Instead of seeing changes in our relationships as natural and normal, we figure that the cuts and grooves of our two jigsaw puzzle pieces are not meshing up as perfectly as we once thought they did.
The relationships that fail the fastest are those in which two people become seduced by the “Someone Special” Crutch: the naive belief that our lovers are the be-all, end-all of their problems and shortcomings. We use the “Someone Special” Crutch when we want a lover to be a savior who unduly rectifies all our issues and resolves all our problems. We use the “Someone Special” Crutch when we think that a loved one will make us complete — and that we are incomplete, lacking, and insufficient without him or her.
Succumbing to the false notion that “Someone Special” will and suddenly complete us as a person is a lovely and romantic concept — but in the end it’s little more than a crutch that stops us from becoming the best people that we can be, individually and on our own. Hoping that “Someone Special” will fix all of our problems a cheap and easy excuse, one that neglects that we possess so much capacity to become the best and happiest person that we can be — on our own accord. This power is a gift, not a burden. And when we recognize that it’s natural for our relationships with loved ones to change and evolve — no different than the human beings within them.
Flickr photo by: Parvin