I can’t help but feel a little disappointed when someone I’ve just met almost immediately starts rambling about the person they’re dating. “Really?” I think, “Have we already run out of things to talk about? How is it that I don’t know what you went to school for but I know that you’ve been with your boyfriend for five months and that he works as a data analyst?” To me these people are saying that the most interesting thing about them is their relationship status, which defines them more than their career, hobbies, or passions. If I’m describing you right now, I’m sorry. But I’m also telling you to stop, just stop.
Don’t get me wrong, I think being in love is amazing. I think being excited about love is amazing! I love to hear all about my friends’ relationships and crushes, but then I already know that they prefer burritos to tacos and that Circus is their favorite Britney Spears album. If you’re dating someone, by all means talk about it. Just don’t make it the only thing you talk about, and please never refer to your partner as your “other half,” or worse yet, your “better half.” With no disrespect to Plato, living your life as though you have another half out there to complete you, and treating your relationships accordingly, is a sure way to get heartbroken, not only by your lovers but by your own expectations. This “other half” nonsense is just a romantic coverup for some serious codependency. In high school I watched the movie Me Without You, and the only thing I remember about it was Anna Friel cry-screaming the title. “There’s no me without you,” she sobbed to Michelle Williams and I froze.
That resonated with me. I had someone that there was no me without, someone I was hopelessly in teenage-love with. When we were getting along, I was happy. When we fought, I wasn’t just devastated. I was broken. I’d spend my day in a daze, trying to figure out how to make things better between us, willing to do anything for that cause. It took me years (years!) to realize it wasn’t real love, that it wasn’t even romantic. I had no identity beyond this relationship, which was unhealthy and frankly, probably made me boring as hell. I wouldn’t have loved me back either. In fact, that was the problem. I didn’t love me so I depended on someone else to do it for me. Now I see friends and strangers doing the same thing, becoming half a person to accommodate someone else. Again I say: Stop, just stop. You are your own, very whole, probably kick-ass, person. You don’t need to prove your worth by bragging about how someone totally likes you likes you, and you certainly don’t need anyone to complete you.