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Why We Shouldn’t Want to Be Our Partner’s Everything

Why shouldn’t we want to be our partner’s everything? I mean isn’t that what we are all taught is supposed to happen when we find our “soul mate?” We will be their everything and they will be ours? That we will have finally found that one person who fills us up?

John and I were having breakfast with another couple one morning when this very topic came up and during the course of the conversation our friend said, “When you feel like you have to be the only one who can provide your partner everything, you make them very small.” There was a combined silence as we let that sentence hang in the air. Wow! I had never thought of it from that angle.

What are some of the ways that I could make my partner small? Do I do that through trying to control them? Do I do it through my jealousy? Do I do it through my anger? Do I do it through assuming that since we are now partners that I’m the only one that can provide their happiness, their sexual relationships (if any), their love, their time?

I believe we are an accumulation of our experiences with countless others….hmmm, I would wager that I am who I am and believe what I believe as a result of those I have come in contact with…everyone I come in contact with. I love the broadening that is created when we are free to explore others views and beliefs whether physically or mentally. Now that being said, can you imagine only receiving this from one person? For the rest of your life? Neither can I.

I read a line in the book, “The Ethical Slut” that said,

“I promised my partner that I would share my life with him, and that implies to me that I have a life to share-a complete life. And it’s clear to me that he’s here because he wants to be, wherever “here” is. We are with each other, every day, because we really want to be. Our choices are real.”

What I love about that statement is it talks more about acceptance and love for our partner, not ownership. Just because I am someone’s partner doesn’t give me license to dictate their lives…nor should I want to, because in doing that I miss out on the person I fell in love with. I never want to create an environment for my spouse that is restrictive or binding or depleting of whatever fills them up and I definitely don’t want my partner to do that to me.

My intent is to share in the expansion and growth of my partner in whatever capacity that may be whether in knowledge, friendships, sex, beliefs, to throw my arms open wide to the love we share.


  • Bob says:

    Sounds like this should be apodcast

  • Zig says:

    I just had a conversation with my girlfriend about this very issue yesterday.

    We had gotten into an argument after she went into my phone without asking. The worst she found was encouraging words to an ex-girlfriend who was going through a breakup who I also very directly refused to pickup or meet. I refused to pickup or meet the ex-girlfriend because I fully understood my ex was trying to manipulate the situation and not feel alone and I knew it was not right or good to do, nor did I want to see her.

    Throughout my relationship with my current girlfriend my phone has not been password protected and is in the same room as I am. I do this to show she can trust me and I have nothing to hide. I had not done anything to make her suspicious and in fact was told the reason she went into my phone was because things were going “too” good.

    It made me very angry…It made me feel like someone wanted to own me and felt they should be able to own me…It made me feel like the person I cared about didn’t want me to feel free to be me and that feeling sucked.

    I made the point to her that she never wanted me to feel owned or make me feel like I needed to hide my life or justify my interaction with friends or coworkers. I let her know if I felt owned then I would ultimately become resentful and less of the person she liked.

    I expressed how I wanted to feel free to handle my life in the way I see fit and wanted her to feel the same. I explained I wanted her to be part of my life…not my whole life.

    I have had more than one relationship end when I resisted taking the relationship to “the next level”…What I have found is the next level most of the time turns into a self imposed box where I am owned by the others insecurities and expectation of obligation. Whenever the relationship is defined to be “the next level” I have found I loose myself and the person I loved. As I have gotten older and tried to explain this concept of freedom it is almost always met with anger and ultimatums due to the other party not understanding or not wanting to understand what I mean. My freedom to be me seems to scare them even if being me is respectful and committed.

    Thank you for the article.

  • Chichi says:

    This is so on point. My husband and I are in a polyamory relationship with another couple. It’s great, however, the other husband seems to love being with me, but have some expectations that his wife should fulfill all of his needs. I said to him, ‘that’s impossible, and not fair to her. That’s what friends are for, to fill that space that a spouse cannot and this polyamory thing we got going, kind of does the same thing for all four of us. Love you guys articles and podcasts!

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