Today three 40-something women from the Midwest share their thoughts on “growing together”. Two married with kids. One married no kids. “Susan” was one of the first of her friends to get married in her early 20s. “Karen” married at 29 and “Mary” at 40. They all bring great real world perspective to the adage that you can’t rely on someone else to “complete” you…sorry Tom Cruise.
“A lot of bad choices happen when you can’t be alone. I see a lot of people get into relationships when they are not whole. They’re not 100%. They are 50% and they don’t know that need help or that they are suffering from a lack of self-esteem or whatever it is and they are looking for a partner to fulfill that.” – Karen
“You have to fill it yourself before you can share it with someone else. Another person isn’t going to make you whole. You have to be whole on your own. You just can’t wait for someone else to do it for you.” – Susan
Susan went on to elaborate, that doesn’t mean you can’t be in a relationship…
“Even if you are not whole, know that you will grow to become whole not because of that person in your life, maybe with their support, but it has to be because of you. I probably wasn’t a whole person when I married at 24. I am a totally different person than when I married…but I knew we [she and her husband] would enjoy each other moving along the path.”
Karen has seen the other side of relying on someone else to do it for you:
“It’s a huge burden. Even if someone does plug your hole, I think it becomes a burden for them . At first you think, ‘Isn’t it wonderful we complete each other’. But then it’s not so hot.”
Mary doesn’t think that happiness is the end of the path…it may just be the beginning.
“I went through periods of being happy and not-so-much during my relationships and single periods in my 20s and 30s. I think I really did learn how to be happy by myself. And it was freeing not to be dependent on someone for happiness. But I also realized it works both ways…you can’t let someone else’s unhappiness be responsible for yours. But you can support it as long as it doesn’t getting the way of you being whole. It’s not like once you find “it” you are two people going along a happiness path for the rest of your life. You have to help each other.”
At the end of the day, the women agreed:
“I don’t want to be co-dependent on somebody for my happiness but life does get messy and it helps to have someone lift you up so you can keep sight of your happiness.” – Mary
“Exactly. That is the way it has to work.” – Susan & Karen
* Names changed.
I look forward to reprising Flash Friday next week. Thanks to all of you who answered the question on having it all!