Welcome to Format Free Fridays at AskDrDarcy.com, the one day a week when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense that which we rarely welcome in life: Unsolicited advice.
Today I’m focused on love and relationships, perhaps because as you read this, I’m flying out of town, away from my love and my relationship. Distance always provides me with a ton of information about myself, how grown up (or developmentally arrested) I am, and where I fall on the codependent spectrum. Make no mistake about it: In my last marriage, I wouldn’t have gotten on a plane without my spouse if it meant saving my life. I vividly recall turning to my couple’s counselor and declaring, I’m perfectly content with being codependent. How she controlled the urge not to smack me I’ll never know. And in the event that any of my clients are reading this, know that I wouldn’t employ that restraint were those words to come out of your mouth in my office.
My concept of love has changed over the years. I used to associate physical proximity with love. I believed that the more I was loved, the more time my partner ‘should’ spend with me. This of course resulted in me attracting and being attracted to someone who was a workaholic and who I saw less than an hour a day for the vast majority of the time we lived together. Relationships are interesting like that – they are mirrors of our own personal development (or lack thereof). We will attract someone who will stir up our issues, make us come face-to-face with our deepest fears, and ultimately give us an opportunity to grow like no other human experience.
Perhaps the most profound thing I’ve learned over the years, both professionally and through my own relationships, is that love doesn’t make us happy. People don't make us happy. We make us happy. We enter relationships hoping to be completed but what we attract is a version of ourselves so if we're unhappy, the person who we attract is going to reinforce our unhappiness. If we’re insecure, the person who we’re in a relationship with will provoke our insecurities.
A friend once told me, Two halves don't make a whole, Darcy. No person can complete you. 17 years later, I espouse this same sentiment day after day in my office, hoping beyond hope that it doesn’t take my clients as long as it took me to learn this. And of course, life being what it is, it probably will.