I believe one of the most harmful lies we've been taught is that love and need go hand in hand. I love my partner very much, and I plan to spend the rest of my life with him, but I don't need him. He doesn't complete me, he isn't my better half, and he is not my reason for living.
He didn't come along and fill some void in my heart or my life. My heart and my life are whole with or without him.
For most of my life, I bought into the romanticized notion that we are not whole until we find someone who completes us. I watched romantic comedy after romantic comedy and ate up every line that reinforced this idea. The result was me having relationships that were overdramatic, needy, and insecure.
For me, the problem with that mindset is that at its root is a lack of self-worth. Thinking we need someone else to complete us means that we're not enough on our own. In the past, that kind of negative self-talk had me committing before I was ready, settling for a mediocre relationship, or staying in an unhealthy one.
It took me 32 years to realize only I could complete me, and then another two years of self-work before I finally felt whole. And that's when I got together with my partner. He didn't come along and fill some void in my heart or my life. My heart and my life are whole with or without him. What he does do, though, is overfill my heart and enhance my life. It's a subtle difference but an important one. For me, it's the difference between codependent and independent.
I no longer rely on anyone else to make me happy, keep me entertained, or give my life meaning. I don't need others for that because I give it to myself. It's a beautiful thing, because when we remove the need, we can fully appreciate the want. I don't need my partner in my life, but I sure do love wanting him there.