You Complete Me
Updated: Sep 14, 2021
The other night I was talking to one of my good friends who currently lives with a woman he is in a complex relationship with. They aren’t together, but he also isn’t looking for anything else because he feels an obligation to be a good guy to her. That trap of good people getting stuck in lonely relationships with people who don’t appreciate what they bring is real. I was once there until I finally realized the peace that you can get in a home where you determine the mood and vibe of and not one that is dictated by someone else’s needs and comfort.
He sacrifices his own peace for the comfort of a woman who would, I am almost certain, not do the same for him. He is willing to give her what she needs to feel she has his support and presence in her life, but doesn’t feel he can expect the same from her and would never dare to ask because he is a good guy.
He wants a partner who shares ideas and thoughts with him. Instead what he accepts is a roommate who feels threatened when he has a life, but also has no interests in being involved in that life. He’s allowing her to determine how he feels in his own home and changing himself for her comfort.
As I described how he could liberate himself from the obligation he carried for someone who would never return the effort or thought back to him, I was thinking about how I came to this point in my life. I sit in a new vantage point where I now know the power of having your own space and the protective instincts you have to not relinquish this valuable thing you have worked hard to obtain. You have to be pretty impressive, consistent and really prove your worth in my life to penetrate the solace I have on my own now.
It took a long time to find this though, which is why I can see how hard it is for my friend to realize it could even be a reality in his life. When you are a sincere and empathetic person, it is second nature to make someone else feel adored and appreciated before you ever consider if you are getting even an inkling of that back. Even then, you are willing to sacrifice it for yourself, you believe if you can make this other person feel the love they need you will feel good just giving affection even if you don’t receive it. All that does is make you lonely and for some (like me) resentful of what you crave but will never have from someone who is incapable of giving it.
Coming home to a space where someone else’s behavior dictates how you behave and react is a lonely feeling. Laying in bed next to someone who keeps a foot distance between your bodies and doesn’t connect physically with you is lonely. Sharing what happens during your day or a moment of
frustration with the children you share with someone while they scroll through social media on their phones barely looking up for even a moment of eye contact, is lonely. Lonely feels like you are in the space with people but sinking into the walls and disappearing.
It’s when you realize that neither your presence nor your absence impacts the person you are with. Loneliness leads us to accept minimal effort with a low bar for love and affection. Loneliness makes us desperate.
I was lonely for a while, but now I am alone. That transition was not easy and required some discomfort and mind shifts but once I got there I was liberated and at peace with where my life has taken me.
I left my married home in the summer of 2018 with four children and a lot of personal baggage and unhealed wounds. Each day I realize something about those missed moments and what I actually want from the life I am creating for myself versus the one I settled to just be present within. I now got to make the rules and determine the vibe I came home to and existed in. Except that I had no idea what that should feel like, and my learned habits after seventeen years of marriage made me keep reverting back to the need to be with someone and fearful of being alone.
I started dating quickly, because I originally saw it as a way to fill that void and keep from being lonely. It actually made me feel more alone than I realized but I was too close to the experience to see the forest for the trees. I met tons of interesting people along the way, but felt like something was always missing and couldn’t figure out what it was. There was one person that felt the most like comfort and connection but even that was inconsistent and left me in a state of limbo.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was expecting someone to fill a space only I could complete. I thought I would feel whole if I could share my mental space and possibly eventually my physical space with someone else. I spent the first two years of separation searching for something that was an illusion, thinking it was a possible reality that just escaped me. Wondering why I wasn’t enough to deserve that elusive ideal. Then this past year, I realized that what I was missing this entire time was . . .me.
I missed myself and the person I was. I was expecting someone else to fill a void that only I could fill. I wanted them to fit into my life as that final piece of happiness that would magically complete the puzzle of my life. I thought I had a missing piece somewhere out there that the movie "Jerry McGuire" convinced me would, “complete me”. That piece has always been me. I couldn’t see that I was the key to my own happiness. This is what we miss in the stories we are told about romanticized love and relationships.
We are our own complete puzzle, we just have to know where to look for the pieces and realize how it feels when they fit. It took me delving into what originally felt like discomfort and loneliness to realize the beauty of being alone rather than it’s stigma. I am a strong believer in the power of our mindset and how we frame something. If you say it’s a negative aspect of your life, then it will show up as a barrier to your peace. If you frame something as an opportunity for growth, then you have widened your lens and the possibilities that moment or experience can have for your development.
So I reframed my weekend evenings, I started with delving into a part time job to be productive and focused on bettering myself, but all I ended up being was drained and less prepared for all the other aspects of my life. Ditched that plan and moved onto plan B which was just spending the evenings with myself. I am being honest with you, for someone who is accustomed to a childhood with three siblings, extensive and local extended family and a home that was for all intensive purposes a community center for the Muslim families in my parents lives, being alone was really hard.
It felt a little contrived at first. I was creating ways to stay busy like painting projects that would start and then never be completed, or going out to eat at a bar by myself and meeting random people to chat with, just to not actually be alone while thinking I was alone. I was realizing I would rather be with strangers than be by myself. That was my aha, that if I date in that state, I am going to leave myself open to accepting the bare minimum just for the perception of comfort and intimacy. That was how I had already lived the seventeen years of my marriage in an unhappy state of loneliness while holding a perception of being with someone.
Learning curves in life are not always easy to overcome. But I finally did when I started to center myself in my decisions and listen to my body and mind. What made me feel good and what gave me joy. It turns out it was more simple than I realized. I needed to realize that I was amazing company for myself.
Listening to my eclectic playlist that most of my friends tend to avoid because they don’t always get that I have such a wide variety of music tastes, makes me happy. I can dance in my underwear, play air guitar and sing my heart out in my personal karaoke performance. Staying entertained for hours without feeling like I was missing someone else.
In my busy life raising my four kids, I never took the time to give myself facials or soak in a bathtub, but now it brings me joy, peace and my body thanks me for the moment of care and rest. I cooked elaborate meals for myself instead of skipping dinner because there was no one else to feed who would appreciate my cooking. I started to and have fallen in love with myself. In a genuine and humbling way of seeing myself , my light and knowing that I will always be there for me when no one else is.
It was a beautiful thing that opened me up for the next stage where now, I am not expecting for someone to fill my pieces or save me from being lonely. I am open to the presence of someone who compliments what I already bring to the table through their unique gifts and presence. They are a welcome addition that knows and values their own space and being alone. They are a partner and a friend that shows up and supports me just as I will have their back in building them up. That man will listen when I need someone to lean on, but also give me that gentle nudge or simple reminder that I have the tools and power to make it through things on my own.
It’s not the need for someone anymore, it’s wanting someone to walk with me. It’s knowing that there is someone to share life experiences with and process the challenges thrown at me by my side.
Loving myself first and knowing my own power and light was necessary to get to this point. I have done the work to figure out what I want and what I won’t accept from someone in my life. I realized how I show love and the value that affection, connection and support will have in someone else’s life. I know what I need to feel that I too am loved and seen and I no longer want to settle for less than what I deserve to feel that parallel presence of a man who gets all those things and is willing to find the place that I hold in his world where I am safe, loved and valued in the light and energy that I bring.
I am alone in contentment and solace. Entertained by my own antics and company. Loving myself the way I expected someone else to love me for too long. Alone is so much better than lonely and with someone.
I want my friend to know that light and the end of the tunnel is real and the day he can come home to his space where he dictates what it feels like, is when he will find that same peace I know he deserves too.