So please answer this. We want to be in a relationship with someone we can depend on, but we aren’t supposed to depend on others emotionally. So what’s the point of even being with anyone? Seems like a catch 22.
-Call Me Anything, But Don’t Call Me Needy
Dear “Needy” lol,
Hey, great question! Thanks for writing! The answer is: sex. Thanks, again!
Lol, just kidding… Well, not really. But I’m assuming you want a westernized, post-romantic era answer, so that, my friend, is what you will get ;)… (Oh, and since we’re dealing with romantic relationships here, I won’t go into those of the family/friend/co-worker/etc. variety, but I’m sure some of this stuff will still apply to them, too).
To begin with, let me just say that there was a time when I related to your confusion/frustration over relationships. In “The Care and Feeding of Sex Symbols” I even share the moment where I (metaphorically) shook my fist up at the sky and cursed the heavens for my seemingly unshakable desire for unconditional love with a rock-solid companion that seemed to prefer playing hide-and-seek with me. So, yeah, you’ve definitely come to the right place.
And to answer your question, “What is the point of a relationship?” well, the answer is pretty much two-fold. We enter relationships: (1) to enhance what we already have, and (2) to grow.
Dependability is a wonderful, feel-goody quality – (and since you’ve undoubtedly experienced what a lack of it in another feels like I’m pretty sure I don’t have to sell you on that trait) – hence why we desire it so much in a mate. However, we were never meant to become dependent on others for anything we can give ourselves.
People are fickle. And I say that not in a bitter “trust no one” tone, but in a “people got their own sh*t going on and therefore can’t be stable enough to meet your needs consistently” one. Fortunately, we were all born with the ability to tap into whatever emotional reserves we need to buoy ourselves up at any given time, so we don’t need to depend on another for (emotional) oxygen when we have our own supply. (And while it might take some of us a while to find our own supply, trust me, it’s there.)
Does that make relationships useless? Not really.
While I admit that relationships aren’t necessary for a happy and fulfilling life – (recall that I believe that nothing outside of yourself can make you happy) – nor do you need relationships for getting through tough times, observing and interacting with others in a harmonious and loving way just flat-out feels good. And since loving and supporting yourself feels good, and others doing it to/with you feels good, you end up with an orgy of feel-goods! Or, more academically speaking, we invite relationships into our life to compound good feelings. We just love the cherry-on-top fun, love, and support they can bring.
Less enthusiastically, we also get into relationships as a vehicle for growth. When we open ourselves up emotionally to another, they’re then able to trigger things deep down inside of us that we subconsciously want to heal or change for further expansion/growth. That’s why a “soulmate” can bring you both great joy, and great misery. Facing stuff inside of you that you don’t like and want to change can range from feeling slightly uncomfortable to downright painful. Nonetheless, that person’s ability to “get to you” is why you entered into a relationship with them. Whether you know it or not, and whether you like it or not. (Sorry, lol.)
So, there you have it, “Needy.” The point of a relationship is to magnify whatever you got goin’ on at the time. Whether you want to compound the awesomeness you’re experiencing, the support you need, and/or just become aware of something undesirable inside of you, “there’s a significant other for that.”
Just make sure that your “want” for a relationship doesn’t turn into a “need” if you want to reap the full benefits of all the wonderful stuff relationships have to offer. Otherwise you’ll keep finding yourself stuck in Oz, when, like Dorothy, you have the power to get yourself home all along. Best of luck!
Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.