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Is The "You Complete Me" Model of Relationships A MYTH?

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 274

Yesterday I discovered a new book about relationships, You Complete Me and Other Myths That Destroy Happily Ever After, by Victoria Fleming.

Ms. Fleming believes relationship "myths," such as "you complete me," are dangerous to couples young and old...

"The problem with the "you complete me" model of relationships is simple math... people think 'I'm half and you're half and together we make a whole.' But human beings aren't additive, we're dynamic. It turns into multiplication. A half times a half is a fourth, and you end up with less than when you started."

I think the idea of "you complete me" in relationships is less about a myth and more about a paradox. A paradox is something that is true, it is just not true every single minute of every single day.

We are not wired to be emotionally self sufficient. Rather, we are wired to attach.We are wired to depend on "other" for security, stimulation, and growth. We are wired to "get." What couples need to understand is the quality of what they get is determined by how much they give.

I think the notion of "you complete me," is a necessary prerequisite to relationship success. Call me a "hopeless romantic." But I would advise caution in killing the dream that a partner will nourish us, enrich us,transform us, and...yes...complete us.

My theory is that attachment is the foundation on which you build your lasting love. The construction of a successful relationship takes time and takes shape, in four progressive stages:

Stage 1 - "You Are The Answer"

Stage 2 - "You Are The Problem"

Stage 3 - "We Are The Problem"

Stage 4 - "We Are The Answer"

In Stage 1- "You are the Answer," the "you complete me" drive is very strong. The "you complete me" concept of love fuels chemistry and emotional bonding. Idealizing one's partner, that perception of "you complete me," is psychologically necessary to keep insecurities and self protective barriers down in order to forge emotional bonds. The "you complete me" notion fuels the secretion of love hormones in our brains. Besides, if you don't believe the relationship will enhance your sense of security, life satisfaction, and self-worth - what is the purpose of the relationship anyhow?

In Stage 2, I admit that the same "you complete me" idea can be a "fly in the ointment" for couples trying to manage their differences. If you become too dependence on your partner for validation and self esteem you may have difficult expressing authentic needs. Relationships will experience distress when two partners try to control feelings instead of revealing feelings. The task in stage 2 is to learn to handle conflict without losing emotional connection. At no time do you have to give up the romantic ideal of "you complete me." Just temper it a little. Couples who avoid turning toward one another and opt instead for self sufficiency, face emotional alienation and ultimate disaster.

Frankly, the myth that truly kills relationship is the idea that a relationship is only comprised of a "me" and a "you." A successful relationship is comprised of not two but three entities -- a me, a you, and a we. You can be interdependent and individually empowered when you learn to hold onto your connection (the we) through your differences. The key to maintaining connection is to develop the skill of emotional accessibility and responsiveness to your partner's needs.

Stage 4 of relationships is the stage of couple synergy. Lets go back to the "math" of being a couple. Victoria Fleming's mathematical equation is 1/2 times 1/2 = 1/4, which I can't quite compute. Instead, my understanding of relationships is 1 + 1 = 3. In a successful relationship, the sum is greater than its individual parts. The synergy of 1 + 1 produces 5 good things:

• Increased energy

• Increased empowerment to act

• Increased self- knowledge and knowledge of other

• Increased self- worth

• Desire for more connection

Rhonda Audia, MSW, has developed a unique approach to relationship enhancement. Her "Dumb Fight Prevention Training for Couples" combines elements of emotional intelligence theory, mindfulness training, and emotionally focused therapy to create a very practical, powerful process that will deepen your relationship and expand your skills and collaboration.

To learn more about Rhonda Audia and her "Dumb Fight Prevention for Couples"® at

Source: EzineArticles
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