Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

Where's Your Better Half?

My professor in graduate school once gave us a great metaphor for a relationship. I don't think I've mentioned it on the blog before, but if I have, forgive me but it bears repeating. Think of yourself as a delicious cake. Your inner circle of friends, family and your significant other are your frosting. They don't take a piece from your cake. They add to it with the creamy frosting. Without them, you'll still be a whole cake. You're still you. But with them, you're just a better you. I love that because I think all too often people think in terms of absolutes. As in:
"Without you, I'm nothing."     "If we don't spend all our free time together, something is wrong."
"I don't need alone time, I have you!"     "You don't need time alone or with your friends, you have me!"        "If we don't have sex all the time, something is missing."        "If you don't want sex with me right now, you don't find me attractive at all."     "If you don't do _____ for me, you don't love me."  Or, my favorite, "If you don't know _________ about me, then you don't really love me or know me."

These sound silly writing them all at once, but I'll be the first to admit I've said more than one of these things. They're irrational thoughts! If he or she can't remember where you grew up, it doesn't mean they never listen to you. You grew up in Indiana- not that interesting. Move on! Avoid the words "always" and "never." People never do things ALL the time or NOT AT ALL. Relationships exist in shades of gray. Cut her some slack and she'll do the same for you.

Anyway, besides that great metaphor, the purpose of this post is to point out something I noticed today. When you become part of  a couple, all the sudden you by yourself fades away a little. I went to a fun work party today and noticed that everyone asked where my husband was. He happens to be at his friend's bachelor party, but it was funny how that was the first question people asked me. I'm not saying it's wrong or weird, but isn't it interesting how, when we partner up, we are not alone anymore. We are "the couple." I like that in some respects, but while it's nice to be a part of a unit, I think it's always incredibly important to remain YOU. Keep going on long runs, having wine and girls nights, wear those ugly sweats, drink milk from the carton, spend the day watching "Sex and the City" reruns in bed, go on a trip solo or with your best friend, take a fun class, whatever it is that makes you YOU. I'm not saying that you need to be prepared in case something happens, but you do need to remain a separate, independent person in order to be part of a successful couple. No one wants to be with someone without their own life, their own thoughts. Independence and self-confidence are sexy. Keep being YOU and your couple-self will thrive as well. Because for every Brangalina there's a TomKat and Bennifer. I kind of wish more people had asked about my career instead of my love life, but let's face it- what we're working on isn't as interesting as who we're sleeping with.

And for fun, think about what kind of cake you would be. I'm a carrot cake and my husband is my tangy cream cheese icing. I feel happier when he's with me, and I know he feels the same way, but I'm still pretty tasty all by myself. So is he. And so are you!

PS: I hate the term "better half." No one is a half to anyone. We're whole all by ourselves, we don't need another person to complete us. Enhance, yes. Complete, no.