Cracking Complete Myth

Women's Dating

Cracking the “You Complete Me” Myth

Deborah Hecker

Written by: Deborah Hecker

Deborah Hecker

Author of the recently released book, “Who Am I Without My Partner? Post-Divorce Healing and Rediscovering Your SELF,” Deborah Hecker, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and re-partnering coach with more than 35 years of private practice experience. She received her master’s degree from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from The Union Institute. In addition, she is certified as a psychoanalyst and has extensive training in the following areas: addiction counseling, grief counseling, collaborative practice and mediation. For more information, please visit

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Romance – we are all suckers for it. Surely you remember feeling the excitement as Jerry Maguire and Dorothy Boyd shared the romantic words, “You complete me.”

Let’s be honest. Don’t we all want someone to feel that way about us?

I know I did. However, the romantic myth that kept me daydreaming when I was young and impressionable was one defined by Snow White: “Someday my prince will come.”

As human beings, we are wired to attach.

So why can’t we look to our partner for happiness? What is the problem with the model of depending on the other for completion, security and growth?

As an expert in matters of bonding and re-partnering, I am here to tell you the idea of two people being involved in a relationship where they complete one another raises a red flag.

A relationship between two people who do not experience themselves as their own person – with their own unique brand of thoughts, feelings, hopes and goals – is not a healthy one.

The time has come to debunk the “You complete me” model.

We need to replace it with a new one that includes a third component – we.

Instead of the formula for a relationship consisting of two halves equals a whole (the “Jerry Maguire” model), let’s consider the notion that it takes three to form a relationship: I, you and we.

Much of the game of love, romance and dating begins before we actually find ourselves in relationships. It starts “upstairs” with your I.

Whether you are currently unattached, dating several people or are partnered, you must first dance alone. This means getting to know yourself, living your own life, making your own decisions about your future and learning to deal successfully with the real world.

If you are already in a relationship, you must be conscious of continuing to develop your own identity (I) apart from the we.

“The idea that someone should complete

you is central to the failure of partnerships.”

What about your partner (you)?

You must honor and encourage their need for individuality, as you do your own. Each of you must have your own unique identity separate from the relationship (we).

What will make your relationship successful are healthy boundaries, knowing what is yours, respecting what is not and not imposing your feelings, desires and viewpoints on to your partner.

Now that each of you has taken individual ownership of self-completion, your two Is are ready to become a we. You are partners on the same team, acknowledging and respecting your differences and developing your intimate partnership.

My advice to all the Jerrys and Dorothys out there:

  1. Don’t sell your I short.
  2. Discover your other half within and be whole on your own.
  3. It is unfair and unreasonable of you to look to one another to complete you. Those demands will set you up for failure.
  4. Take responsibility to grow your self up and be happy. Don’t ask your partner to do that for you.
  5. Cherish and enjoy your time alone.
  6. Only when you are whole within yourself will you be able to stay in love and sustain your we.

In a nutshell, the idea that another person should complete you is central to the failure of partnerships.

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