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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Complete Me or Complement Me?

When searching for a new relationship, you want to find someone who complements you rather than feeling incomplete if this person is not in your life.

There should be a happy medium or a balance of similarities and differences. You don’t want to find a clone of yourself because that would be boring and might lull both partners into complacency for want of mutual challenges of the mind and spirit. What you really want is enough similarities to feel comfortable tempered with enough differences that complement each other. It should be like a puzzle that fits together with ease.

In The Psychology of Romantic Love, What Love Is, Why Love Is Born, Why It Sometimes Grows, Why if Sometimes Dies, Dr. Nathaniel Branden states,“When a man and woman experience differences as complementary, they experience them as stimulating, challenging, exciting – a dynamic force that enhances feelings of aliveness, expansion and growth.

For the successful intimacy inherent in romantic love, a man and a woman must experience their differences as mutually enriching, as capable of drawing out untapped potentials in each other, so that their encounter is an adventure in expanded consciousness and expanded aliveness.


Differences can be complementary and can contribute to the success of a relationship only when the traits of each individual are valuable and desirable. Values and disvalues are not complementary (i.e. It would be difficult to have a passionate love affair between a person with high self esteem and low self esteem; or one highly intelligent and one aggressively stupid). One way to gain deeper insight into a love relationship is to ask: What parts of myself does my lover bring me into fresh contact with? How do I experience myself in this relationship? What feels most alive within me in the presence of this person?”

Sometimes opposite attract and, at the beginning of a relationship, you might mistakenly believe these differences are complementary. The best advice is take it slow because over enough time the truth will come to light. Being with your opposite might be exciting, but, in the long run, it makes for a difficult living situation.

Next up ... The Rhythm and Energy of Relationships

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