There’s another important reason to develop and foster a close, intimate relationship with someone other than your partner. When your partner is the person who fills that role in your life, eventually you lose your physical desire for them. They become too close, and familiarity breeds boredom. This dynamic is referred to as “emotional fusion.” It’s when two become one, which is a nice romantic ideal that we’re all told we should strive for in our romantic relationships. And it’s a killer of passion.
Emotional fusion occurs when the boundaries between two people become fuzzy and break down. It happens when a person feels responsible for their partner’s emotional state; if he’s happy then she’s happy, and if he’s upset then she has to fix it. I have a friend who jokes, “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” When that happens in relationships, it’s emotional fusion. It’s often very subtle, but sometimes it’s clearly obvious.
Unfortunately, this dysfunction in a relationship is considered normal in our society. It’s even romanticized in movies and television, as in Jerry McGuire, when Tom Cruise says, “You complete me.” That’s a load of bull: if someone else “completes” you, are you really a whole person? I doubt it.
Having a girlfriend (or a boyfriend if you’re a guy) helps you get and stay clear about who you are as a person, in and out of a relationship. Don’t ditch your friends when you fall in love—they’ll help you stay real.