On Love 

Finding Your Other Half 

So many clients have come to me with relationship challenges.  This has led me to think a lot about what makes for healthy and enduring relationships, and what might also make for enduring but unhealthy ones.

The urge to connect with another person is very human, very deep, and very old.  We generally crave connection and benefit from finding that person who can help us feel whole. This desire for connection should be celebrated, but also well understood.  The better you are able to understand yourself and your healthy needs, the more likely you are to be successful at finding a partner who truly meets those needs.

The Search for Your Other Half

Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, attempted to explain this powerful craving for connection, the forces that shape and drive it, and the challenges inherent in finding it.  As you are searching for your life partner, you may want to keep this tale in mind.

Plato’s Symposium:  The Origin of Love

Plato describes a mythical time long ago, before human beings took on their modern two-legged form.  In this ancient time humans came in three distinct varieties.  They each had two heads, four arms, and four legs.  Most of these creatures had both a male head and a female one as well as male and female parts.  But some were all female, and some were all male as well.

                                    (illustration)

These proto-humans were blissfully happy, having found deeply intimate relationships with their fully entwined “other halves.”  That is, until they did something that pissed off the gods.  It seems that the ancient Greeks frequently did things that upset their gods, and that these gods spent quite a bit of time and energy contemplating how to best punish their willful charges.  In that respect the ancient Greek gods may remind you of your parents.

The punishment for this particular transgression was a real doozy.  The Gods sliced their human subjects in half.  Now they each had only one head, two arms, and two legs.  And they were doomed to wander the earth looking for their other half. 

A Search for the Perfect Partner

We are each still searching for our “perfect” other half, but the connection can no longer be perfect. There will always be cracks where either light shines in or love drips out.  Some partners will meet more of your needs and some will meet less.   But none will fit perfectly.  The gods made sure of that.

About

Dr. Andrew RIchlin, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Andrew Richlin’s blog posts for teens and young adults reflect his 25 years experience helping young people work through the challenges they bring into their sessions.

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