Firstly, let me preface this post by saying that me and B are fine, we're still together and we're not breaking up! The title is slightly misleading, I'll admit, but it's something I've thought for a while and never written down/shared.
This morning, I shared a post on Instagram of a poem by Rupi Kaur. Here it is below in case you missed it:
It really made me think about the fact that so many use the phrase 'my other half', and whilst I think the sentiment behind it is lovely, I can't help thinking what a damaging, toxic mindset that actually is.
It suggests that we were half, broken, unfinished before meeting them. What kind of message does that give to single people? What kind of message does that give to ourselves?
Before meeting B, I was in quite a toxic, negative relationship which really affected me and still affects me to this day. It's something I've talked about very briefly online, and to be honest I'm not sure I'm ready to fully open up and talk about it publicly. There were a lot of issues in our relationship, which really affected me mentally and emotionally.
When I finally bit the bullet and ended things, I instantly felt relief. Relief that I was finally out of something that had caused me a lot of pain and upset over the years. But after the relief had gone, in came the panic. Who was I now without this person I had been with for 7 years?
I felt like I no longer knew who I was as a person. I had, unintentionally, let part of myself slip away in trying to please someone else for years. I had no hobbies, few friends of my own (as we had 'shared' a friendship group of his friends) and I was 24 years old. All of my friends were either engaged or married, settled down, stable. I felt so lost and alone. I genuinely felt like half (if not less) of the person I was before.
Now, I'm going to pause here and say that I'm not saying this isn't normal. Ending a relationship also signals the ending of a huge chapter of your life, particularly when it's something that has been part of your life for several years. Your partner should have an impact on your life and be a huge influence, and ending that relationship will also have an impact. But I think the extent to which I felt like a stranger in my own body is not normal, and why I don't like using the phrase 'my other half'.
So, after moping around and eating a lot of Ben & Jerry's (I mean, it has to be done, right?!), I vowed to myself that I would never let myself feel like that again. I wanted to be my own person, with or without someone else. I didn't want to feel that helpless, vulnerable and lost ever again.
I started doing things for myself that I enjoyed. I reconnected with friends. I became my own person again, with or without another person. I became a happier person in myself, no longer a shell of the person I once was.
When I met B, that didn't stop. I continued with my own hobbies, I started my own business, we have time apart from each other to work on our own stuff as well as spending quality time together. And honestly? I think it's so much healthier and has made our relationship so much stronger, because we don't have to constantly be around each other and in each other's pockets. We each have our own hobbies, our own things, which is completely normal and how I think it should be.
I was also listening to the Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed podcast by Chris and Rosie Ramsey (the best thing to listen to on my hour-long commute to and from work!) and on one episode, Rosie discussed her distaste at being described as 'just Chris Ramsey's other half', which I fully agree with. It sort of diminishes any of your own successes or achievements and suggests that you are merely someone else's other half. I am so proud of B and all of his achievements (such as publishing his own book during lockdown! Shameless little plug, but it's not my book, so I think it's fine), and I would never want to lessen those by simply describing him as 'my other half'. And don't even get me started on people who describe their partners as 'the old ball and chain'...
So although I love B (a lot), I won't describe him as my other half. Because I am just as much a full person on my own as I am with him.
Let me know what you think below! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.