Why I Hope I Never Find The Man I Can’t Live Without

I’m not looking for the man who completes me. It’s not that I lack the need for a deep, satisfying connection — I just know at my core that the one person who’s vital to my success in every aspect of life is, well, me. I’ll love with everything I’ve got, but I’m whole and happy no matter who shares my journey… or doesn’t.

  1. I need the freedom to pursue an individual life. Literally speaking, if I can’t live without someone, I’ll need him to be physically close most of the time. But what if I get the opportunity to embark on a solo adventure? Need to reduce my social time to kick start a new career? Choose to love a man who doesn’t live in my city? I won’t hold myself back from experiencing a multifaceted life while awaiting our reunion.
  2. I take responsibility for my personal development. The right man can’t really fill the missing pieces in my soul. Hell, I’d be terrified if he could — that would imply he could take those pieces back. But emotional growth is earned, not given by a partner. If I ever feel like I’d be lost or diminished without the man in my life, it’ll be time for an intervention.
  3. I’m a better girlfriend when I’m not stressed about losing the guy. Nothing sucks the joy from a relationship faster than anxiety. Especially in a new relationship, the “I need you” feeling is a sign that I’m giving too much too fast. Yes, if I love a man, I’ll share a chunk of my heart with him, and I’ll even let him keep it if we split. But if I give him my whole heart, reserving no part for myself, I’m allowing him to become my emotional life support, which isn’t very sexy at all.
  4. I want to know who I am by myself. I’ve seen too many smart, driven women get completely mixed up in their relationships. If I don’t know where I end and my partner begins, it’s impossible to retain my unique character. When I’m in a relationship, we should complement one another, not melt into one blob.
  5. I never want to treat singledom like a curse. There’s no one in my future who could ever invalidate my past. I’ve reveled in my aloneness, cherished casual couplings, and committed passionately to exclusive relationships. I’ve known each of my lovers in the perfect order and in the perfect context. The idea of one I can’t live without is absurd given how consistently self-reliant I’ve been under all kinds of circumstances.
  6. I want to keep my dignity if he screws me over. If some people have a zombie apocalypse plan, I have a relationship apocalypse plan. If a boy betrays my trust, sure, I’ll be hurt. But I won’t let it hold me back from trying again. Cynicism can’t infect me. It’s easier to trust the world because I trust myself to be a fully realized human.
  7. I believe in making conscious choices. When I choose to be with a man, I see us as two independent people. We’re not dazed or drugged. We’re not afraid of going our own way. We could do life by ourselves, but we like doing it together. How’s that for romantic?
  8. Depending on myself ensures authenticity in my relationships. Needing somebody is synonymous with being afraid to lose him. When instead I rely fearlessly on myself, I’m able to make the healthiest decisions about my future. I’ll always be honest because I know I’ll continue to thrive no matter who’s in the picture. I’ll know how to define my own needs and walk if they’re not being met.
  9. I don’t want him to worry that I’ll be destroyed if he leaves me. By no means is “I can’t live without you” always a form of manipulation, but when the sentiment is expressed to discourage a partner from breaking up, it certainly is. That’s a gimmick I refuse to employ. He deserves to be honest at really any stage in the relationship if he thinks I’m not the one. Frankly, his honesty will save me serious hassle — I’ve got no interest in trying to force someone to like me.
  10. Even soulmates can’t be together forever. If life doesn’t part two lovers, death ultimately will. “I can’t live without you” is a subconscious setup for dread. Time is too damn short for “can’t”. I want to focus on positives the whole way through. I wish for the man I can live without, but choose to live with.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.