Self-partnered. Why it’s so much more than just ‘happily single’.
August 19, 2020
When it comes to relationships, it’s hard to think of a term that has caused more eye-rolling in recent years than ‘self-partnered’.
Self-partnered individuals challenge the notion that you need to have a ‘Fairytale ending’ to feel fulfilled and happy in your life. That ‘happily ever after’ can only mean finding your prince or princess and living in domestic bliss until the end of your days. And that if you don’t follow this path, you’re destined to a lonely life holed-up with a house full of cats.
The eye-rolling isn’t helped by popular celebrities using the phrase self-partnered to justify entering their 30’s single or after a ‘conscious uncoupling’ from a spouse.
In truth, being self-partnered is less about your relationship with others and more about the relationship you have with yourself.
Carla Marie Manly describes self-partnering as, “Focus[ing] on the ideal of being happy and complete as a solo individual. A self-partnered person would feel whole and fulfilled within the self and does not feel compelled to seek fulfilment through having another person as a partner.” Put simply, it’s, loving yourself enough to stop chasing things that are beneath you, things that are outside of who you really are.
Neglecting to partner yourself throughout your life can lead to unhealthy, unbalanced relationships that drain you of your energy and find you living from the outside in. That is, living by societal values and pressures rather than your own internal values.
In contrast, living from the inside out empowers you to live your truth. It’s learning to put our own needs first.
Robert Morely wisely said, “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness”. Only when you can commit to honouring your own needs, healing your wounds and working towards self-actualisation do you have the capacity to allow others into your heart-space. Melanie Tonia Evans describes this perfectly in her self-partnering practice “How does someone who is not happy within themselves behave? The answer is simple – not happy with others.”
So many of us have unmet emotional needs. Either from childhood, past relationships or friendships.
As children, most of us are taught to obey and follow the lead of our parents and teachers. We’re told what to think, feel and do. At some point we begin to develop our own sense of identity and with it, an awareness of our inner truth. For some of us, we are able to build ourselves up, learn to develop thoughts and actions that are expressions of our inner identity. We can live actively, with a sense of control over our situations and the ability to seek fulfilment from ourselves. In other words our behaviours and values are congruent – self-partnered.
For others, living inside-out takes constant work. It’s easier to default to negative patterns of behaviour, reacting to external factors and allowing ourselves to be controlled by others. We get hurt, we consider ourselves victims of circumstance and we call others into our lives to heal past pain or to fill an emptiness we cannot fill ourselves.
It doesn’t matter what your relationship status is, partnered, single or otherwise, if we haven’t done the work to put ourselves first, it’s going to show up in our relationships.
For those in relationships who are not self-partnered, it can have devastating effects. If you are constantly feeling insecure, less than, not good enough, it will show up in your relationship and both of you will suffer.
Couples who have transferred the responsibility for their own well-being to their partners can have catastrophic effects. It causes blame and conflict, it diminishes the self-worth of the individuals and the relationship and ultimately, becomes a loop of frustration and pain. If the individuals are not self-partnered then they “will struggle to be grateful for what someone else does for them, they will have difficulty believing acts of love are genuine, and they will be giving to get and keeping score rather than being authentically generous themselves.” (Melanie Tonia Evans). This is because their inner belief system tells them “I am not lovable”.
Challenging the common opinion, being single is not the choice, being in a relationship with someone other than oneself is.
Individuals who are not self-partnered are likely to have relationships that either don’t last, or remain toxically unhappy. When they are single, they believe the only remedy is to search for another relationship to ‘find happiness’. When in fact, they should be focusing on their most important relationship of all – the relationship with themselves.
In contrast, a self-partnered individual is best positioned to build a successful and fulfilling relationship. They invite people to love, connect to and treat them at the level they love, connect to and treat themselves.
Many of the amazing women I work with have lost connection with themselves and their emotional needs over their lifetime. The natural inclination of women is to put the needs of everyone before their own. This results in a slow decay of the relationship with self, a loss of their truth and in many instances a loss of happiness. They fall out of love with themselves. They may have attracted toxic friendships, they may have been taken for granted in intimate relationships, they may feel disrespected and invalidated.
At The Inner Shine Clinic I support women to come back home to the truth of who they really are. To move beyond limiting beliefs, and really connect with the divineness within. For it is only when you truly believe you are enough that everyone else will feel and treat you accordingly.