True or False: ‘Before You Can Be Happy with Someone Else, You Have to Be Happy by Yourself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 Permalink

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By Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do, coming in January, 2015

happiness secrets

Have you ever been told you haven’t found love because you need it too much? That you have to be happy by yourself first? Or have you said these things to yourself?

These myths sound so plausible. It’s actually true that we can’t love others more than we love ourselves, and we need to love ourselves so we can absorb someone else’s love for us.

But the belief that you have to be happy alone to be happy with someone else is not the same idea. You can love yourself and still need people—including one life partner. In fact, it is human to do so.

As a species, we developed in context with other human beings. People did not evolve in isolation. There may have been some folks in ancient times who plunked their babies down on the ground, then wandered off, but it’s likely those kids didn’t become our ancestors. They became lunch!

The very dependence of human babies may be the reason two adults need one another so much. Our children are born so undeveloped, they take years to reach self-sufficiency. Many scientists say the sexual bond between parents needs to last not only long enough to create life—but to sustain it. No wonder reliance on friends, family, and community is not enough to create lasting happiness for most people most of the time; we’re wired up to find intimacy in partnership.

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