How to Never Lose Your Partner

Not the best way to keep your partner
Note: Let truth guide you, not us. Our humble disclaimer.

Very few people like having their partner hang out with ex-girlfriends and dangerously wonderful singles.

This is a problem because I’m a very social person. I hang out with lots of cool people and forge deep bonds with many. Sometimes my partners get nervous because they know I am surrounded by people I love. Sometimes these people even are former girlfriends.

Usually my partners feel nervous because they want to be the only person I love. And they want to be the only person I love because they want to be special. And they want to be special because they never want to lose me. This makes sense—who wants to lose someone they love?

The problem is that most people don’t love just one person. We love our parents, we love our siblings, and over the course of a lifetime we probably love more than one person outside our family. Many of us pretend we only love one person because we truly love our partner, and we want him or her to feel safe. But in our heart of hearts, most of us know we love more than one person—at least at some point.

That’s okay, because we can be special even if we’re not the only person someone loves. The amazing relationships we know often are billed as “this is the only person I love” relationships, but the truth is that they are not as airtight as we pretend. They are not “this is the only person I love” relationships. Really their power comes from someplace else. It isn’t about being “the only one.”

Good relationships come from deep connections, from two people coming together as one. This says nothing about whether there are other connections. It just requires a deep connection between two people. So if we want a strong relationship, one that will last, we should forget about being the only one and instead focus on deeply connecting with the person we love. That’s how we keep the one we love.

On the deepest level, ensuring that we keep the one we love is not about controlling them or limiting who they know and like. We might be good at keeping lovable people from our partner, but even the best of us won’t be perfect at squashing it. So there’s always the danger we might lose the person we love the most. If we establish a zero-sum game where our partners must choose, there’s always the chance they might choose somebody else one day.

Instead, we ensure our important relationships the way that friends stay together even when romantic partners come and go. We ensure our important relationships by accepting the other person and coming together with them in a deep and meaningful way. We understand the person we love, we accept them for who they are, and we work together with them no matter what twists and turns life takes.

We never leave ourselves even if we make a big mistake. Likewise, we never leave the people who have become a part of ourselves, those with whom we share a deep connection and understanding.

The best defense against losing someone we love—the only real defense—is forging deep bonds with the person. This comes from offense, from being so close that there’s no such thing as leaving; you and the other person are one and the same. It doesn’t ultimately come from defense, from hiding or restricting your partner, it comes from the offense of building a strong relationship.

Sometimes defense is necessary on a short-term basis, but it is never the long-term solution. Relationships don’t succeed with defense any more than sports teams win with it. The game is won with offense, even if defense reduces the role offense must play. A good sports team will not win if they stop their opponents from scoring; they win when they score more than their opponents.

A deep sense of togetherness and connection is the only sure way we keep someone we love; defensively restricting who our partner knows ultimately just hurts our relationship. We sacrifice offense for defense.

And would we really want to win a low-scoring, loveless relationship anyway? Better to master togetherness than the dark art of caging and controlling those we love.

Usually lost in the discussion is a larger point, too. When we’ve deeply partnered with somebody, when we’ve become a single unit, there’s no need for competition. There’s no competition because there’s nobody to lose. We’ve become the person we love, and we can never truly lose ourselves. We’ve gone beyond the place where anybody else can hurt us.

So the deepest relationships are beyond jealousy, beyond ex-girlfriends, beyond any sense of loss. We’re not playing the game anymore, we’re the league commissioner who watches the game unfold.

Getting there is hard, though, which is why I almost always take jealousy seriously. Sometimes I get jealous, sometimes my partner gets jealous. Until we’ve mastered coming together with another person, we still fear losing those we love.

It is important to note, however, that when I am jealous I don’t lock my partner in her apartment or slip a burka over her head. At least not permanently. Instead, I tackle the root cause: I address my own loss of connection with the other person. If I am feeling jealous, my emotions are giving me a sign that my relationship is weak. I’m foolish if I ignore the sign, but I’m also foolish if I misread the signal.

Not everyone will be sold on the power of togetherness, this I know. So next week I will share the blueprint for making someone love you more than anyone else.

Yes, I’m really going to give you this power; I’m really going to show you how to become a love powerhouse. If you’re going to compete, at least you should win.

But while you’re beefing up on love power, I’m pretty sure you’ll discover something interesting: You no longer need to compete. Nobody can hurt you.


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