Spanaway elementary school was small and all the same kids were in the same classroom every day. I spent every year with the same group of friends. Upon reaching middle school, those kids all dispersed to different schools and I was completely lost. I had no idea how to make friends and was desperately lonely and needed my old friends back. It took me two years to learn how to make new friends and establish a new group of people. In the years since that first time, it has become easier and easier to leave old friends and establish new ones. I love all my friends I’ve had through the years, but I no longer need them. I desire to spend time with them, but that desire has slowly been tamed from an intense need to a peaceful want. I am not so silly as to think I don’t need people, but I’ve realized that I can make friends and establish a strong social network for myself wherever I go. Each type of friends, old and new, have special qualities that I enjoy.
Dating relationships have gone through the same cycle. Becky was my first love and when she broke up with me it was extraordinarily hard. It felt like I would die if I didn’t have her with me. Two months went by before my hysterical desire to see her faded, and occasionally I still think of her wistfully to this day. Breakups after her have become easier and easier, just like the cycle of not seeing old friends as often and meeting new ones has become easier. I understand that my first girlfriends and first friends were not necessarily better than my later friends, but that I have become a more mature and seasoned person through these experiences.
Maturity in friendships and relationships has given me a fierce independence and freedom. I don’t need any one person and am able to make new friends and find lovers wherever I find myself. People are vital to a happy, healthy life but no one person is irreplaceable to me now. I love my friends, girlfriend and family and they are very important to me. I am also happy to be a free, independent person who does not need any one person and can freely spend time with people I want to be with. True love is not based on need, it is based on want that is freely desired. Think of abusive relationships… why do beaten wives stay with drunk demon husbands? It certainly isn’t because they freely desire and want the treatment they get… it’s because they are emotionally dependent and need their partner. The most beautiful relationships are ones in which both parties are happy, strong and independent and can leave at anytime and still be happy… but they choose to stay with one another. Those are the relationships I want in my life.
My strength came through circumstances that were forced upon me and my reaction to those times. I wonder if it is possible for someone who is never forced to go through such circumstances to develop into a robust, free person? I’m not sure. I can say that many people I know who either have not been through those problems or reacted badly to them are in need-based relationships, not want-based love. What do you think? Do you have any need-based friendships or relationships?