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Normally I wouldn't bring up something so personal, but having my best friend get married has raised a bunch of relationship issues in mind. Her and I were talking about it recently and we both noticed a pattern in our relationship habits.

When I was younger I sought the new, exotic, and also the similar. Either a relationship was a "learning" one - where I changed dramatically throughout its course or it was a meeting of like minds. The latter tended to be refreshing but brief and the former always ended when I mastered the lessons.

Recently I have found myself longing for a different type of partner though. Instead of searching for someone "just like me" who shares my ideals, habits, skills, preferences, talents, etc., I find I long for someone who balances me a bit more. My voracious curiosity about the world doesn't need any encouraging from a partner. Instead I would rather have someone who makes me smile, reminds me to laugh at myself, and smells the roses.

This is different from a learning relationship. I am not interested in someone who is going to teach me to be ways I am not but rather someone who helps me feel more balanced the way I am.

This is difficult for me to accept because I have always been so independent. As a child I recall my parents talking about the "cult of pairs". This conjures up an image of couples who protect and compensate for each other to an extent that inhibits growth. After all, if I have a partner who balances me out - what happens if I do change? Does he have to change with me? How do you tell the difference between an unhealthy co-dependent relationship and a healthy interdependent one? How do you make a commitment to someone in a world where everything is impermanent and bound to die?

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