Dear Level

Sorry, But You’ll Never Be ‘One’ With Your Partner

The key to a happy relationship: Don’t lose yourself

Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
Published in
4 min readJun 4, 2021
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

When you get married or settle down, there’s this popular idea that you have to become one with your person. This concept is even a part of some marital vows. Thing is, it ruins more relationships than it saves.

The truth of the matter is that, like it or not, you’ll always be a singular individual, even when you’re no longer single. This reality means that over the years you will likely grow at a different speed, time, and direction than your partner. For most couples, when one person’s growth is not complementary to that of their mate, it means certain doom for their relationship. For more compatible couples, however, even though each person is constantly growing and changing, the speed, timing, and direction of that growth melds beautifully with their partner’s.

Choosing a compatible partner can’t be rushed. It takes years to get to know someone and ensure their trajectory is compatible with yours. Unfortunately, most of us are rushing in and out of relationships without fully understanding to whom we’re committing. Even worse, it often takes years for a fake perfect partner to drop their mask and reveal their true self. By the time they do, the relationship is already knee-deep in commitment. These scenarios are all the more reason why it’s vital that you never aim to be one with your partner and that you, instead, remain an individual in your relationship.

Being an individual doesn’t mean being selfish. On the contrary, the healthiest relationships are where two whole individuals come together for one common purpose and goal. Life is not a scene from Jerry Maguire; no one is supposed to complete you. Instead, you and your partner should come to the table as fulfilled individuals, and you should be careful not to wrap your identity and purpose into your person.

In other words, work with each other; don’t become each other.

When you and your partner understand that it’s better to remain singular individuals rather than trying to become one with each other, a weight is lifted off your relationship. Neither of you will feel guilty for having hobbies, friends, or goals that are just…



Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
Writer for

3x New York Times Bestselling Author | 'The House of Ill Repute (Kensington Publishing, 2024)