From Lifehack:

Thinking that having a significant other will complete you.

If you are not a whole person already, then having a romantic partner will not make you whole. Plus, it puts a lot of pressure on the other person to “make you happy.” You need to be happy with yourself with or without someone. Having a significant other doesn’t make you happier. Only you can make yourself happy.

Also, on many other self help sites I have noticed similar statements.

I don't understand this. For example, because you are a human, you probably want to have a man or woman in your life who would love you both mentally and physically, so how exactly are you going to make yourself happy if you don't have that significant other or can't get one?

Does that quote mean that you need to forget/suppress your human needs?


2 Answers 2


That's simple. Many celebrities commit suicide, or are drug addicts. Why? They have the money, they have the lover, they have the fans, they have the fame, the power. They have it all. Do they? No, that's not the case.

Lets define happiness; we don't know what happiness is, but we do know:

  • It's not about the money
  • It's not about the fame, the power
  • It's not about love. Or is it? I'll discuss that in a minute.
  • The suicide rate is higher in developed, not poor countries, that means the rich are less happy than the poor. I live in Lebanon, a small country next to Syria and Israel, it's shitty here, and we are ranked I think as the 10th happiest population :)

I'll talk about love in a bit, but lets talk about happiness in general; if all the things listed above doesn't make you happy, what does?

What makes you happy (I believe) is the hope for a better day. When you lose the hope, you lose everything you ever had; you lose the reason for staying alive.

Why isn't Stephen Hawking sad? Because he continues to discover new things, people appreciate these things, it makes him happy and hopeful that one day he'll be regarded as the greatest scientist. He doesn't care about money. What could he do with money? Go to a club, get a beer?

Lets talk about celebrities, they have everything, it's not good, because when you say, "I have everything," what you really mean is, "I have nothing else to do."

George Eastman, founder of the Kodak corporation and inventor of the "snap-shot" camera, shot himself in the heart after leaving a note reading: "To my friends: My work is done, why wait?"

Those who think that their work is done, are less happy.

Wait a second! This question is about love.

Lets ask two questions:

  • When do people want get married?
  • Why do they want to get married?

I've never been in love; I'm not romantic, but the answer is pretty easy.

The answer to the first question, you can have a girlfriend forever. People tend to want to get married when they are financially stable, and therefore they want to start a family.

The answer to the second question is because they want to start a family, AKA have kids.

Why the hell would they want that? Well yes, there's love and all that silly stuff :) but I'm answering a philosophical question, I have to have a better answer than that shit :)

I don't know about you, but in my society, when the women are like 28 years old and not in love, other women start to tell them "Go on, what are you waiting for? Marry anyone; have kids; you don't want to be alone all your life; no one will marry you if you can't have kids."

  • Think of life as a video game: you pass a level, you go to another level, just like Super Mario, and finally he rescues the princess!

Being in love – I mean the state where you dream about the other person and can't eat or sleep – is only temporary. When you get married, it's routine. Kids are the next challenge for you; you hope that your kids will grow up; you hope that they graduate; that's hope I talked about above; every day there's new challenge. Those who can't continue the game will quit, divorce or something.

But it's not her, your wife, that's making you happy; the best that she can do is raise your self esteem, encouraging you, but notice it's all about you.

No one would love someone that doesn't make him happy, in the sense that if you're a programmer, you can't love someone who hates programmers and keep calling them nerds sitting in front of a laptop all day; the other person will be lowering your self esteem.

But you can't expect someone to make you happy, as I discussed above; happiness is about you fulfilling your dreams, challenging yourself. How can your partner fulfill your dreams if you never had a dream?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "No one would love someone that doesn't make him happy" - that statement seems to contradict reality; there are many people in unhappy unrequited love; and there are many people who love someone despite being the victim in an abusive relationship. There are situations exactly like your own example, loving someone who is deliberately lowering your self esteem. $\endgroup$
    – Peteris
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Peteris that's not technically love, you could call it love, but the americans would call it crush i believe, so a man, loves a women, but he doesn't know anything about her, he has crush on her, when he discovers what she really is, he might still be with her because it fulfills his fantasies, or maybe he doesn't want to wake up from the dream "love" or maybe they have kids and they stay together for the kids. there are so many variables, life isn't simple where 1+1 =2, no life is complicated. $\endgroup$
    – Lynob
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 14:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Peteris but what I'm trying to say is that, "love" is understanding + appreciation of the other person + raising his self esteem + fulfilling his fantasies, some couples stay together because they have nowhere else to go, everyone is afraid of the loneliness. this question is not about love, so I won't go deeper in that subject :) $\endgroup$
    – Lynob
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 14:37

It's mostly a fairly vapid truism (see the rhetorical sense). Here's a diagram from a popular theory from a positive psychologist at my doctoral alma mater of [what really makes people happy (or not):
(source: edbatista.com) (Lyubomirsky, 2008)
Thus the truer truism would be, "You can make yourself happier, to some extent..." but it's tricky enough to justify the existence of very many books, studies, even the entire field of , due to catches like the hedonic treadmill (essentially the process by which our pleasures "get old").

As for the need for others, it's something of a personality variable, or two (McAdams & Constantian, 1983), or maybe three by a different theory's construction (i.e., relatedness, not all three here). That is to say it's not universal, much less invariant. In reading @huseyintugrulbuyukisik's answer, consider the following question: https://cogsci.stackexchange.com/q/169/4086 You'll find an answer from me based on a recent evolutionary psychological review there as well. It largely supports your assumption that people will want a significant other sooner or later, and surely this is true for most people.

However, there are certainly exceptions to the false "rule":

  • Asexuality may best describe as much as 1.1% of the general population (Bogaert, 2004, 2006).
  • Asociality is a commonly familiar amotivational characteristic that relates to several other traits, states, and disorders, including:
    1. Introversion, a "Big Five" trait dating back to Carl Jung
    2. Depression, which is a broader state of amotivation and negative affect
    3. Avoidant, schizoid, and schizotypal personality, social anxiety, and autism spectrum disorders
  • Several cultural references may serve to flesh out the variation in human experience of solitude:
    • The history of hermitude, non-cenobitic (eremitic) monasticism, anchorites, stylites, poustiniks, self-sufficiency enthusiasts, loners, and misanthropes
    • An investigative report on solitarily confined inmates
    • A nonfiction book and a movie based on it with a particularly poignant ending (mind the spoilers in the preceding links!)
    • An excellent, recent album by the Australian band Tame Impala, Lonerism, that partly celebrates self-awareness:

      "This album is like...someone growing up and discovering other people and just realising their place is not involved with the rest of the world kind of thing. Like discovering that you're a loner."[27]..."It's about the persona of someone who is really isolated – but not necessarily deliberately. Most of the songs are really about other people, being amongst other people. It's really just the idea of being someone who doesn't feel part of the rest of the world, someone trying to figure out where their place amongst everyone else is, and having a really confusing time with it and then slowly accepting that it's in their blood just to be a solitary wanderer. It's meant to put it in a positive light but also a negative light, as the album progresses."[10][13]

      Parker revealed that the album title and general themes of isolation and introspection were selected when "We were touring so much and doing all these gigs and going to places with people. It reminded me of when I was a kid trying to be social and trying to be a people person and realising that I'm not. The last years of touring and me being a people person is just something that's not in my blood. All these cool parties just make me realise I'm just a total outcast. I just can't really talk to anyone without feeling stupid." and "sometimes I just want to run home and never come out of my bedroom again".[27]


- Bogaert, A. F. (2004). Asexuality: Prevalence and associated factors in a national probability sample. Journal of Sex Research, 41(3), 279–287.
- Bogaert, A. F. (2006). Toward a conceptual understanding of asexuality. Review of General Psychology, 10(3), 241–250.
- Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want. Penguin.
- McAdams, D. P., & Constantian, C. A. (1983). Intimacy and affiliation motives in daily living: An experience sampling analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(4), 851–861.


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