Jerry Maguire and the Fallout of the 'Complete Me' Game



Another form of complacency is present in relationships when you see your partner as your complement. This concept has been around forever, but was most notoriously memorialized in the romantic comedy Jerry Maguire (1996). This idea Jarry Maguire expressed, "you complete me", is as much a fiction as the character Jerry Maguire himself. The trouble is that it captured the hearts and minds of a generation, and has perpetuated a false belief about what a good relationship is. The idea that someone "completes" us implies that each of us are incomplete in and of ourselves, and when somebody goes into a relationship with that idea, it is a set up for disappointment and conflict. Nobody completes you but yourself, and the 'complete me' game turns into a 'compete against me' challenge about who is doing the most to complete the other. "I do this for you, and you never do anything for me."

The complacency in this dynamic is of a different nature than the complacency grown out of comfort. This complacency grows out of frustration and resent. It typically boils down to resent that the person who sees themselves as the victim was not able to be themselves. Even if the main complaint is "I worked and I worked on this relationship. I did this for you, I did that for you" the complaint points to the fact that this 'effort' got in the way of that person living his or her own life or living it the way that felt genuine and comfortable. The narrative is that the other person got in the way of that and is to blame. In this scenario the person is not taking any personal responsibility and has given over their personal power to their partner. It is not your partner's responsibility to make sure that you are being yourself and living your life the way you want. It is each of our responsibilities to do that for ourselves, and hopefully we meet someone who is doing the same and calls us out when we are not being true to ourselves. When this happens a boundary naturally forms around the couple, because both people were able to be themselves, live and act in a way that is authentic, and have their individuality thrive in the presence and embrace of a relationship.

Another fallout related to the 'complete me' game is that the people involved can't seem to leave the relationship when it is bad. The relationship becomes this daily grind to see who can work the hardest and go through the most pain to prove that they love their partner more than their partner loves them, to prove that they've given more to the relationship than their parter.

This idea that someone can "complete us" implies that we can go on auto-pilot, be less attentive, let the other carry the load, and even define whether we are happy with our life or not. Life is stressful, and sure we want someone to take the reigns for a while, so we can just cruise to the finish line. Nice fantasy, but it's not real. Instead of the concept of your partner is your complement, or is your "missing piece", how about two whole people coming together t supplement each other's already great lives? This starts with happiness being self-defined (not defined by anyone else, any relationship, or anything outside of yourself). A great relationship begins with the most importnant relationship in your life, and that is the relationship you have with yourself.