Someone once told me that there are two foundations on which a relationship can be built: the H-Frame and the A-Frame.
The H-Frame is made up of two individuals who are perfectly capable of standing on their own, yet are connected by a bridge of similar interests, shared values, common beliefs, etc. If you were to take away one person or the bridge were to crumble, you are simply left with "I." Strong, sturdy and totally independent.
The A-Frame, however, consists of two people who cannot stand without the other's support. So if one person falters or has a change of heart, the other person falls and the whole foundation collapses.
This ideology has completely changed the way I view relationships and I truly believe that everyone would benefit from knowing it. The H-Frame has taught me to stay true to who I am and what I believe in, despite the presence of my partner’s influence. This means not pretending to like something just because your significant other likes it or not doing something that makes you uncomfortable just because your partner asks you to.
The H-Frame has also taught me that it’s okay if my partner and I don’t agree on everything. Having different tastes in music or movies or hobbies is not enough to make the bridge crumble.
On the other hand, the A-Frame is built on dependence, which means that neither party has complete control of their own well-being. Each person is constantly seeking something from their partner, whether it’s affection, attention, validation or a variety of other things.
As someone who takes a lot of pride in being independent, I cannot stress enough the importance of learning to stand on your own. If heartbreak has taught me anything about myself, it's that I am stronger than I think and I never need to rely on anyone to make me feel okay. I sometimes think back to my previous relationships and I know that I’ve made the mistake of following the A-Frame on multiple occasions. But now, I know that I have the strength and emotional capacity to be my own person and only seek love from those who complement me rather than complete me.