The trick to getting a relationship right is to not lose yourself (pronounced: “your SELF”) in it.   To be with another, while each retaining your own individual sense of identity, while adding an additional “we” identity is an important skill that should be consciously cultivated.

In the perfect relationship, 1+1=3. In other words, two people come together and create something more than the sum of their parts. They are each an individual in and of their own rights, and the union of these two individuals creates a third entity, the “relationship”. This is where their two wholes are combined in complementary fashion, where each person complements the other, and they end up with more than twice what they could offer themselves.

To complete the math analogy, here are some of the most common equations:

1+1=0 <- The “bad” relationship where people come together and amplify each other’s negative traits, destroying each other in the process.

1+1=1 <- Both people lose themselves, giving up their own identities and becoming the amorphous “us”. Everything becomes “we” and “I” is never heard.

1+1=2 <- One person completely loses themselves to the other, and all that remains is the first (self-preserving) individual and “the relationship”. The individuality of the second person is lost, sacrificed to the “we” state.

1+1=2 <- Another variation where each person retain a portion of their individuality, and the rest of their individuality is sacrificed on the altar of “relationship”.

1+1=3 <- The ideal state, where each person retains their own individuality and personal identity, but also functions well together, amplifying each others’ positive attributes and canceling out (compensating for) each others’ weaknesses. The people can function alone or together, as “me” or as “us” as best suits the situation.