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The term “self-partnered” is not exactly new. Emma Watson referred to herself as “Self-partnered” in an interview with British Vogue about a year ago, but it’s really picked up steam since then.

The concept of self-partnering provides a very empowering possibility: that you are complete without another person as your partner. The word “single” has its implications. Alone. Solo. Stag. Without. It suggests that someone is in a waiting period, and is feeling unsettled. But, many singles can tell you that they do not feel that way. That being said, if society seems troubled by someone who doesn’t have a partner, perhaps we can shut them up by saying, “I have a partner. I am self-partnered.” Maybe that can tie up that pesky loose end that family and friends always ask about.

There’s a lot of good to be said about the concept of self-partnering. But, like with any trend, it’s worth looking at the long-term and deeper implications. Is this just another way millennials like to shake up the norm by changing — or eradicating — labels? What does it really mean to be self-partnered? Is it different from being single, actually? And can there be ways one takes it too far? We spoke with couples counselor Dr. Laura Louis all about the concept.

dr. laura louis

Source: Dr. Laura owns these photos / Glamor Shots

Why the need for the term?

“There is this idea that you are not complete until you get married,” says Dr. Louis. “There is this feeling of ‘When are you going to settle down?’ and the assumption that being with yourself is not complete –that you haven’t gone through the full stages of emotional maturity until you’re married. That’s a preconceived notion.”

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