Quick Bites

Here’s why you need an ‘Other Significant Other’ – apart from your partner

Expecting our partner to fulfill all our needs puts a lot of pressure on them. That's where an 'other significant other' can help.
best friend

Piling everything on one person can unhinge the person

In the beginning of a new relationship, we tend to divulge everything to our significant other. We go do yoga together, watch sappy rom-coms and we swallow every inhibition to cry out “This is all made up. Why are we even watching this?” at the orchestrated WWE matches.

Relationships make us do crazy stuff – stuff we never enjoyed otherwise. And that is fine. With time, we get comfortable and deny doing things – listening to your SO (Significant One) talk about the huge sale at Forever New or the match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. And that is okay as well. Our partners love us very much but limiting ourselves to talk to only them about things that excite us is foolish. Which is why we have the ‘Other Significant Other’.

Your OSO could be your childhood friend, a cousin or a family member

Your OSO is someone who gets what interests you and shares your passion for soppy movies (something your SO does not like). With your OSO, there are no romantic or sexual feelings. Kind of like your BFF.

Your love for cricket might not be shared by your SO-they might be into some other sports. By discussing sports with them and throwing a rant that they do not care about your interests is totally unfair. By doing that, you are trying to make them into someone that they don’t want to be.

Modern relationships are strained enough as it is. Pile more strain on it and the relationship might falter. So like a BFF to the rescue to most of your problems, your Other Significant Other is there to alleviate the pressure you might impose on your Significant One.

gossiping friends
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Read more: 10 signs you are moving from friends to lovers
Read more: Things you get when your husband is your best friend

There is a very interesting metaphor proposed in a book All-or-Nothing Marriage by Eli Finkel. In his book he discovered that in our relationships we expect our SO’s to wear many hats. Hats which were earlier given to many other people before the relationship. Hats get piled up on one head and might eventually crash on account of the toppling overflow of hats. Get the idea?

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Expecting our SO’s to fulfill all our needs puts a lot of pressure on them

This is where our OSO’s come in. Like the Iron Legion assists Iron Man to keep peace and order, think of your OSO’s as your helping hand to fulfill all your needs, which for whatever reason your SO cannot; a peacekeeping system in your relationship.

So instead of ranting to your SO about an amazing day you have had while discussing which Avenger is going to die in the next movie (Your SO is more of DC fan), try narrating your theories to your childhood friend who is that big a Marvel fanatic as you are. Instead of narrating the step-by-step process of doing a perfect smokey eye makeup to your SO, blabber about it to your cousin who loves make-up.

Eli Finkel also mentions that these ‘hats’ when distributed among family members, friends, acquaintances and associates will build a ‘diversified social portfolio’. Having different people relate to us in different ways will keep the pressure off of piling our needs solely on our SO and will help us meet our distinct needs.

girl sad
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How do you incorporate OSOs in your life

It is pretty basic. There are roles that we assign our partners and expect them to live by it. It is to be remembered that just because SO’s don’t always share your interests, it doesn’t make them a lousy partner. We often quarrel with our partners trying to make them do things, be someone they are not. Conflicts arise when you drag him to a mall during the winter sale or when you book tickets to a match knowing that watching a football match in the stadium is just not her thing. This is where our OSO’s step in.

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