Piling everything on one person can unhinge the person
At 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, not even after doing it with our SO. And that is fine. With time, we get comfortable and refuse to do things: listening to your SO 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”.
Related reading: Why every girl needs a guy best friend
Who can be an OSO?
Your OSO could be your childhood friend, a cousin or a family member; 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 SO might not share your love for cricket; they might be into some other sports. Discussing sports with them and throwing a rant that they do not care about your interests is totally unfair.
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.
Every expectation is another hat
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 SOs to wear many hats. Hats which were earlier given to many other people before the relationship. Hats gets piled up one head and might eventually crash on account of the toppling overflow of hats. Get the idea?
Expecting our SOs to fulfil all our needs puts a lot of pressure on the head wearing the innumerable hats. This is where our OSOs come in. Like the Iron Legion assists Iron Man to keep peace and order, think of your OSOs as your helping hand to fulfil 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 as big a Marvel fanatic as you are. Instead of narrating the step-by-step process of doing perfect smoky eyes makeup to your SO, blabber about it to your cousin who loves doing makeup.
Related reading: When your spouse isn’t your best friend
Keep it spread out
Eli Finkel also mentions that these “hats”, when distributed about 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.
But how will you incorporate OSOs in your life? It is pretty basic. There are roles that we assign our partners and expect them to live by. If you like spending endless hours on rock climbing, or simply going to a business meeting with you, they might not be fond of it and it is okay for them to not want to do it. Remember that just because SOs 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 OSOs come in.
You have your OSO who loves to shop, who loves talking about movie stars and how relationships work in real life. Chances are you will find a much better listener in this OSO than in your SO.
Not to be totally careless, but choose the roles (the hats) you want your SO to play. This is to keep from making them overloaded with everything going on with you and expecting them to fulfil every role you have in mind. This creates a strain which can be elevated when you have your OSO girl to dish with.