The ideal model cannot be achieved because that would take two perfectly secure people who don’t really need each other but have chosen to share their fulfillment. The reality is that many of us look for substitutes for things we lack; maybe not consciously but it is there humming in the background: the woman who is looking for a protective father figure or the man who thinks he will be happy with a vivacious woman to counteract his lack of social skills.
Making ourselves happy first should be a prerequisite to finding a partner but most of us choose at an age when we don’t really know who we are yet. When we are young and impetuous and barely know ourselves is when we do this. The only saving grace is that, given some luck and our malleability being more abundant, we can adapt to the other person and grow as a unit over time.
Many of us figure out some of the secrets of making ourselves happy as we get older and have been with the same person for many years. But then, our lack of compatibility becomes even more evident after the glue that kept the marriage together in the form of children is no longer there to distract us.
The human animal is so strange: we are not quite happy when we are accompanied but also not quite happy alone. Perhaps the natural state of things is to always be yearning for something that is just out of reach; something which we are convinced once obtained, will see us find true joy.