Before you read the following, please don’t get me wrong. I’m in a relationship and I’m completely enamored by my boyfriend of two years. Which is why I know it’s possible for females to be independent while in a relationship. Maintaining a healthy independence level is crucial when you have someone special in your life. You should still be able to do your own thing and live as you always did, and still love your partner.
There is a negative stigma that says goal-oriented and independent women aren’t able to let anyone into their hearts because they are too focused on their lives. This is simply not true. As humans, we are programmed to want interaction with others, and being in love is something that happens to the best of us. Even the most driven woman loves cuddling! Here are a few steps to ensure that you are being your own person while staying in a healthy—not needy—relationship.
Have Your Own Life
Even though we’d love to be with our boo-things 24/7, having our own lives is extremely important. It’s okay to do things together, but when it gets in the way of you being able to do things on your own, that’s a huge red flag. You wouldn’t want to be seen as “Jack and Jill”—two people sharing a body and a title. Being Jill without her Jack every so often is cool, too!
You must allow room for personal space and individuality in your relationship. Find your own hobby sans man, like photography or Zumba. You can also treat yourself; go to the mall, get a pedicure or have a fun night out with your girls (trust me, he would want you to do these things without him!).
Although it’s super important to be friends with your S.O.’s friends, you can have your own friends as well. It’s totally fine to have some separate experiences! Plus, when you have a little time away from each other, you can come back after it’s all over and talk about all the fun things that happened. How can you possibly miss someone you spend every waking moment with?
Realize the Difference Between “Complement” And “Completion”
We all know that famous quote from Jerry Maguire: “You complete me.”
Personally, I think this is bullshit.
A significant other should complement you—not complete you—and once you are able to make that distinction, you will be a more secure person.
Think about it: if your boo completes you, does that mean that everything in life not pertaining to that person leaves you empty? What else is there to strive for? You should be secure enough in yourself to feel completely whole as a person on your own.
We are like puzzle pieces. Once we find the piece that fits, it’s a magical thing. However, that’s just two pieces. There are several other pieces that need to fit together to make a true completion. These other pieces can be family, friendship, work, hobbies, etc.
You should still be putting yourself and well-being first and foremost. You should always be your first priority, and you should never settle or depend on someone to be the only source of your happiness. You’re better than that. You should, however, depend on your relationships (both friendships and courtships) for support, love, inspiration, laughs and a positive push to make you the best person you can be.
Have Good Self-Esteem
I’m one of those people who was born an individual. I’ve been confident in myself, my abilities, and my flaws since a very young age.
If you are one of those women who is confident in yourself and you have good self-esteem, it’s probably easier for you to thrive in both a solo setting as well as in a relationship. You don’t need constant reassurance about the things that you already know about yourself.
For instance, if you know you look good in pink, you don’t need a significant other to tell you that, even though compliments make us feel all warm inside. If you’re too codependent on someone else and you need validation from another them, that’s not healthy.
What happens if the relationship goes sour? Where does that validation go? There’s a difference between the romantic, “I can’t live without you,” style connection, and the not being able to function without them attachment.
It’s okay to want validation and to crave a sense of security, but you definitely don’t need it from another person. The first person you should crave that from is yourself. Try to build a healthier self-esteem and you’ll become less dependent on compliments and more confident in how wonderful you actually are.
A lot of people compliment my relationship with my boyfriend because it’s “normal” or “chill.” Sometimes, people ask if we’re even still dating because neither of us constantly gushes about the other. In reality, we’ve just learned how to keep a positive balance between independence and dependence in our relationship (plus, no one needs to know about what’s going on in our relationship because it’s our relationship). We are able to do our day-to-day activities without each other, but whenever we need someone to talk to or to cuddle with after a long day, guess who’s there? I don’t need to eat lunch with him for every meal or see him every single day; he’s on my mind and I’m on his, and having that confidence in the security of our relationship is enough for me. If you are able to keep a healthy and balanced relationship without constant dependency on your lover, you are well on your way to a very happy and successful love life.