Love

How to be an Independent Woman while Maintaining a Strong Relationship

You can love wholeheartedly and also be responsible about your future. Here's what I suggest you do.

Each relationship is incredibly different, just like each woman is incredibly different. Talking to them through the years, however, and through my own experience, it’s become clearer to me that there are some things all women in any relationship could be doing to nourish their independence in parallel while still being committed to the relationship.

You can love wholeheartedly and also be responsible about your future. Loving and trusting someone is not mutually exclusive with investing in yourself and and enriching your independence. You don’t have to give up all your independence when you enter a serious relationship, but you definitely do have to make some sacrifices.

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And most importantly, a relationship doesn’t have to have even a hint of discord or dissatisfaction for a woman to take an active role in the financial side of things. You can bring back additional knowledge and perspective into the couple, enriching both of you in the process.

Here’s how to stay the fiercely independent woman you are while in a relationship:

1. Take a time out. 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a relationship, particularly if you’re spending your time tending to the needs of other people and forgetting your own. When you identify this, do yourself a favor and take a time out. Go read a book, take a walk in the park, get a massage, or even take a hot shower to have some quiet time. You need to have separate lives if you don’t want to feel suffocated.

2. Don’t forget your friends.

As you become a part of your partner’s life more and more, your relationships with other people may fall by the wayside. It’s really important for you to maintain your sense of self by having your own friends and seeing them regularly. How many times have you heard friends complain that they never see you anymore ever since you’ve been hitched? The strong bond you build with your friends is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself in life. After all, to whom can you turn if the waters get a little turbulent with your significant other? Make the time for close friends — even if it’s one day a week. A girl’s or guy’s night out may just be the recipe for a successful relationship in the long run.

3. Don’t change yourself just because he wants.

You don’t have to change in order to make your boyfriend love you. While some girls are happy to wear their hair down, because it’s what their man prefers, you’re free to do as you wish. Just don’t be hypocritical and expect your man to dress a certain way, just because you like it.

4. Have your own hobbies.

As much as it’s important to have activities that you do with one another, it’s also vital to maintain your own sense of self through activities that speak to your individuality. Perhaps you and your counterpart love to run together, but he or she can’t stand yoga. That’s ok. Explore the activities that bring you together and don’t be afraid to continue to do the ones that give you a sense of self.

5. Have some alone time.

Beyond taking a time out, it’s important to give yourself an extended vacation from life once in a while. This may mean taking a retreat away to another city or training for a triathlon or half-marathon, which gives you an extended amount of time to let your mind wander.This one is the most important of all. When you were single, you probably went to cafés and bars and lunches alone, and you should continue to do so. Just because you have someone to go out with doesn’t mean you should go out with them all the time. Because there’s so much beauty in those moments alone. You were independent before, and you should stay that way.

6. Communicate openly. 

Communicating openly with your loved one is far and away the most important aspect to the health and longevity of any relationship. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye all the time, there’s an undeniable power behind telling your counterpart when you feel as if you need time away. This will only add to a deeper understanding of your needs, and often will result in a compromise that you can both agree on.

7. Pay for certain things yourself.

If your man always pays the bill when you go out to eat, it’ll feel like he’s taking care of you. If you don’t want to feel like you owe someone, then you can tell him you want to go dutch whenever you go out to eat. That means that you’ll be splitting the bill. Of course, if one of you tends to spend more than the other, you can ask for separate checks, so that you don’t feel like you’re getting ripped off.

 

It’s easy to forget ourselves when we’re caught up in the hormones of new love. Thankfully, we can take a step back and regain our footing if we stray too far off the path. “It’s wonderful to spend time with your partner, as long as it feels balanced, where you can also have time for yourself.”

There’s nothing wrong with connecting with another person. It’s one of the most essential parts of being human, and it’s a very beautiful thing. But it’s important to remember that you are also a beautiful person, and your individuality is a tremendous gift. A relationship should complement you, not complete you. Don’t let go of the things that make you who you are; that’s what drew your partner to you in the first place.

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