By Abiola Abrams – author of “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love,” a Love-Body-Spirit (TM) Self-Esteem Coach and relationship advice columnist known on media from MTV to the BBC.
Can you believe that it has been 14 years since Beyoncé and her group Destiny’s Child sang the girl-power anthem, “Independent Women”? Women of all backgrounds danced along with the empowering lyrics, “Tell me what you think about me. I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings. Only ring your cell-y when I’m feelin’ lonely. When it’s all over please get up and leave.” Wow.
That’s right. There is a generation of fiercely independent women who enjoy making their own money and having the freedom to live as they choose. The fears of being a spinster that once plagued Bridget Jones seem antiquated. Many women of colour were raised by single mums who they saw thriving – making all of the decisions and paying their own bills – and now they are living the same way.
So what happens when a woman formerly proclaiming to be “forever single” is looking for love? The most independent woman may want to get married but is afraid of sacrificing the perks of her individual lifestyle. After all, we were not built to be solo creatures. As human beings we crave companionship.
For all of the talk about unavailable men, many of us women are unavailable as well. In my work as a love columnist and self-esteem coach, I often encounter men who have a fear of independent women. At first, I was puzzled by their complaints of women being “too independent.” After all, isn’t it an optimal situation that adults can take care of themselves? With deeper examination, I found that what really troubled these men is not our independence. Instead, they are upset because it doesn’t feel as though women need them – and they want and need to feel needed.
Maybe it’s because we’ve been burned one too many times or we just don’t want to get hurt, but many women are treating men more like accessories than prospective life partners. Yes, ladies. Many of us are unavailable for love and long-term relationships. We mask this fact in our independence or a laundry list of unattainable “needs” that is designed subconsciously to keep up single – and most importantly, keep us from being hurt.
Independent vs Interdependent
If you’ve got a job, home, friends, and a lifestyle that you already love, the thought of giving that up for someone else can seem daunting. It’s time to revise the dichotomy that says we’re either single and independent or coupled and subservient. You’re not giving up your life, you are sharing your life.
There is a difference between being needy and needing your partner in a healthy way. Interdependence is what we should all be striving for in a relationship. Healthy dependency is the ability to allow yourself to need others and welcome their need for you.
So, how do you move from fiercely independent to interdependent?
Start by examining your wants, needs, and boundaries. Where are you willing to compromise and where are you not? You would not want to be in a relationship with a non-compromising and selfish person, so don’t expect anyone else to either. Be sure that your fears of love, and intimacy are not what’s making you worship your solo independence over relationship interdependence.
You can have your cake and eat it, too. Just make sure that you are on the same page with your partner about key issues before commitment.
Decide before getting married:
– Do you want children?
– Who will take care of the household?
– Should there be a prenuptial agreement?
– If you’re on birth control, how long will you keep taking it?
– Will you take on each other’s debt?
Examine your capacity to receive
Your Superwoman independence may seem to keep you emotionally safe but it can really be a barrier to you receiving the love you deserve. Are you being driven by your fears or love? Sure up your receiving muscle. Increase your capacity to receive compliments, adoration, and love.
Remember, we need companionship. Be clear upfront about your personal goals. Do you want to travel extensively? Are you interested in pursuing additional education? Is a career change or entrepreneurship on the horizon?
The final word
Your ideal partner is waiting for you. Open your heart and your mind to receiving love and an independent woman can absolutely be a future wife.