Ever been labeled ‘too independent’, and wondered what on earth people are talking about?
Surely being self-sufficient is the best way to be? How else would you survive on a desert island?
Unfortunately, independence is like marmite. And if you’re not familiar with the British delight, too much definitely spoils anything it touches.
Valuing your independence to the point where you inadvertently push away the people you care about is a lesser known downside of having learned how to stand on your own two feet.
As someone who has been called too independent a good few times, I’ve got plenty to share on the topic.
So without further ado, here are 6 signs that your independent streak may be causing more harm than good in your relationships.
1) You value your independence over your partner’s needs
It’s a wonderful thing to be self-reliant, don’t get me wrong.
You can take care of yourself, and do wonderfully on your own two feet – no help needed, thank you.
However, an independent personality can sometimes be so focused on self-sufficiency that the needs and desires of a partner may inadvertently be overlooked.
Because whilst you might’ve learned that independence as a coping mechanism for a period of your life when no one was there to catch you when you fell, relationships involve two people.
One person who stands alone, who doesn’t ask for help and pushes it away when offered, will unconsciously cause a rift between two people who are supposed to be in a form of partnership.
Now, this can manifest in various ways; perhaps you make decisions without consulting your partner, or unintentionally overlook their input.
You might prefer to handle things on your own because you know you can do it, which then leaves your partner feeling unneeded or pushed aside.
However, the beauty of a relationship lies in the balance between dependence and independence.
It’s all about respecting each other’s individuality while also acknowledging the bond you share.
Navigating this balance can be challenging, especially when independence has been your go-to mode.
But it’s essential to remember that in a relationship, you’re not just an individual, but you’re part of a team. Sometimes, that means putting your partner’s needs alongside, or even before your own.
2) You often isolate yourself
Independence can sometimes morph into isolation, especially when you’re so used to doing things on your own and enjoy your own company.
This isn’t to say that spending time alone is inherently bad in any way.
In fact, it’s essential for personal growth and self-reflection.
However, when taken to the extreme, it can build walls in your relationship.
You see, while you might be perfectly content with your own company, your partner may feel neglected or left out. They might struggle to understand why you often choose solitude over their companionship, leading to feelings of rejection.
Balancing your need for independence with the shared experiences that nurture a relationship can be tricky. But it’s a delicate dance worth learning for the sake of your relationship’s health.
Don’t think of it as sacrificing your quality alone time, but rather inviting your partner into your rich inner world, so that you can enjoy it together.
3) You prioritize your personal space over shared intimacy
I love my personal space. I like my flat, my bedroom, my running, and my reading.
In all of these activities and places, I can retreat and be at one with my thoughts. It’s been a crucial part of my happiness and has kept me afloat through many years.
But there came a point where my partner began to feel shut out of this safe haven I had created, and rightfully so, voiced this to me
Because without knowing it, I would decline participating in activities so that I could sequester myself away (with my cat). Or say no to a fun Sunday out so I could run in peace, alone.
Over time, I realized that while it’s essential to have your own space, it’s equally vital to create shared spaces in a relationship.
Now, by no means should you allow someone else to invade your personal space or share your hobbies.
But I bought my boyfriend a toothbrush for my flat, and occasionally take him running.
Relationships involve respecting one another’s personal space, but also creating new channels whereby you can share hobbies and spaces, and grow together.
4) You struggle with vulnerability
Independence often means depending on yourself, solving your own problems, and showing an exterior of strength. You have to be pretty steely to survive.
And whilst these are admirable qualities, they can sometimes inhibit our ability to be vulnerable with others.
By vulnerability, I mean letting your guard down, sharing your fears and dreams, and allowing yourself to be seen in all your authenticity. It’s also about admitting when you’re not okay and seeking comfort in your partner (which is terrifying for the hyperindependent.)
But if you’re anything like me, you might find it challenging to open up and share these parts of yourself that you consider soft, squishy, and weak.
Yet, it’s important to remember that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of courage. It takes strength to show your authentic self, to admit when you need help, and to lean on someone else.
And in a relationship, allowing yourself to be vulnerable can nurture far deeper connections and mutual understanding.
Letting your guard down allows your partner to see the real you and gives them the opportunity to be there for you in ways that truly matter.
5) You’re not comfortable depending on others
I’ve always prided myself on being very self-sufficient.
True, my DIY plumbing attempts might be laughable, but the washing machine gets fixed!
I still love the feeling of being able to handle things on my own; whether tinkering away at appliances or handling a tricky situation elsewhere in life. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and reinforced the fact that I can do it alone.
But it has also meant that I find it incredibly difficult to ask for help, even from my partner.
Something as simple as asking him to pick up groceries on his way home still feels like I was showing weakness (a true dagger to the heart for a gym girl.)
And this reluctance to depend on others did create an invisible barrier in my relationship.
However, I too am learning that dependence isn’t a sign of weakness.
It shows that you trust and value someone, which in turn makes them feel needed and valued.’s a reflection of trust.
So, not that you should call for your partner to do simple tasks just to make them feel good, but consider allowing yourself to ask for help, and trust that they too can do a good job.
Personally, it has not only strengthened my bond with my partner, but also taught me that it’s okay to not handle everything on my own.
(And sometimes someone else can do a far better job at home DIY tasks…)
6) You forget that relationships are about compromise
The beauty of independence is the freedom to make your own choices, follow your own path, and live life on your terms. You’re free as a bird, and not ever tied down.
However, in a relationship, it’s not just about you anymore – and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Suddenly your life involves a whole other person who has their own desires, needs, and perspectives.
The heart of any relationship lies in the ability to compromise.
It’s about finding a middle ground where both partners feel heard and valued – not about giving up your independence, but rather intertwining your partner’s needs and wants with your own.
Plus, compromise doesn’t have to mean losing yourself; it can mean growing with someone else. It’s about respecting each other’s individuality while also nurturing the bond you share.
This is the delicate balance upon which a relationship thrives.
And whilst independence is a strength, so is compromise. As you grow with your partner and your relationship blossoms, you’ll find that these two traits can coexist beautifully.
If you find yourself nodding along to the above, it’s possible your independent streak is causing some strain in your relationships. However, know that recognizing this is the first step towards making positive changes.
Because independence and relationships are not mutually exclusive.
They can coexist harmoniously when you find a balance and a middle ground where your independence doesn’t overshadow the bond you share with your partner.
And gradually, you can learn to invite your partner into your rich inner world and enjoy the experiences all the more when they’re shared. You can practice vulnerability, learn to lean on them when needed, and be amazed at how much of a burden they can lift from your back.
In the end, it’s about understanding that maintaining your independence doesn’t have to come at the cost of your relationships.
You can be a strong, independent individual and still form deep, meaningful bonds with others.