Look – being in a romantic relationship doesn’t have to mean being joined at the hip!
You may be feeling bad because you’re not like some other couples who do absolutely everything together. And maybe you’re wondering if that makes your relationship less meaningful than theirs.
I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about.
It turns out that a healthy dose of independence is good for a relationship.
People who can’t do anything without each other are probably in a co-dependent relationship and trust me, that’s not what you want.
Let’s look at the signs that you’re someone who needs independence, yes, even in a relationship.
1) Need for personal space
Now, the first sign you’re someone who needs independence in a relationship is the fact that you need your personal space.
You want to be able to go into the other room and be alone.
Maybe you want to meditate, listen to music, or be alone with your thoughts, whatever it is, it’s something you need to do to recharge your batteries and not feel overwhelmed and suffocated.
I hear you.
It can be quite a lot to spend every free moment with your partner. That’s why it’s important to be able to have a time-out without feeling guilty for not being with them all the time.
The truth is that a healthy dose of personal space is to be encouraged and can actually help make your relationship stronger. Just be sure that your partner understands that your need for space is not you running away from them!
2) Autonomy in decision-making
If you have a strong need to make decisions and have total control, it’s another sign that you need independence.
Of course, you should never let anyone tell you how to live your life. However, when you’re in a relationship, you can’t make decisions that affect both you and your partner by yourself.
You’re a team and as such, you need to learn to make decisions together.
You also need to be ready to compromise and accept that things aren’t always going to be exactly the way you want them to be.
You’ll probably find it challenging at first, but you’ll get used to it. Just remember, it doesn’t mean you’re less independent if you take your partner’s wishes into consideration!
3) Pursuit of personal goals and interests
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do everything together to be a good match!
Let’s look at my relationship as an example.
Now, my husband just loves fantasy role-play (FRP) and board games. But that stuff isn’t really my cup of tea. I mean, I gave it a try and realized I didn’t have the patience for it.
Is that a problem?
Of course not.
He goes to play with his friends while I do something else that makes me happy. It’s a win-win situation. Plus, it gives us a chance to miss each other – not being together 24/7.
So, don’t worry if you have a strong desire to pursue your own goals and interests outside of the relationship.
You can have a strong individual identity as well as a happy and healthy relationship.
4) Need for personal growth and development
Look, just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to stop growing as a person.
It’s quite normal for someone independent to keep learning and evolving as an individual – even if they’re in a relationship.
Whether it’s by looking for ways to advance your career or seeking opportunities for self-improvement, the fact you value personal development and prioritize it alongside your relationship shows that you need your independence.
5) Maintaining social connections
Another sign that you need independence even if you’re in a relationship is the fact that you find it super important to maintain your other relationships. I’m talking about your friends, family, and co-workers.
You know how sometimes when someone starts dating someone new, you never see them?
Well, that’s not the case with you. You make a point of setting aside time for your other relationships, no matter how in love you are.
Basically, your life is much larger than your romantic relationship and that’s a healthy attitude to have.
6) Emotional self-reliance
While you appreciate emotional support from your partner, you also place importance on being emotionally self-reliant.
Sounds like a healthy choice to me.
Think about it: If you were to rely solely on your romantic partner and they broke up with you, who would be there to console you?
That’s why you believe in taking responsibility for your own feelings and emotions instead of depending solely on your partner for your emotional well-being. And of course, you have your friends and family…
7) Strong sense of identity
To be honest, I find it kind of strange when couples kind of merge into one person.
The fact that someone is in love and totally into the person they’re dating doesn’t mean they should forget who they are, should it? It doesn’t mean they should think like the other person and forget who they are.
If you agree with me and you have a clear sense of who you are as an individual, outside of your relationship, it’s because you’re an independent person.
You have your own beliefs, values, and interests, and you make a point of keeping a strong sense and not getting lost in your partner.
Keep it up and never stop being you.
8) Financial autonomy
Finally, I’ve got to mention financial autonomy as a sign that you need independence in a relationship.
Even if you’ve been with your partner for a while now, you still prefer to maintain financial independence and have control over your own finances.
While you might share some expenses with your partner, you value having the freedom to manage your money and make financial decisions on your own.
The bottom line
The need to remain independent in a relationship is more common than you think.
It’s important to recognize and embrace this aspect of yourself to maintain a healthy and fulfilling partnership.
If you don’t, you risk feeling trapped and suffocated and that’s a sure way to end a relationship.