time alone

Is Your Independence Infecting Your Relationship?


You pride yourself on being independent … your own person  – and you like it that way. You love your sweetheart and want to please them but their protective or controlling nature is interfering with the relationship. Is your partner’s behavior smothering you? Do you feel “joined at the hip” instead of walking alongside your significant other? You can’t see into the future, but you can see clearly that their attitude is going to dismantle the relationship if they  don’t give you some breathing room.

Is This Your Relationship?

You: You want some alone time and are enjoying the day curled up with a good book.

Your partner:  They are annoyed, angry, or hurt that you’re choosing a book over them; using the time they want to spend together.

Or maybe these remarks sound familiar:

“You don’t have to worry about anything. I’ll take care of you.” Or, “I don’t want you to going out at night without me.”

Your response might be to hit the ceiling … or maybe you swallow the Cool Aid, nod your head in agreement, pretend s/he didn’t mean it, or you tell yourself you’ll deal with it later.

Do you feel you’re being pressured into giving up control of your actions or emotions to your partner? Are you afraid to make decisions, take certain actions, engage in certain activities, live a lifestyle to which you’re accustomed and that you enjoy? Can you embrace independence or is your independence taking a hit to satisfy him/her?


Why Does Your Mate Act This Way?

When you give up or are asked to give up some of your independence, your partner may be overstepping boundaries. S/he may see the relationship as only “us,” not two unique individuals coming together but still maintaining two separate identities.

Your partner may be inclined to assume certain roles in the relationship. S/he may do this because it may seem familiar or comforting to assume these roles, because this is how their past relationships operated, or because they see this role as a demonstration of their love or commitment. The trouble with this attitude is that, taken to extremes or beyond what you feel comfortable with, it can destroy the often good intentions behind it, causing more harm than good.


Restoring Independence

Maybe it’s time for a heart-to-heart discussion with your sweetie. A relationship is a gift that chance has bestowed on you both. Does s/he see the relationship this way, or to them is the relationship a necessity or does it serve to satisfy certain desires?

You might tell him/her they matter to you, but at the same time, you are each whole and separate persons with your own independent needs and interests.

You might tell them they are not responsible for your happiness. That kind of responsibility can lead to demands on their part and resentment or a sense of powerlessness on your part.

You might tell them it’s important to you to grow as an individual in a relationship. Your personal goals are not going to be his/her personal goals – some of them are, but don’t expect the whole enchilada.

You might tell them that independence can actually keep the relationship fresh and exciting.

You might tell them that being independent allows you to support each other’s unique goals and capabilities.

You might tell them that when we allow and respect our partner’s space, this draws our partner closer to us.

You might tell them that you would prefer to be asked directly what you want and need from them rather than assuming they know what you want or that they can read your mind.


Making Progress

Being able to keep your independence and individuality also equips you for the uncertainties of life (you might want to leave that out of the discussion). You and your mate can cooperate together to find an honest and authentic way of relating to one another so that you each can maintain your independence and get what you want out of a life and still be together.

Once your lover’s feelings of discomfort or loneliness pass, you are on your way to maintaining – or recovering – your sense of independence … and that could be a relationship-saver.