By Guest Blogger Rachel Khona
So you’re going to graduate and take on the world? You’ve got a great career ahead of you but you also want to focus on meeting the right guy.
While it’s easy to fall head over heels in love when you meet the right guy, it’s important to maintain your independence and stay focused on your own goals even as you become part of a couple.
According to research carried out by sociology professor Dr. Amato at the Penn State University, married couples are increasingly happier because they are spending more time apart and pursuing independent lives. So even if you’re not ready for marriage right now, making sure you maintain your independence even while dating is of the utmost importance in the long run. Retaining your own independence may actually lay the foundations for a longer and happier union.
Here are five ways that you can ensure you keep your own independence while dating:
Do Your Own Thing
It’s important to have a life outside of your relationship, therefore you should always try to have your own hobbies and interests. It’s easy to become besotted with a new partner and want to spend all of your free time with them, but ultimately that will leave you with nothing new to talk about and a lack of appreciation for the time you do spend together. Ensure that you still see your friends regularly and arrange to go out on your own, not always as a couple. Nobody wants a partner who lacks their own ideas and personality so let yours shine through by having an interesting and fulfilling lifestyle outside of your relationship. Similarly, let your partner have his own time, too. Some women find that allowing their partners to have a social life away from them can lead to paranoia and anxiety. They wonder what they are up to when they are away and this can lead to all sorts of trust issues and conflict. But ultimately, some free time will give you the break you need (even if you think you don’t) and a greater appreciation of the time you spend together.
Don’t Rely On Him Too Much
Being independent means not having to rely on anyone else and even though you are in a new relationship you shouldn’t feel overly dependent on your partner. Of course it’s OK to ask him to help you fix that leak under the kitchen sink, but retaining control over practical and emotional aspects in your life will leave you feeling empowered and probably more attractive. You should always be able to rely on yourself to provide your own happiness and security. As soon as you begin relying solely on someone else to make you happy you will become overbearing and dependent.
Think Carefully Before Moving In
Moving in together is a huge step in any relationship and not something that should be entered into lightly. Remember that living with someone means that you invariably lose some independence, as you will almost certainly need to compromise on some issues as well as sharing financial pressures and coping with a loss of personal space. Personalities can clash in the close proximity of living together and it can sometimes make or break a relationship. If you do decide to take the plunge, then remember communication is key. You need to make joint decisions on household chores, finances, personal space and even how you design and decorate your home.
Pursue Personal Ambitions
In any relationship, it is important to get the right balance between “us” and “me.” You should always consider your partner’s feelings, but this doesn’t mean you should lose sight of what you want out of life either. Therefore do not let a new relationship stop you from pursuing any personal ambitions. Some people think that once they become attached to somebody else they are no longer free to travel the world, throw themselves into their career or do anything remotely selfish. Try and manage your personal ambitions and your relationship together, but if this isn’t possible, then never forfeit your aspirations or you will end up resenting your partner. As ever, compromise is key.
Don’t Over Analyze
In the early days before you get to know each other inside out, it can be easy to misinterpret things he says and does. Don’t spend hours over analyzing text messages or trying to find hidden meanings in an offhand comment he made; if you start doing this, then it won’t leave you time to think about anything else. Women’s brains work differently than men’s – our brains are larger in the areas that process emotions and language whereas he has a more logical, problem-solving approach to life, so communication can sometimes be misconstrued. While you should always be open and honest about any concerns you have in your relationship, repeatedly harassing him and trying to search for double meanings in what he says will make you appear clingy and insecure.
Falling in love is a beautiful thing and it takes two people to form a relationship. But if those two people are able to retain at least some individual independence, then it will ultimately make for a stronger union and a longer-lasting relationship. All it takes is some mutual compromise to ensure that this is done in a way that leaves you both feeling secure, happy and fulfilled.
Learn more about Rachel:
Hailing from a magical land called New Jersey, Rachel is a writer and performer living somewhere in the fifth dimension.
After graduating college she decided to move to L.A. and join the ranks of wannabe actors in an effort to avoid the real world. She didn’t make much headway as an actress, but she did run into a slew of celebs from Gwen Stefani, Lindsay Lohan, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Courtney Love, Colin Farrell, Jack Black, (who’s a shitty tipper btw), Pedro Almodovar, (who mocked her valley girl parlance), Rick James and the alcoholic from the Backstreet Boys. Nonetheless, she was fired and/or quit from more jobs than she can even remember, which finally convinced her to give up “acting” and get a real job. She moved back east, became a model booker, and started writing.
In addition to serving as contributing editor for Vaga, she has written for Cosmopolitan, Inked, Treats, Richardson, Your Tango, and Ask Men and been consulted for her dating knowledge (though she still knows next to nothing about men) on radio shows “Poundstone Power” and “Broadminded” on Sirius XM, “Love Zone USA,” “Los Originales,” as well as How About We, Coed Magazine, Sex Lies and Dating, The Grindstone, What’s Wear and Gloss Magazine. She has performed at the Word Bookstore, Inner Monologues, Standard Issues and Speakeasy Stories. In her spare time, she likes sliding down rainbows, red wine, Axl Rose and chasing imaginary squirrels.
You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.