We’ve been called feminists, bitches, girls on a power trip and my personal favorite, cunts. We aren’t called these names because we have done anything extreme or wrong; we are called these names because we dared to live our lives as we saw fit. I have found that being a powerful woman comes with it’s own share of difficulties- namely, finding a partner.

I’ll never be the type of woman who needs a man, that isn’t to say that I don’t love men, I do…but I have learned not to confuse loving someone with needing them. I find myself to be very capable of the former, but literally incapable of the latter. While I have grown comfortable with this decision, I have found that most of the men I date find it to be off putting, emasculating and at times dangerous. A reaction that I still struggle to understand, why does my independence make you feel like less of a man?

I recently began dating a man who I believed was secure in himself. He was confident, well spoken, educated and charming- he came off to be an alpha male. But as we began to spend more time together I started to see something that bothered me, he expected me to need him. Whether it was constant text messages or seeing him near daily- he demanded that I should make him feel needed.

It started when I would have a rough day, he wanted to fix it which was sweet, but I’m an adult- it is my responsibility to fix my bad days. Or when I was sick, he would show up and try to take care of me- which violated my sense of space and privacy; not to mention that I now had to put on a smile when I’d much rather feel like shit in peace. If I didn’t respond to his texts at work he would become agitated and passive aggressive. When I confronted him about his behavior he shouted at me that I didn’t need him, that I would never “submit” to his needs. He even said that I didn’t give a damn about his attention because I didn’t get jealous of other women. I still don’t understand how he, and many before him, couldn’t see that I wanted respect, not attention. It was at that point that I walked away and cut all contact.

If you rely on me for your self-worth, you will eventually expect me to do the same. I can love you, more than any other man, but I can still turn around and walk away. It’s not a matter of your worth- it’s a matter of mine. It means that I have lived my life just fine without you, but I chose to have you in it. It means that I wanted you to be in it.  My independence should be something you celebrate, not condemn and here is why:

  1. You will always know where you stand with a woman like me, I won’t pretend to be something I’m not. I won’t change myself, or water down my opinions. You’ll always get authenticity.
  2. I’ll challenge you. Whether it’s by pushing you or supporting you in your dreams. I’ll want you to succeed.
  3. I’ll want you, not need you. Meaning I can provide for myself, I can take care of myself, I am fine on my own, but I am choosing to be with you.
  4. I’m not afraid of a fight. If it’s important to me or to you, I’ll fight for it. Challenge and adversity come with any relationship; that’s how we grow.
  5. I’m no damsel. You won’t have to worry about my safety or if I’m making the right decisions. I take care of my life and I’ll expect you to do the same. I won’t need you to rescue me from every little problem, I’ll just that you support me in when I decide to fix it.
  6. My loyalty knows no bounds. If you respect me, if you value me- I will always do the same for you. I won’t walk away when things are difficult. I won’t abandon you if you fall. I’ll stick with you because you have done the same for me.

It took me a long time to stop confusing security and dependence with love. I will never be submissive because respect doesn’t mean submission- it means a partnership. There is no danger in independence, but there is quite a bit in codependency. Why should one of us be powerful when we should be a team? Relationships aren’t about who is wearing the pants, who is pulling reins, etc. it’s about finding someone who makes you feel free.