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:
- 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.
- I’ll challenge you. Whether it’s by pushing you or supporting you in your dreams. I’ll want you to succeed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.