You’ve seen her before right? Much to the tune of the Webbie and Lil Boosie beat – “She got her own car, she got her own house, work hard, two jobs, she a bad broad…” And all the while she’s scream independent, she goes home to cuddle with silence and pillows at night.
In my young career life I’ve had quite a bit of success. By all calculations I’m independent, well except for the occasional “mama I’m sick and don’t know what to take” phone call. I’ve not relied on anyone to give me anything even when I didn’t have a dime to my name after college. I went to food banks, shopped at thrift stores and worked damn hard to now be a self-sufficient career woman that can eat, shop AND pay bills at the same damn time.
And by all calculations, I’ll be single forever.
I read somewhere on twitter a while back that men want to feel needed. They want to know they serve a purpose in your life to do something for you that you cannot do for yourself. In my mind, there’s some obvious things I cannot do for myself that a man can do for me (batteries only go so far). But it’s true that sometimes I cannot think of anything else. Financially I can do it myself or I will find a way. Emotionally I’m a self-soother and isn’t that what my girlfriends are for? Spiritually Jesus and I have a close prayer relationship so I’m not lost there. Mentally I read books and engage in online communities of discussion and coffee shop banter so I have that covered too.
Independence becomes armor. I never let myself down so why would I give someone else the opportunity? Why would I rely on someone else to do something and risk that it isn’t done?
Like a train out a tunnel came introspection like no other. Independent women have trouble in dating because we don’t understand that we must sometimes take a step back to let a man take a step up. We must also know and understand the “roles” we must play in a relationship.
Even if I don’t TECHNICALLY need a man to do anything for me and have survived this long on my own – I have to LET him do some things without throwing it in his face that I CAN and WOULD do it on my own.
Now ladies I know that for some of us it’s sickening. The thought of letting down our guard and appearing “weak” when we are not is disturbing. Weakness is a relative term. Instead of viewing it as a weakness look at it more as a compromise for love. Don’t go compromising yourself so much that you are eating Ramen when you can afford steak simply because that’s what your man can afford. BUT still let him know he is needed in some way in your life. Financially, spiritually, emotionally or mentally find some way to let him say “I got it babe” and step out of the way.
Men tend to think they “got it” and sometimes mess it all up. But that’s when a strong supportive partner steps in to have his back. Remember to step in to offer your support rather than just your criticism.
I can hear you ladies. You are wondering “well what happens when he won’t step up and doesn’t step up? What then?” Find another. Really it’s that simple. You don’t have to build-a-man by any means.
At the end of the day the most important lesson I also learned was that I needed a REAL man in order to let my independent guard down. A man that’s ready for a relationship has learned through trial and error how to “step up”. Stepping up means doing what he has to do to make your relationship work. You are not trying to pull love out of him, bust his side chick upside her head, or wondering if he’ll ever recognize your needs and pay them any attention. A real man will step up but you also have to give him the opportunity. I can’t expect to see how a man ‘steps up” if I’m busy treating him like an accessory to the fabulousness that is my life.
Now I’m not big on gender roles. I don’t plan to cook every night and I sometimes struggle with not throwing my clean clothes on one side of the bed and climbing in on the other side to sleep. However, I just need a man that can let me be MY definition of a woman and I can let him be HIS definition of a man.
I find someone to complement me. It’s more than finding someone who is not intimidated. A real man will give you the chance to show more than just your power-suit exterior. But don’t take his patience for granted. Once you’ve seen his attempts to show you his worth – LET him. It’s okay not to take the reigns in the relationship all the time and to settle into the role you want to play in your relationship. Things tend to fall apart when that understanding of “roles” is misaligned. You can not (or rather you should not) try to mold someone into the role you want them to play.
You don’t have to fit his image of a “good wife” unless you want to. I recommend finding someone who understands, appreciates, and LOVES the role you want to play and you feel the same about them. Maybe he likes you in control. But find that out first before you decide that’s the role you are going to play and he leaves.
Independence doesn’t have to equal single. But you can’t expect to be totally focused on taking care of yourself and find a relationship. A relationship implies some sort of connection to another person and allowing that person to connect to you. At some point that will mean allowing them to play a role in your life as a co-star, not an extra.
Check out more from Dee Rene at LaughCryCuss.com