There’s something about strong, independent women that guys love — or so they say. When they actually get into a relationship with one, however, some of them seriously struggle with the realities of being with a woman who’s self-sufficient and doesn’t really need them. My boyfriend is one of those guys. Here’s why he’s having such a hard time:
- I have my own life. I have an agenda, a fire, and a life of my own. Even though we live together, we still lead our own separate lives… which is less than ideal for him since I think he pictured things going pretty differently when we first got together. I’d be around all the time and we’d spend a good part of our days together, but that’s not what’s happening. Actually, our lives are so separate sometimes that…
- I don’t even think he knows what I do during the day. Which, in case you’re wondering, is: taking care of my son, attending teacher/PTA meetings, writing articles, submitting pitches to magazines, applying to freelancing jobs, taking pictures for my shop, writing product descriptions, planning out social media marketing, taking care of the animals, cleaning the house, making dinner, finishing up my daily accounting, taking care of paperwork and applications and insurance and other boring BS, and sometimes even showering. I’m BUSY. Every day, my day is fully booked from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with little to no breaks in between. I don’t have time — or the inclination, frankly — to sit around doing nothing with him (or any guy) all day.
- I don’t need much emotional support. It’s pretty rare that I need real emotional support on a deep and meaningful level. Sure, I’ll need someone to talk to if we lose a family member, during my seasonal depression, or when I’m really burnt out. However, for the most part, I try to keep my emotional needs to a minimum. It’s not that I don’t think he’d be there for me, but just that I’m so used to being self-sufficient that I just can’t get used to relying on anyone else to keep me afloat.
- I feel like no one can fulfill my emotional needs better than I can, anyway. If I do ask him for a pep talk, I’ll probably regret it within a few seconds. It’s not because I feel bad for inconveniencing him, but simply because I know I could do a better job encouraging myself than he could. He knows that and says he gets it, but I kinda feel like he doesn’t.
- I want to be the breadwinner. I’ve always been the breadwinner in every relationship I’ve had, with the exception of this one. It seriously bothers me that he makes more money than I do, so it pushes me harder to try to compete with him and outearn him. I know it’s trivial, but I can’t help it. I’m ambitious in all areas of life, especially when it comes to cash.
- I have a Type A personality. That means I’m intense, focused, and often of the belief that if I want something done right, I should probably just do it myself. I know that must be hard for anyone to deal with, but my boyfriend has a seriously hard time rolling with it.
- He feels disposable… I can see where he’s coming from with this, to be honest. I don’t need anyone to help me handle my stuff, I don’t want someone to help, I don’t like asking for emotional support, I want to make more money than he does, I rarely ask for advice, and I try to handle everything before he even knows that it has to be taken care of. How could he ever possibly feel like he’s needed? And if you’re not needed, you suddenly become easy to dispose of.
- … And in a way, he might just be right. I don’t need him — he’s right about that — but I WANT to be with him. He’s far from disposable, but my independence is what makes every relationship suddenly detachable if I need it to be. It’s become easier to just be stronger than it is to be with someone. It’s easier for me and my partner to lead separate lives than it is to allow them to be intertwined because then I could lose everything I built. It’s not my boyfriend’s fault I’m like this.
- Relying on someone else is a vulnerability I’m not ready to show. I can’t rely on him. I mean, I can — he’s there for me to do exactly that — but I won’t. Relying on him feels like a vulnerability because if he leaves, there’ll be a weak spot in my armor, a vulnerability he can take me down with. I won’t go down because of a man, so I guess he has every right to not like me being as independent as I am since I’ve taken it to such an extreme.