In almost every relationship I've ever been in, there comes a point when I break into a million pieces and lose my shit.
The moment I begin to feel stuck, trapped or under the authoritative thumb of another human being, I run away from the relationship faster then a inmate fleeing prison in the heat of the night.
Because there is nothing in this world I value with more ferocity than my independence.
For a long time, I never wanted to get in a relationship with anyone because just the thought of having to justify why I was going out until 2 am on a Tuesday filled me with acute anxiety.
It gave me flashbacks to high school, where I had to ask permission to go the bathroom. Like, YOU know my body better than I do? I have to ask an 75-year-old male teacher if I can please release my bodily toxins? Agh. I get angry just thinking about it.
And now that I'm a grown up and high school ended a decade ago, I don't ever want to ask for permission for anything ever again.
But I've also experienced the beauty of having a partner who doesn't stifle my autonomy. And when I compare the experiences of being with a controlling person to being with a person who let's be my full self, I've realized there is a common thread.
The controlling people always said specific things to me, regardless of their age or my age.
So, if you happen to be dating an independent woman like me, I would think twice before saying these nine things.
(And if you're an independent person, I would think twice before dating someone who says these nine things to you.)
1. "Will your ex be there?"
I was once in a relationship with a certain hyper-jealous woman, and anytime I did anything without her, she wanted to know if my ex was going to be there. It drove me fucking MENTAL.
My ex and I had been broken up for three years. Never once had we had a relationship relapse; we were casual friends. I mean, when you're a lesbian, there is a good chance of running into your ex while out. There are only so many dyke bars in this cruel, cold world, sadly.
But what really drove me wild was having to report to someone. I'm my own god damn woman, and I'll go wherever the hell I please. And if my ex happens to be at the bar, then she happens to be at the bar.
Independent people don't let anyone dictate their plans. Donald Trump could be at The Cubby Hole and I would still go. We're just wired that way.
We go wherever we want to go, and it's not our duty to find out who is going to be there before we arrive.
And if you can't handle that, you can't handle dating a woman who is comfortable in her inherent autonomy, baby.
2. "Do you really want to wear that?"
Repeat after me, kittens: No one tells an independent woman what to wear.
Because the moment you're trying to control someone's personal style is the very moment you're trying to blur someone's identity to make it more cohesive with yours.
The bottom line is independent women are fearless, and they wear whatever the hell they feel comfortable in.
If you tell an independent woman to tone down her "in your face" red lipstick, she knows what's really going on. Because independent women aren't blissfully dumb. We can read between the lines: You're telling us to tone down our personality.
And since we don't need you unless you're adding to our lives, we'll walk the fuck away from someone who is trying to dim out our light. Right, girls?
3. "That's too expensive."
I know it's expensive, but unless I'm asking you to finance my lifestyle, I can handle it, babe.
Independent women aren't just emotionally independent; we're financially independent, too. Personally, I'm a wild screw up when it comes to my reckless spending, but you know what? I make it work.
I might prioritize expensive dinners at The Waverly Inn and vintage Chanel clutches over a new Vitamix and clean laundry, but that's my choice, honey.
And we independent women have survived fine our entire lives and long before you were even an idea in our heads, so we don't need your input on our expenses.
That is, of course, unless we ask.
4. "You're really smart. Why don't you do something that matters with your life?"
My heart just exploded with rage.
I've dated multiple people who have tried to demean my career, and the ambitious, unconventional women I'm close with tell me the same thing happens to them incessantly.
I dated someone who told me I was "too bright to be a makeup artist," and she wasn't talking about my complexion, babes.
She meant that because I read books and am interested in politics, I was "too intellectual" to be a makeup artist. Meanwhile, being a makeup artist is one of the most back-breaking, tough, competitive jobs out there, and it requires intense problem-solving skills, hustle and boundless creativity.
Independent women tend to have unconventional careers because we hate authority, and we don't like the rigid structure of a corporate environment.
We are the creatures who are bold and try risky things because we aren't consumed by the fear of failure. Sometimes we're waiting tables as we pursue our life goals as comedians, performers, actresses, singers or dancers.
But really it doesn't matter what we do: Don't you dare belittle an independent woman's career.
We have chosen our career path wisely, and while it might not make sense to you, it's something that fuels and drives us.
So, don't question it. Don't undermine it. And don't try and fucking "mentor us."
5. "Text me when you get there, and text me when you leave."
Look, I understand if I'm going into a dangerous situation and you're genuinely concerned for my safety, you might want me to check in once or twice. I totally GET IT.
But if it's just a Friday night out with the girls and the gays? Get a life, bae.
Part of being an independent person is having a an unyielding love of spontaneity.
Yes, I might be going uptown to my best friend's apartment for a drink, and then I might go to the pub for another drink down the block. I'm an adult; you aren't my parent.
And unless I'm venturing into the wild woods solo, there's no reason you need to know the exact second I arrive at my location and the exact second I leave.
6. "Why didn't you tell me you were going out with friends after work?"
Because I'm an impulsive creature who spontaneously decided to have dinner with my co-worker after a long, hard day.
And unless we had plans, what the hell is the point of me taking out my phone and giving you such a boring update?
7. "I don't want you to hang out with [insert name here] anymore."
Look, if someone is toxic, bad, mean and generally destroying our lives, it's OK to suggest a friend breakup, sweet partner.
But if you don't want me to hang out with a dear friend because you personally don't like them, you think they're too wild or you think they're a "bad influence," you can kindly fuck off, thank you very much.
Don't you realize independent people can hold their own around "bad influences?" I've had friends who have struggled with bad addictions, and I've never once popped a pill because they had a problem.
To tell us a friend is a bad influence is underestimating our strength. And it's never OK to underestimate the strength and willpower of an independent woman.
8. "You don't need another drink."
Seriously, don't monitor how much I drink.
If I want to get drunk tonight, I'm going to get drunk tonight. And if you don't want to join me in my crazy escapades, that's totally good, bae.
You do your thing, and I'll do my thing. I'll go hang out with my fun gaggle of gay boys and meet you tomorrow. But unless I'm dealing with alcoholism, if I want to party, I'll party tonight.
Independent women don't care to fit into your "perfect girlfriend" box. We're cool with getting a little messy sometimes.
We're cool with spilling all over ourselves. We're OK with going home a little too late. Let us deal with the hangover. Let us deal with the dry cleaning bill. Let us deal with the expensive bar tab.
We're the kind of women who can handle the weight of our mistakes. We're not asking you to clean the mess up, so kindly leave us alone.
9. "You're not allowed to..."
Don't ever, ever, ever, EVER begin any sentence with "you're not allowed to."
The moment an ex of mind said "You're not allowed to go there anymore," I laughed in her face and never spoke to her again. Because it's an insult to tell anyone they're "not allowed" to do anything.
Dating a woman is not the same thing as owning a woman. You can make suggestions; you can have good intentions and be encouraging; you can call us out. But don't forbid us from anything. Ever.
Because we're your girlfriends. We're not your puppies, and we're not your children.
And the moment you start treating us like a pet that must answer to you is the moment you lose us forever.
Because independent women aren't co-dependent. We're fine without you. We're not afraid to leave you if you disrespect us.
So, be careful with your actions when you're dating my kind. Unlike other prototypes, we mean it when we say we don't take shit.