How To Be An Independent Woman And Still Be In A Relationship

by Sheena Sharma

I think one of the reasons I'm such a commitment-phobe is I'm afraid I'd lose myself in a relationship.

We all know at least one couple that spends so much time together, they practically start talking like each other.

You guys, it doesn't have to be that way. Relationships aren't about becoming one with the other person. They're about giving to and taking from another person. They're about teaching and learning.

Most of all, they shouldn't change who you are.

You never want to enter a relationship and lose your individuality because it's what makes you special, and you can still be independent while committing to another person.

Here's how to stay the fiercely independent woman you are while in a relationship:

Schedule girls' nights.

Rule #1: NEVER FORGET YOUR BESTIES. They were there first. They the real MVPs.

Please, please, please don't be that girl who drops off the face of the earth once she finds a guy. It's in bad taste.

Your best friends are all a reflection of the different parts of you, which is why it's so crucial you keep them close, no matter who you end up with.

Your best friends will keep you grounded. They'll also remind you being with a guy isn't the end-all, be-all of life.

... But also let your BF hang with his guys.

Don't be one of those girlfriends who confuses asserting independence with being a know-it-all.

Being an independent woman doesn't mean being a dictator, telling him what he is and isn't allowed to do. There's a way for you guys to be madly in love without seeing each other every second of every day.

Don't suffocate him. When you let him live, you'll, in turn, feel freer.

He'll thank you. Then, you'll thank me. (You're welcome in advance.)

Pay for certain things yourself.

Everyone knows when you're in a relationship, it's more likely that your guy will pay for dinners and drinks.

It's fine (and totally normal!) to split costs with bae. But don't make the mistake of depending on him to finance your entire lifestyle.

Spend money on the things that matter to you most because buying things for yourself is empowering. Remember that part in the "Sex And The City" movie where Samantha's boyfriend buys her that ring she wanted to buy for herself, and when he did, she felt stripped of her independence? You don't want that to happen to you.

If you learn how to stand on your own two feet, even while in a relationship, you won't lose your footing if the relationship ends.

You work hard for your money. Own that.

Don't forget your hobbies.

We all have things we love to do in our free time that have nothing to do with dating or our day jobs.

Whether it's a sport you play, an instrument you want to learn or a Saturday routine your single self stuck to in order to stay sane, keep the tradition going.

Remember that loving those things are what make you, you. Don't lose sight of them, or you'll risk losing yourself.

Don't lose sight of the things that make you, you.

Love comes and goes, but hobbies stay forever. When life gets tough, you can use them as a crutch.

Never stop going on solo adventures.

This one is the most important of all. When you were single, you probably went to cafés and bars and lunches alone, and you should continue to do so.

Just because you have someone to go out with doesn't mean you should go out with them all the time.

Because there's so much beauty in those moments alone. You were independent before, and you should stay that way.

And you know what else? Doing things alone will make you appreciate that special someone in your life that much more when you're reunited with them.