As a woman, I have long since formed an intimate association with my independence.
As I've said before, I wear my independence like a badge on my chest. I'm entirely proud of the fact I posses the confidence and ease to exist independently and happily, before trying to merge my life with another.
I've spent far more time dreaming about my career and the things I will (hopefully) do for myself than any vision of myself on my wedding day. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the latter. This is simply the breed of woman I have grown into over the years.
With that said, there are no shortage of misconceptions that exist in regard to understanding the independent woman.
Is she cold? Is she anti-men? Does she have no interest in men or a relationship? Does she only think about her own desires, instead of a potential partner's? Does she always want to be in charge? Is she against love?
While I can't speak for everyone, I can give you an idea of what I think the independent woman wants you to know before dating her:
1. A need for independence doesn't mean she is cold.
I don't know why, but highly independent women are often painted as difficult, power-hungry alpha females, perhaps with a penchant for the anti-men agenda.
This is such an exaggerated concept. Why is it that we embrace the alpha male ideology so easily, yet it wasn't until recently that we began to soften toward the female equivalent of this concept?
Being independent doesn't mean a woman is against you or cold in any way. While she may be slightly less romantically motivated as some, she can still love just as fiercely.
She understands the value of herself and the value of others. She can be just as warm and affectionate as any woman. However, she likely won't feel the need to force a relationship when the chemistry just isn't there.
2. She is looking for a true partner.
To assume the independent woman isn't interested in love or a relationship is to assume that independence requires being alone. This is not the case.
Independence is a state of being, an understanding and a mindset that guides an individual as they shape their life and form connections along the way.
It allows you to appreciate the connections you forge in their entirety because you have come to understand yourself and your needs in a singular sense. You know enough to truly embrace someone else and determine what partner is a right fit for you.
The independent woman understands this and lives by it. This is why she is interested in a true partner.
It isn't a matter of someone holding all the cards or all the power. It's a matter of respecting and appreciating each other enough to find the right, working balance and to give and take.
Quite simply, independence doesn't need to be considered a play for power. Instead, it involves people with an appreciation for their own success and lives, who also hold the success and priorities of others in a high regard.
The independent woman understands that while you may be busy within your own, separate lives, you can still bring those lives to meet in the middle and compliment each other in an extremely exciting way.
You will build a dynamic, growing relationship that isn't dangling in the balance of a missed text or a night or two spent apart.
3. Independence shouldn't be seen as a threat.
I know some men believe women are always seeking out a savior. They want a man to be their protector and for him to be their "man" in the traditional sense.
Within this ideology, it would be easy to assume the independent woman wants nothing to do with a man. She is probably seen as competitive and a threat to the traditional idea of manhood, to the "alpha male."
Yet, this idea fails to acknowledge the fact the dynamics of relationships and dating have shifted (to a certain extent) to accommodate the transition of assumed gender roles and personalities.
She may not express that she needs you to fill any sort of void. Rather, she'll say she wants and chooses to be with you.
She likely won't spend her days doting on you or leaning on you for constant support and reassurance. She will not force herself into every crevice of your life, ensuring she occupies your entire attention and effort.
And you know what? She will expect the same treatment from you.
This shouldn't be viewed as a threat or a negative quality. What's to be feared of a partner who has her shit together and has her own life to fall back on? Someone who understands the balance between prioritizing herself and prioritizing you, instead of placing a tunnel vision focus on you and your relationship at all times?
You want someone who is content on her own, as well as with you, allowing her to be a confident, capable partner.
4. Regardless of whom you are with, the trick is to find a working balance.
This proves to be true for any range of personality types within relationships. The key is finding a working balance that satisfies both you and your partner.
It's a matter of understanding who you are, what you want in life and how that allows you to love and grow with another.
It's also not a matter of forcing a fit. Sometimes, your personality may not be the right fit for an independent woman.
I am a living example of this. I've had relationships that thrived based on the balance we established with each other, and those that suffered because we were simply not a compatible match based on competing personalities with no common ground.
In order to understand this, you have to take the time to understand what you want and need in a partner, and what you can offer in return.
Don't bother getting caught up with romanticizing the idea of people on paper. Be honest about who you are and who you will realistically click with.
Most importantly, understand a relationship operates on the desire and willingness to share your life with another person. In order for that dynamic to work, you will have to understand your partner's hopes, fears and expectations.
In the case of an independent woman, you will have to appreciate her life and priorities just as much as you appreciate the ones you've formed together.