Independence is an admirable trait – but as with everything, when you’re too independent, it can be harmful.
And it can be especially harmful when you’re in a relationship.
When you’re used to doing things your own way, it’s easy to forget to consider other people’s opinions – in this case, your partner’s.
Below, we’ll explore some of these missteps and offer tips on how to strike a balance between your independence and a healthy, fulfilling partnership.
So, if you’re someone who values their independence but wants to improve their relationship, keep reading!
1) Not communicating your needs
One of the biggest mistakes independent people tend to make in relationships is not communicating their needs because they’re used to handling things on their own.
This means you make your own decisions, take care of your own problems, and work on your own issues, all while forgetting to take your partner into account.
It becomes even more of a problem when you end up resenting your partner because they’re not helping you, but you didn’t even ask them to help in the first place.
Instead of assuming your partner can read your mind, take a moment to express what you need and want.
Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts, feelings, and desires with your significant other. They can’t support you or meet your needs if they don’t know what they are.
So, speak up, let them know what you need, and stop trying to solve all your problems on your own – your relationship will surely thank you for it.
2) Solving problems on your own
When you’re single, you’ll probably notice people admiring you for being able to solve problems on your own.
They see how capable you are of handling your own issues, even without the help of others, and it truly is worthy of praise.
But in relationships, the “do-it-yourself” attitude can sometimes backfire.
Sure, you’re capable and self-reliant, but relationships are a partnership.
This means that even if you think your issues are your own, you should still involve your partner because that’s what a relationship is for!
So, when issues arise, it’s important to include your significant other in the problem-solving process.
They might have insights, ideas, or simply want to offer emotional support. If help is within reach, it would be foolish to refuse it – and you don’t want to be a fool, do you?
3) Giving and giving, but never taking
Being overly independent in a relationship can lead to a pattern of giving without taking.
You might find yourself constantly offering support, doing things for your partner, and being there for them…
…but when it comes to receiving help or emotional support in return, you might hesitate or even reject it.
While it’s wonderful to be a giving partner, remember that relationships are a two-way street – so, let your partner reciprocate the love and care for you as well.
Because by always being the one who gives but never takes, you’re denying yourself the love you deserve.
If it’s being given to you, why not embrace it?
Trust that your partner truly loves you. They won’t hold it against you if you accept the love – and the help – that they offer.
4) Refusing your partner’s help
Sure, independence is your strong suit, and you’re used to taking care of things single-handedly.
BUT another common mistake in relationships is refusing your partner’s help, even when they genuinely want to lend a hand.
When you decline their assistance, it can make your partner feel like you don’t need them – or worse, like you don’t want them.
I mean, don’t we all like the feeling of being wanted? Of being needed?
So, if you like that feeling, why refuse it from your partner?
Remember, accepting help doesn’t diminish your worth or purpose. It simply means you’re acknowledging your partner’s willingness to be a part of your life.
Because when you refuse it, know that it comes with the cost of having your partner feel unimportant.
5) Making your partner feel unimportant
When you consistently prioritize your own needs, goals, and interests over your partner’s, it can create a sense of unimportance and hurt in your relationship – even if it’s unintentional.
Worse, it can make them feel like you don’t care about them; that they’re not a priority in your life, because you’re too busy paying attention to something or someone else.
But your partner should never feel like they’re in competition with your independence.
Of course, it goes without saying that both of you should have a life outside the relationship, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to put your partner in the backburner.
Because if you really love them, you’ll realize that they don’t deserve that kind of treatment.
Remember, a healthy partnership is built on mutual respect and consideration.
It’s okay to be independent, but make sure to always make an effort to show your partner that they matter.
So, always show them that you love and care for them as much as you love and care for yourself, that you’re willing to make time for them, even if it can be inconvenient.
6) Refusing to adjust your schedule
Independence often comes with a tightly packed schedule and a strong sense of self-determination.
As an independent woman myself, I would know – so, I also know that to care for someone means to make time for them.
For me, the slight inconvenience of having to clear my schedule doesn’t really matter, because what matters more is that I get to spend time with the people I love.
Because to be in a relationship means to make space for your significant other in your life.
If your schedule is consistently inflexible, it can make your partner feel like they don’t fit into your priorities.
Worse, if you make them feel like they should be the one to adjust – that it’s your way or the highway – it can really make them feel like you don’t care about them.
7) It’s your way or the highway
Being highly independent can sometimes lead to the “my way or the highway” mentality, where you insist on doing things your way and resist compromise.
I know some of my friends who tend to do this. I truly admire how independent they are, but it hurts me sometimes when they pull the “my way or the highway” card on me.
Because while disagreements in a relationship are normal – healthy, even – you should never make your partner feel unheard, that their feelings don’t matter.
Maybe you can understand why this matters when we get to the root of the problem – that you might have trust issues that affect the relationship.
8) Not trusting your partner
Independence often goes hand in hand with self-reliance, and while self-assurance is great, it can sometimes turn into a lack of trust in your partner’s abilities or intentions.
For example, when your partner tries to help with the house chores, you might find yourself refusing it because you believe they won’t be able to do it properly.
So, you choose to do it yourself. All the time.
While it can seem harmless at first, it can make your partner feel like you don’t trust them.
It can even take a toll on their confidence because you don’t believe that they can do anything right.
Instead of second-guessing them, try giving your partner the benefit of the doubt.
Even if you can’t fight the thought that they’ll only end up making a mistake, at least trust in their intentions – that they genuinely just want to help and show you they love you.
So, try not to be stubborn and learn to trust that they’ve got your back.
9) Being stubborn and inconsiderate
Sometimes, highly independent people tend to be stubborn and inconsiderate.
It can be really hard to unlearn especially if you’ve been single for a while.
The good news is, it’s not impossible.
So, if your partner points out that you can be stubborn or inconsiderate, don’t take it as a personal attack.
That’s not their intention – it’s them communicating that they need to be acknowledged.
Because if you constantly refuse to pay attention to your partner, you will only end up hurting them – and they will end up breaking up with you, one way or the other.
So, always take your partner’s feelings into account. Don’t be stubborn when they point out your mistakes.
To be in a relationship means to be open to change because that’s the only way you can grow alongside your partner.
Being fiercely independent is a remarkable trait, but as we’ve explored in this article, it can lead to common mistakes in relationships.
However, the good news is that awareness is the first step towards improvement.
By recognizing these mistakes and making a conscious effort to strike a balance between your independence and your relationship, you’re not just becoming a better partner – you become a better person, too.