When I first started dating my husband, he was always bugging me to let him drive my car. At first, I was completely against it. I loved my car, and the thought of someone else driving it weirded me out.
But every time we drove together he kept on asking to drive. Finally, I gave in. Fast forward three years later, he’s always the one to drive, and I love it.
Giving up control was hard for me, but once I did it, it was totally worth it. This has been the case for other areas of our relationship too. I’m an independent person at heart, but when you’re in a relationship you have to learn to be a little dependent too.
Relationships are about sacrifice and compromise and learning how to be a duo, a partnership, a couple. It’s about letting go of some of that control you’re so used to and letting someone get close to you.
If you struggle with maintaining your independence while in a relationship, you’re not the only one. And being alone forever isn’t the answer. You can make a relationship work. You just have to know how. Here are my tips for getting what you need out of your relationship:
1. Communicate your needs
No one will stick up for you besides yourself. If you’re unable to communicate exactly what you need, how will your partner know to give it to you?
Let your partner know that you need alone time on occasion. Make sure you are open and honest with them about what you need and when. Let them know when you’re feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed.
Don’t be afraid of your partner’s reaction. If they’re the right person for you, all they want is for you to be happy. But be open to their needs as well. Figure out the right balance that will work for both of you.
2. Make time for yourself
Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. Schedule time in your week to do things on your own. Think about planning activities that you enjoy doing on your own but maybe your partner isn’t interested in.
For me, I always make time to watch “The Bachelor.” My husband hates it, but it’s my guilty pleasure, and it’s two hours I get to enjoy on my own.
You can carve out time for your favorite activities too, whether it’s watching your favorite show, reading a good book, going shopping or working out.
3. Learn to compromise
If you’re an independent person, you’re probably used to making all your own decisions. But when you’re in a relationship, there’s another person to consider. Your partner isn’t going to agree with you 100% of the time, and they aren’t always going to want to do the same things as you.
Pick your battles and don’t let every disagreement turn into an argument. Your Friday night movie choice should not be grounds for a full-blown fight. Figure out the best way for both of you to compromise. Maybe it means alternating the movie choice so you’ll both get the chance to choose what to watch.
4. Adjust your priorities
Independence can quickly turn into selfishness in a relationship. And for a relationship to be successful, it requires you to think of your partner before yourself. This may be the biggest hurdle to deal with in relationships.
You need to adjust your thinking from your single mindset to a couple’s mindset. When making decisions, what would be the right choice for both of you? How will your choices affect your partner? Especially when making big decisions, involve your partner before doing anything final.
Start thinking about how you can make your partner happy, and not just yourself. Chances are if they’re happy, you’ll be happy too.