How to Maintain Your Independence Within a Relationship

While my partner was living her own life, I was living only for her, and when she’d come home from work, I’d excitedly greet her like a lost puppy.

There’s been a common theme in all my relationships.  Every time I’ve been overly codependent, it has always signified that I’m feeling insecure about how lovable I am.

There’ve been instances when I’d dedicate most of my life figuring out how to make my partner happy, and I’d inevitably lose my own identity in the process.  This isn’t to say that affection is a bad thing or that one shouldn’t strive to make their partner happy; but when somebody else becomes the majority of your life, that’s when problems arise.

Ever since I’ve learned how to be happy on my own, my relationships have flourished.  This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect.  There are still times when I become very insecure and needy, but those situations have decreased significantly over time.

Here are some benefits of having independence within a relationship.

  1. Less Pressure on Your Partner

During a very codependent phase of my life, I realized that my hobbies all somehow involved my partner.  My hobbies were hanging out with her, cooking for her, and trying to make her happy.

This is when I realized a very important lesson in life: nobody wants to be your hobby.

While my partner was living her own life, I was living only for her, and when she’d come home from work, I’d excitedly greet her like a lost puppy.  While acting this way occasionally can be very sweet, doing it every day became overwhelming.

She wanted me to live my own life and encouraged me to reestablish old friendships because she felt way too much pressure being someone else’s whole world. Knowing that you are someone else’s everything is a huge responsibility, because in some ways, you’re making them feel like your moods are completely dependent on them.

By figuring out how to be happy on your own, you take that pressure off of your partner because they don’t have to constantly worry about whether or not you’re happy.

They can continue living their own lives without feeling stressed out about your well-being.

A Pageant Dropout’s Guide to Love

I’m a Pageant Dropout.

By that, I mean – I competed in an international beauty pageant, and it was a disaster. It felt like the end of the world…but it wasn’t. My mistakes taught me a lot about love. So here’s what I learned the hard way, in the hopes that you don’t have to.

Like any doomed love affair, this one started with the best intentions.

On paper, it looked like just another casting call. I showed up at the gate, expecting to enter a studio and read a few lines. Instead, a maid buzzed me into a fancy mansion. It was filled with fine china, gilded chairs, and giant antique lamps that probably cost more than my college tuition. Before I knew it, I was sitting in front of a glamorous woman. She looked beautiful, rich. Famous. I wanted to know everything about her.

Instead, she wanted to know all about me.

I stumbled through the conversation, heart pounding like a middle school crush.

“You’re so interesting!” the woman said. “I’d love to have you.”

My heart glowed. Never mind that she was putting me in a beauty pageant I knew nothing about…there was an Emmy award on the desk behind her. This must be it.

I had never really liked pageants. In fact, I remember loathing them on a deep level for…pretty much my whole life. But this might be my only chance at a happy ending. Who was I to refuse?

There would be dozens of graceful bikini models competing for the crown. I was a nerdy, awkward comedian from Alaska. I was not pageant material, by any means. The odds were against me. But I would do anything to make the judges love me most.

I spent the next few months changing everything about myself. I changed what I ate, how I dressed, how I did my hair and makeup. I altered the way I spoke, moved, and laughed. I practically killed myself at the gym for 3+ hours a day, and consumed no more than a thousand calories daily. I became unrecognizable.