In today’s world, we women are striving to achieve our ideal of being fully independent in relationships. We don’t want to be “one of those girls” who get emotional at little things, cry too often, become clingy, suspicious, lose all self respect and get too dependent on their partner.
This is a a great ideal to have, if pursued correctly, because things often backfire when we keep our standard too high. You may not even realize it, and start behaving the exact opposite of how you want to in relationships, especially when you’re trying so hard to do the “right” thing. For example, if your partner comes late for something/doesn’t call you on time for the third or fourth time in a row, you get upset, but don’t stop there. You beat yourself up for caring even that much, and consider yourself uncool for becoming upset. His agreement makes you feel even more guilty and convinces you that you have lost yourself. Now you’re in an existential crisis, wondering where you went wrong, thinking why relationships are so tough.
Why does this happen? It is indeed a huge paradox.
When we don’t approve of ourselves, we start to look for approval outside of us. This is what creates dependence and unhealthy attachment to the other person (could be anyone- friends, family, lover). This is almost common knowledge, and chances are that if you have the ideal of being independent, you know this.
However, what we don’t know is that giving ourselves negative adjectives makes us disapprove of ourselves. For example, in this situation, the negative labels would be “dependent”, “weak”, “clingy” etc. The second you give yourself these negative labels, you start hating yourself. When that happens, you seek out more approval and get even more dependent on your partner’s validation. In this sense, the trail never stops.
Solution- We are emotional beings. If you get upset when your partner behaves this way, listen to your feelings. You might be 100% right and not be overreacting as you are assuming. A truly independent woman wouldn’t suppress her instinct, and demand the attention she believes she deserves, without being afraid of looking “clingy”. Unless you demand what you deserve, you will not taste the sweet taste of empowerment and control. If you remain too scared to ask, you will actually get taken for a ride, without ever wanting to.
When you give your partner the onus to decide whether you’re clingy or whatever, you’re giving them too much power which they can often manipulate (if they’re the wrong person). They start playing on your fear of looking clingy and emotional. The only way to break the cycle is to acknowledge that you have feelings, enjoy and make use of them fully in order to enjoy a beautiful relationship, remain realistic, independent and in control. Hence, don’t beat yourself up. It’s a relationship- it is supposed to be give and take, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in expecting the other person’s attention. In fact, if they think you’re too “uncool” to ask for it, tell them to fuck off because you deserve someone who wants to voluntarily make that effort. In fact, own it! Own the idea that you need more time than that and then actively seek someone who is ready to give it to you. It’s so much better than being with the wrong person and wasting your time expecting them to change, especially when they’re clearly happy being who they are.