From Miss to Mrs. Independent
We all remember Kelly Clarkson circa 2010: the nose piercing, the intense eyeliner, the ripped baggy jeans. She was every middle to high schooler’s idol (including mine). So of course– after her female-empowering single, “Miss Independent,” I promised myself that I would never have a serious boyfriend.
Fast forward to 2017 and that same girl who sang the words “miss keep your distance, miss unafraid, miss out of my way” is happily married with two children. In parallel, the same girl who promised to never have a serious boyfriend now lives with a boy she is madly in love with.
Don’t get me wrong– I totally understand where the “in order to be a strong, independent woman I can’t have a boyfriend” stigma comes from. We all know (or have been) the girl who gets into a relationship and loses all contact with family, friends, and even themselves. Everyone wants love, and everyone wants to be independent.
Instead of swearing off relationships to remain independent, or falling in love and forgetting what that word even means, here are some tips to show you that you can have the best of both worlds!
Don’t Underestimate a good GNO
There’s a reason in high school we all preached “chicks before dicks,” the female alternative to “bros before hoes.” Although this guy may be the man of your dreams, don’t forget about the girls who were there for you. Whether Aunt Flo came in the middle of 6th period the day you chose to wear white pants, or you needed a shoulder to cry on when your boyfriend broke up with you, your girls were there with a tampon and a box of chocolate frosting. So, as often as you possibly can, rally your #girlgang and hit the town!
So, you decide to go out with your squad. You look fly as hell but you brought one too many accessories… your phone. Okay, obviously you’re going to bring your phone, but it doesn’t have to be attached to your hand (that’s what your purse is for). Spending time “apart” doesn’t count if you are glued to your phone in constant contact with your guy. Don’t ignore them, but let them know you are out with your friends! If they’re mature, they will understand and trust you.
Have Individual Goals
It’s easy to have your goals change from career driven to oh my god I want to have a million babies and 100 puppies with this person. Although you might not have found it yet, everyone has something that they alone are meant to do. So pursue your passions, and if you haven’t found it yet, don’t stop looking for it! Even if they are just small, individual goals you set every week, stick to them.
Keep Up On Your Health and Hygiene
The moment I realized I was really in a relationship was when I looked in the mirror and saw someone who hadn’t showered in three days, was re-wearing dirty underwear, and gained about 7 pounds. I had never been more grossed out with myself. Just like the freshman 15 is real, so is relationship gut. So, if you are feeling down about yourself one day, this could be the issue! Remember, when you look hot you feel hot!
Agree to Disagree
Even if you’ve heard, “you guys are literally the same person.” Well… you’re not. But guess what? That’s okay. Maybe you have different tastes in music, or different ideas of what belongs on top of pizza. You might even have different political views. Take it as a learning moment! Everyone has their right to an opinion. The important thing is to figure out what is most important to you and never change what you believe in just to please your S.O.
Keep Your Guilty Pleasures…. Emphasis on the Pleasures
It’s obviously amazing being able to have sex whenever you want but don’t forget about having some “you” time in the bedroom. Masturbation is a time to be fully connected with your body, so lock your door, go to your sock drawer and get vibin’!
Treat yo’ self
As they say in Hairspray, “Mother, wake up from that dream of yours, this isn’t 1930!” Newsflash: It’s 2017, we are privileged enough to be able to have any job we want. You work hard for your money, you can pay for dinner yourself or buy that necklace you have been asking for.
Assess the Sitch
As much as you want him to, he may not be your prince charming. Does this relationship make you the best version of yourself? Are you inspired? Do you feel like you are being controlled? If not, recognize the need to change. A relationship should never make you lose your individuality. After all, your authenticity is what made them fall in love with you, right?
All of this becomes even more important when you’re living with your significant other. Remaining independent when you’re cohabitating can be hard, but these little reminders will help you be true to yourself.