The concept ‘independent woman’ is an expression of women’s voice, our opinions, our personal/career goals, and that women should be equal to men. The independent woman is in control. This is the overall meaning of the phrase, but of course the meaning may differ depending on the woman. The independent woman concept has its positives and negatives. The positives are that women empower themselves and advocate for gender equality in areas such as employment and relationships. The negative is that the concept now has a negative undertone, one that challenges men. “I can take care of myself and I don’t need a man for anything!” “I can do what a man does, even better!” “I work and pay the bills; I take care of everything!” These are a few phrases I’ve heard over the years, and ones I am guilty of saying too. Such phrases have also been harmonized in songs like Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman.” The negative undertone can cause conflict between the “independent woman” and her love-life.
Ladies there is nothing wrong with being or attaining to be self-sufficient. Men desire a woman who is self-sufficient. Keep in mind, however, everyone needs help at some point. Everyone wants companionship at some point. Yes your girlfriend can be there for you when you need her, but there is nothing like the love and support from a significant other. It is unrealistic to think a man will make you happy, and unnecessary to get wrapped up in society’s standards of marriage and family. However, if you want a man, a real man and a successful relationship, letting go of ‘Ms. Independent Woman’ (a little bit) is necessary. Be stern in your beliefs, but sometimes ladies we have to take a step back and let a man, be a man! I can speak on this matter because I am living it. I was an independent woman who was in control of everything! I paid the bills and took care of household duties. What’s wrong with that right? Well when you are in a relationship with a man who is an active participant, he doesn’t expect nor want you to take care of everything. For example, he shouldn’t want you to take the trash out; that’s his responsibility. He shouldn’t want you to lift heavy objects when he is able to do so. He doesn’t like when he cleans the house, and his controlling girlfriend goes behind him to clean again because she has to be in control of how the man even cleans!! I am guilty of this too! (Ladies we know some men only surface clean, but we have to appreciate that they’re cleaning in the first place.) Sometimes we have to let go of that control. Some may call it sexist or perpetuating gender roles, but it is reality. A man who wants to be in a relationship and loves his woman wants to share responsibilities, especially the responsibilities that women would normally call the maintenance man or AAA for.
In my experience, I was so deep into my single woman habits and independent woman mentality, that I didn’t know when or how to let go. My father taught me about chivalry and demonstrated it with my mother, but it was not a qualification for the men I dated. Therefore, I opened my own doors, took out my trash, and continued to call maintenance and AAA. Such men don’t mind an independent woman because either they are not invested in the relationship enough to care or they are fine with a woman taking care of them. Ladies don’t abandon your independent woman completely, but revert back to the concept’s original meaning of women empowerment. Don’t use the concept negatively to challenge men. Stop saying “I don’t need a man to make me happy.’ Duh!! Being happy is an emotion that should not be determined by the presence of ANY human being. So enough with that phrase!! Now let’s be real, a woman does not need a man, but a woman may want a man. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but there is a difference between ‘need’ and ‘want.’ Men are everywhere so a woman who needs a man has plenty of options, but a woman who wants a man is going to take her time for the right one. Stop saying “I can take care of myself.” Duh!! I would hope so! There is nothing wrong with letting a man take care of you too, whether it be financially or emotionally. As women we want to make sure we are not being controlled, but have to be receptive to good support. We all need and want support. Finally ladies, stop boastfully saying “I am an independent woman.” You will either be independent/single long-term, or you will be an independent woman taking care of a dependent man! I understand letting go of Ms. Independent Woman (even a little) may be a hard habit to break, which is a process I am still going through, but it is worth it in dating and relationships. #DatingDo!