Being Independent And Being In A Relationship Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

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You’re allowed to have another half, someone who makes you feel whole and complete and like you’re finally the fullest version of yourself.

You are allowed to depend on them, to need them, to sometimes feel like it’s harder to breathe without them.

They can be one of the most significant parts of your life. Your relationship with them can matter more to you than most other things do.

You’re allowed to feel more like yourself around them than you do around anyone or anything else.

But the best part is that you can feel all of this while still being completely whole on your own.

Feeling this strongly and this intensely for another person does not mean you can’t also have your independence.

Sometimes it can feel like a relationship must also mean the death of one’s self – the death of your independence and the death of the special life you’ve built up for yourself. That this is the only fair exchange for lifelong love.

But a real relationship, the right relationship, will be the opposite of that. It will only make you feel more like yourself, more independent and more certain of who you are than you’ve ever been before. Except this time, you have somebody to lean on in the moments where it’s difficult to hold yourself up.

Relationships involve a lot of choices. A lot of deciding what you won’t give up and what you will give up when it comes to figuring out what’s best for the two of you as a whole. There’s a lot of selfless choices and a lot of selfish choices, and the best relationships involve an even balance.

But the one choice you should never have to make in a relationship is choosing between the love of your life and your own individual self.

These two things do not (and should not) have to be mutually exclusive. They are not working against each other.

When you’ve found the right kind of love, your independence strengthens your relationship, and your relationship strengthens your independence. 

It’s not a choice. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s not the point in your life where you say goodbye to yourself and say hello to just being one half of a couple.

When you’ve found the right person, you’ll know. You’ll understand all of this to be true. Because the right person will be the person to make you feel like you’re totally whole on your own, without ever feeling like you’re alone. TC mark

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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  • https://healing.ly Walter

    That’s the biggest challenge of lovers to understand. We can’t make someone happy and can’t expect someone to make us happy. Two happy people can explode in their joint happiness but two unhappy people (or even one) will simply be unhappy together.

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