The other night I was out with a friend and we started talking about dating. My friend is very independent and an all around bad ass. She’s not actively dating. It’s not the focus. She’s busy working two jobs, putting herself through school, going to the gym, keeping up with friends, etc. Like I said, she’s an all around bad ass. But, she was telling me that even though it’s not her immediate concern, there are times when she worries that she won’t find someone. Ever.
I get it. I think we all do.
So when we talked more about what she was looking for, she said she didn’t exactly know (I told her to make a list) but she mentioned that she’s found that no matter how much a guy says he wants to date an independent lady, he doesn’t. And I couldn’t disagree.
Early last May I went out with this guy who when we were texting made it seem like he was all about dating women who had their own things going on. It worked for me. But when we met, I started noticing things that pointed in the complete opposite direction. We went out twice in one weekend. That was a huge deal for me because it’s not something I typically do, but after the first date – a lunch date that only lasted an hour – I hadn’t quite figured out if I did or didn’t want to see him again. The weird thing I should have picked up on, was that at the end of lunch when I offered to split the bill, he asked me if we were on a date. And when I said yes, he said, “well, then I’ll pay.”
On our second date (two days later), we went to watch a game at a sports bar and got chicken wings. Somehow whether or not I was confident came up (after he said he was equal parts cocky, confident, and humble #eyeroll) and while I do think I’m a pretty confident person, he basically kept asking questions that implied that I wasn’t or that I shouldn’t be as confident as I am. Note to guys who give backhanded compliments: You’re shitty if you’re purposefully trying to make a girl feel less than she is.
Again, he insisted on paying. At the end of the date I went to Google Map the best way to get home. I mentioned that my phone battery was low, and he offered his phone for me to use. I nearly said yes, but he said… and I quote…”I want you to be dependent on me”. WHAT? Not only was it creepy and weird, but it completely went against the sort of relationship we both seemed interested in: two adults whose lives intersect.
The more I think about it, and the more my friend and I talked about it, we realized that most of the time, when a guy says he’s looking to date an independent woman, he doesn’t really mean it. What he means is that when he wants to do his own thing, he wants a girl to do her own thing. But when he wants to hang out, she should be there. And if she can’t do her own thing… well, then she’s “crazy”. When she sends too many texts, wants to hang out all the time, and insists on making plans. But the thing is…those are completely normal things.
So if you’re an independent woman like Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle, you’ll know a guy is ready for your jelly if:
- He doesn’t need to be texting/talking constantly.
- He’s cool with you fitting him into your busy life and even tries to make plans in advance that work with both your schedules.
- He doesn’t get offended when you offer to pay and even lets you split the bill (who doesn’t want to save money not covering food and booze for another person?).
Now, I also want to say that guys aren’t the only culprits here. We do it too. My friend said that while she wants to be independent, she knows that sometimes she wants to be taken care of. There’s a fine balance and nothing is black and white.
The bottom line is: it’s important to understand what you’re looking for in a relationship, and if it’s in sync with what the other person is looking for. If you’re looking to maintain your independence, great! But relationships do require open and honest communicaiton and at times compromise – as long as you’re not compromising yourself or your values. And if you do realize that the guy you’re seeing isn’t respecting your ability to be indepentent… well then maybe that’s a dealbreaker.