Five Keys to Preserving Independence in a Relationship

July 24, 2019
In order to maintain a healthy and long-lasting romantic relationship, it's important to remain independent in some ways. In this article, we share five keys to preserving your independence in your relationship.

Some people think that life as a couple requires spending most of the time with the other person. But, in reality, there are many other ways of experiencing a relationship. Sometimes, preserving independence in a relationship can be the key to a deep and loving connection.

Living anchored to another person can be very harmful. Acting this way can eventually make you feel saturated, drowned, and suffocated. By this, we’re not saying making plans with your partner often is wrong. However, preserving independence in a relationship allows you to enjoy some alone time, which is always necessary. We all need a space for us to reflect on things and feel nothing but peace, both on a physical and emotional level.

On the other hand, it’s also important that you learn to control your ego so that it doesn’t affect your relationship. For example, avoid placing your ambitions and desires before those of the other person. Now, this can be more difficult if you spend most of your time with your partner. The reason for this is that they may feel obliged to participate in activities that you like or vice-versa.

The importance of preserving independence in a relationship

Oftentimes, lack of independence in a relationship usually correlates with a situation of excessive dependence. If you don’t know how to cultivate and maintain a certain level of independence, you can get to a point where you won’t know how to do anything unless your partner’s involved. As a consequence, you’ll end up submerged in a deep and dangerous comfort zone.

Now, in order to grow on a personal level and learn to value your relationship, it’s important to dedicate time to yourself. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people you love and make fun plans with them. However, this is only possible when there’s a proper degree of interdependence in the relationship.

In short, preserving independence in a relationship can allow you to enjoy life and, at the same time, cherish every single moment you spend with your partner. On the other hand, it may also help you manage jealousy and possessiveness.

A man and a woman looking at each other in the eyes.

Five keys to preserving independence in a relationship

1. Accept yourself in order to accept your partner

It’s always a good idea to do a little introspection to learn to love and value yourself. Believe it or not, this is extremely important when learning to accept and appreciate your partner. In addition, this will allow you to build healthier relationships with your friends and family.

Moreover, you should try to be aware of everything that differentiates you from other people. For example, your tastes, opinions, passions, and hobbies. Valuing all the traits that define your personality will help you understand that it isn’t necessary to adapt to every single thing that surrounds you.

2. Negotiate with your partner

Another important aspect is to talk to your partner about the need for individual space and independence.

That way, you can make the other person understand that spending some time apart is, in reality, positive for the relationship and that there’s nothing wrong with it. Teach them that growing at an individual level will also influence the relationship’s well-being.

3. Be honest

As we’ve mentioned, spending time apart is completely fine. However, it’s important to maintain a sincere communication with them at all times. Remember that honesty is the best policy. That way, it’ll be easier to avoid any misunderstandings, doubts, or even issues related to jealousy.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should give explanations to your partner about every single thing. No matter how close you may be, privacy is always important and must be respected. Nonetheless, it’s important that you try not to hide important things from them or keep secrets that may compromise your partner’s trust.

Spending time alone is key to preserving independence in a relationship. In this photo, a woman reading a book by herself.

4. Preserve your individual space

Valuing your personal space can be very positive, both for your relationship and for yourself. Doing activities such as going on a walk, watching your favorite movies, reading an interesting book, playing sports, or anything else you enjoy is important since they contribute to your self-esteem. If you leave them aside, at some point you’ll start to miss them so much to where you begin to experience some discomfort.

Additionally, these small pleasures will allow you to feel at peace with yourself. You’ll feel calm and relaxed and you’ll realize that you can feel happy even when doing things by yourself.

5. Set healthy boundaries

Boundaries protect your personal space. Thus, it’s fundamental to talk to your partner about your limits and the attitudes or behaviors you won’t tolerate. In turn, you must be respectful of your partner’s tastes, values, beliefs, and feelings. Being in a relationship is all about teamwork. Respect and you’ll be respected in return.

As you can see, preserving independence in a relationship is essential. By spending time by yourself, you’ll feel connected to your feelings and thoughts and be able to grow as a person and cultivate a richer social life.

  • Dema Moreno, Sandra (2005): “Entre la tradición y la modernidad: las parejas españolas de doble ingreso”, Universidad de Oviedo, Área de comercialización e Investigación de Mercados. Disponible en: https://www.raco.cat/index.php/Papers/article/viewFile/52753/60703
  • Ajenjo Cops Marc y Joan García Román (2014): “Cambios en el uso del tiempo de las parejas ¿Estamos en el camino hacia una mayor igualdad?”, Revista Internacional de Sociología, Vol 72, No 2. Disponible en: http://revintsociologia.revistas.csic.es/index.php/revintsociologia/article/view/568