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Love Happy: Ditching dependency

Welcome to Love Happy, where we help you successfully navigate the ups and downs of relationship life and share simple tips for keeping love fun, fresh and on track. In this installment, we look at the importance of independence.

Dependent woman

Can you open this for me?

It seemed like the moment I moved in with my boyfriend I lost my ability to open jars. If he was in the same room (or at least within yelling distance) and I needed to open a jar of pasta sauce, I would automatically hand it over and wait patiently while he opened it for me. After jars it was all things electronic. Instruction manual? No thanks! I’ve got a man who will figure it out for me and then show me how to use my new camera roughly 86 times before I finally grasp the basics. If something breaks or leaks, I can only stare at it blankly until the man of the house comes home at which time I dutifully inform him of the problem and go back to reading Perez Hilton. I am independent in a lot of ways, but it has become frighteningly easy to rely on a man to open, carry and fix almost everything.

Disappearing independence

It may sound like a dream to have a live-in handyman. You may be reading this and thinking that there’s nothing wrong with having a guy around to do things for you and to a point, I don’t disagree. But there comes a time in every woman’s life when she should probably be able to open a jar of pickles without having to ask for assistance. I started to feel dependent. My single friends could figure out how to use their own new cameras without help. They could assess the strange noises coming out of the cars without asking a guy, they could carry their own groceries and they could BBQ a steak without having to ask a man to please turn on the barbecue thank-you-very-much. I became slightly horrified at how dependent I had become.

Kicking the dependence habit

I still ask for help opening particularly stubborn jars and if he offers, I do let my boyfriend carry the heaviest bags home from the grocery store. But I no longer thrust jars in his face or automatically walk out of the store sans bags because I know he’ll grab all of them. I even turn on the barbecue and COOK things on it without ever saying anything along the lines of “is this thing on?” But it hasn’t been easy. Every time I grab a jar, I have to remind myself that I’m an adult and perfectly capable of opening things. At the grocery store, I have to remind myself to grab some bags. When something breaks, I have to remind myself to at least try and figure out what’s wrong with it before leaving it for my guy to look at — and ideally fix.

Why now?

Working on being less dependent is important to me because I am a smart, capable woman and I know I can figure out how to work a camera (don’t judge me, there are a LOT of weird settings on mine), but it just became so easy to have someone else do it. I may be lucky enough to have a very patient, loving man at home who will open, fix and carry things for me, but I don’t want him to feel like he is obligated to help. I want to know I can do things myself, or at the very least that if he goes away for the weekend or if he’s busy, I won’t be tempted to call my dad to come over to my house to open a jar of pasta sauce.

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