Independent people still need someone to rely on. Your love relationship doesn’t have to mean giving up your independence, but inter-dependence can be a positive force in your life. When the chips are down and there’s a crisis, you have a partner to rely on. Your partner is there in good times and also times when it’s just nice to have someone by your side.

If you’re in a relationship with your best friend and lover, do you have to give up your independence? This is a real concern for people who live a full and complete life independent of anyone else. They are self- reliant, self-sufficient and quite happy to be so. When they decide they want to share that life with another person, there is a fear that maybe they will have to give up that independence in order to have a love relationship.  That the other person in their life will be too demanding of their time and energy and they will lose their ability to stand on their own two feet. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a fallacy that we all need someone to complete us. It’s far better for us to be a whole and complete, fully functioning and well-adjusted adult and find another that is also whole and healthy to share their lives together. When two people are in a bonded relationship this way their lives will definitely change; for the better! 

When you get together with a new partner you’re going to want to spend time together, you’ll explore all the things that both of you love and want to do including hobbies, movies, music, and of course, sex will probably enter the picture at some point.  So what happened to all that independence? You’ve not given it up; you’ve simply put it on the back burner for the time being while you get to know this new person in your life.

If you do stay together, move in, get married, or commit to a long-term relationship, things will eventually normalize. You’ll get into a routine with each other regarding work or school and then you will need to make decisions about free time. Do you want to spend it all together or go back to having a more independent lifestyle? Is it even possible after you become a couple?

Yes. I believe it is. 

The difference between being independent, self-sufficient and a strong individual in the context of being a couple is that you now have your best friend in your life. You have not only a confidante, a companion, a lover and friend; you also have a support system. You’re never truly on your own. When you are part of a couple you have someone to rely on should you need them (and I predict you will). It’s great being independent, and it’s even better to be interdependent on someone that you truly love and care for.  When you both understand the difference, you can strike a balance that works for you both.  The other great thing is, nothing is set in stone. If you want to rely on each other more or less, you can do that. Everything changes and hopefully you will too. As you live and grow together you’ll become closer and more able to rely on one another as time goes on. The relationship you are building together gives you the freedom to be independent and still have a safety net in a crisis or emergency or just regular life. . The security of knowing that you’re no longer alone in this world makes the world a better place to live in.


  • Stuart Fensterheim

    Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW

    The Couples Expert

    Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. His weekend workshop, Two Days: Seven Conversations has become a popular venue for many to set off on their journey of connectedness. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.