For All My Independent Ladies: Learning to Be Vulnerable In A Relationship

July 30, 2013  |  



I, like many self-proclaimed independent women, pride myself on not being a push-over.  It’s not easy to get over on me in a relationship. I don’t believe everything I’m told and don’t mind doing things for myself; this she-woman attitude can be a gift and a curse in a relationship. A real man doesn’t want to be run over by his woman, however, if he wanted to date someone just as tough or masculine as he is, well…you know the rest. With that being said, in my quest to do better in relationships, I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’ve got to be more vulnerable.

Vulnerable. It’s a word that usually makes an independent woman cringe, but without letting down your guard and experiencing some level of vulnerability, chances are your relationships will fail. I’ve learned the hard way that my hard exterior has been my downfall. Forgoing telling a man my true feelings from fear of being hurt has jeopardized some of my relationships. And while I still refuse to ever become a pushover, I am slowly learning that vulnerability doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

How is a man supposed to know how you feel without you telling, and most importantly showing him? If you act as if you don’t need him, what’s his incentive to stay around? We, independent women, have to realize that self-sufficiency and independence are different. It’s not wise to be independent (in a sense of not needing your partner at all) in a relationship, but instead self-sufficient. And although there is a fine line, there is a sharp difference.

Independence in a relationship is usually accompanied by an I-don’t-need-you attitude. Self-sufficiency says, “I am good without you, but even better with you.” Men like to know that they’re wanted, and without unleashing a bit of vulnerability, it’s almost impossible to show them.

In my oh-so-difficult journey, I’m learning that it’s kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Most of the time we fear being vulnerable simply because we fear getting hurt. Not showing affection still doesn’t prevent me from getting hurt, so why not allow myself to give a little more of me in a relationship?

I’m not saying that every sweet and sappy thought that comes to my head, I’m going to address. Or even will I be quick to discuss my doubts, insecurities, and fears with my partner on day one of our relationship. What I am saying is that I’m trying to put more of my pride aside and give a bit more of me. Has it been difficult? Absolutely. Every woman who is accustomed to doing things on her own will probably have issues with this, but for me it’s almost become a disability.

So my journey to vulnerability has been anything but easy, but because I am hoping to have a healthy relationship, I know that my independence has to take a backseat to vulnerability at least some of the time.

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  • Dragon Senait

    Well I”m certainly this way. But I have to be the way I am to SURVIVE. I’ve never been able to depend on men, so why should I put my guard down?

  • DCGirlNMD

    This article confuses me….What does being independent and assertive have to do with being vulnerable?? The author speaks as if all independent women are one-dimensional creatures that cannot recognize when a man’s good enough to be vulnerable for. I am a self-professed independent woman who, quite frankly, doesn’t need a man to “take care of me.” I got that covered… But I’m more than capable of being soft, nurturing, loving, and compassionate with a man that deserves it. What I wont do is be vulnerable to men that arent worthy..and he aint worthy unless he’s secure enough in his manhood to not be intimidated by a woman who is smart, beautiful, assertive, and doesnt need him to help pay her rent.

  • curlycakes

    I remember the first two weeks I moved in with my boyfriend I cried. I had to get used to dealing with another person’s habit. I was used to doing everything myself with rarely any help. I had to stop and realize I needed to be more open I wouldn’t say vulnerable to more of his way. With myself the one thing i did do wrong is I kept on being in charge of finances and other things around the house and now 5years in. He is used to me doing everything. SOOO my advice don’t get him used to it. He has to take on his part and I think thats part of being independent .

  • Happy

    Same here. Pride has been my biggest downfall in my relationship. Fortunately my boyfriend has been working with me

  • MAC001

    Let’s not make it a “woman thing”. Everyone wants to be wanted/needed by their SO. It’s not unheard of for a man to tell a women how much he needs her, how much she brings to his life, how being with her makes him want to be/do better. Why should it be any different with women? The media (IMO) is trying to sell women an ideal that is unrealistic. Like the article said, there’s a difference in being independent and self sufficient. Too many women out there scream to the mountain tops: “I don’t need a man.”

  • ash

    Wish this had been written about a month ago! I had a short relationship end because I was a bit “too” independent and maybe a little too masculine. Sometimes it is very hard to be a strong woman and let someone else care of you. Pride is a huge issue for me too