Posted By: Kelly Seal Date: 06-30-2018 Comments: 0
When you’re in a relationship, do you ever feel your freedom slipping away? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with finding a balance between committing to a partnership and holding onto their independence, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Freedom and commitment are often pitted against each other as opposites; prevailing assumptions are that you can’t have both in your life at the same time. This is why so many of us are attracted to unavailable mates. We are unwilling to give up a part of ourselves to a real relationship – one that requires vulnerability, compromise, and cooperation.
It’s terrifying for some of us to think that being in a relationship means saying goodbye to freedom, so instead, we avoid commitment altogether.
But is it true? While you do give up a certain amount of freedom to create a life with a partner, the two are not mutually exclusive. When both partners commit to upholding each other’s values and goals, allow each other the space to truly be themselves, encourage each other to pursue their interests, and explore their individual lives in deeper, more meaningful ways, they can enjoy both partnership and independence.
Sharing intimacy with another person while exercising individual freedom in the context of a relationship takes intention and effort. Before you decide you’re not relationship material because you like your freedom, it’s important to ask yourself a couple of questions. Honest answers can help give you insight and strike a balance with this age-old dilemma.
What are you most afraid of?
Are you afraid of loving someone too much, of being betrayed, of becoming dependent or clingy? These are all legitimate fears, and usually based on our past experiences. As we move forward into healthier relationships however, we must face these fears and decide what we want *despite* being afraid. In other words, you might be fearful that you will lose yourself again if you commit to a new relationship, and you don’t want to do that. So what you can do instead is commit to yourself that you will do things differently this time around. You can promise to stand up for yourself, allow yourself alone time to recharge, make time for your friends and family, and whatever else is important to you, that feeds your sense of self. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Fear holds us back. When you operate from a place of fear, you will likely attract the exact thing you’re afraid of into your life. Instead, be willing to face your fears, but also be willing to see things differently, to take different actions. This will help you fine tune that balance between holding onto freedom and committing to your relationship.
Are you ready for change?
Some of us don’t want to commit 100% to anyone because we like our lives as they are. Maybe you love spending your free time traveling, or you enjoy your career which places a lot of demands on your time, or you simply like your daily routine and don’t want to change. A relationship will disrupt your current lifestyle and place demands on your time, this is true. But ask yourself: what would happen if you took a chance and allowed someone into your life, knowing that means change? Are you willing to take a risk, to make yourself vulnerable, to fully commit?
We can’t hold onto our old lifestyles completely when someone new comes along, but we can envision a new life alongside a partner that is enriching and happy in different ways.
Here’s the thing: nothing in life ever stays the same – we are constantly evolving, our lives and circumstances changing. So while a relationship might throw your current plans off course, what if it leads to a better or more interesting trajectory? You can’t know until you are willing to try, to see what change brings into your life. It’s important to understand if a change to your lifestyle is a deal-breaker for you, but it’s equally important to know why you’re unwilling to compromise. Perhaps it’s not about the relationship, but that the person you’re seeing isn’t right for you.
Relationships don’t kill your freedom. In fact, when a relationship is healthy, it allows both you and your partner the space and time to cultivate your own interests and pursue your own goals, as well as coming together to support each other. This not only makes you stronger individuals, but it feeds the relationship. It makes both partners stronger, more able to express themselves and live authentically.