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*EDITED FROM MY ORIGINAL POST DATED 3-9-17*
I have responded to a male friend’s previously posed question a few years ago regarding being in a relationship with a woman who is fiercely independent. He asked if attempting to date a woman who is “too independent” ruins it due to her high level of independence?? If you so desire, feel free to respectfully agree/disagree. I pondered about it and here is my well though out response:
I do put thought into these types of questions because they do hit home. I may have scared off many of potential suitors in my day due to their perceptions of how an independent woman operates her life. However, I don’t believe that I missed out on relationships since they were not meant to be. Here is my list of some perceptions that independent women may possess. Here are the following negative qualities:
- narrow minded
- controlling and overbearing
- head butting of egos
- cheap and stingy
- over hyped self opinion
- ultra masculine
- possesses condescending behavior
Here is my theory as to why women possess the above traits:
When a woman sticks up for herself, she may use plenty of defense mechanisms to ensure that she is “heard”. Perhaps this is why she resorts to being loud and obnoxious. She never learned to maintain her composure and speak steadily with words and facts and not emotions. That is a skill that few people possess in their tool bag. It is possible that the person trying to speak louder than her comes from the same desire to be heard? Two wrongs do not make a right. Learning to speak soft yet firm with facts is needed to resolve and soften those loud and obnoxious communication methods.
A woman should only speak based upon her journey as a woman and not of a man’s journey. She may have limited experience and access to opposing viewpoints. If that is the case, how is she going to understand or think like you? This is where a calm and peaceful dialogue is needed to come together to help each party gain an understanding. Once the tone raises and harsh words are used, your viewpoint gets lost in translation. It is highly beneficial to monitor behavior and determine root causes. This helps in the pursuit of predicting future behavior. You may be able to avoid these behaviors via predicting them in advance. Learning to understand people, no matter how difficult their personality, is vital to trying to gain some form of peace in life. You may not win the war but you will at least gain an understanding of their behavior and move forward as you see fit.
When a woman learns to survive on her own, a pattern is implemented to ensure she stays afloat. Now a man comes into the picture with a different pattern of conducting business. It would be natural for a woman, or for a man if reversed, to be fearful of losing that ability to keep afloat. Once you have been on a certain path, it is very scary to offer the reins of control to another party. It would be vital to understand the root of the controlling or overbearing behavior. Perhaps holding a meeting of exactly how the new path will be navigated, as a new leader, is vital to the change of command process. Setting a woman’s mind at ease with the plan goes along way with ensuring cooperation. I understand that some people will never be fine with losing control. On the other hand, manipulative behavior is another form of control. A manipulative person will often go to great lengths to get their own way. This destructive path includes using sabotage tactics to get their way. If there is not desire to compromise, they are best to be left to leading their own path solo. One must know when it is just healthy to part ways since any of the above behaviors can be highly toxic.
I believe the butting of egos between genders and an overhyped self opinion belong in the same category to discuss. Possessing condescending behavior is a terrible quality that belongs in this group as well. When men and women must butt heads, this can stem as a battle for control (as what has already been spoken about in the paragraph above). It can also stem from a lack of self esteem. Self esteem was born in the home as a child. Self esteem evolves over time based upon your experiences and interactions with people. Some good situations can make person feel good about themselves. Meanwhile, some bad situations can totally erase and destroy a person’s core self esteem. When you know who you are and actually like what you represent, you will have a healthy self esteem and a matching opinion on yourself. Damage done in the home as a child can absolutely annihilate a person’s self worth. In order to counter act the negative impact, one has to over inflate their value with an exaggerated high opinion. There could be people, who have terrible character flaws, that mask their character with an exaggerated high opinion. Maybe if you look at the exaggeration, you bypass and ignore the character flaws. Some people can be so angry with the ambitions of other, and their lack thereof, that they must create these ambitions in their mind and behave in a grandiose fashion. You truly have to be satisfied with who you are and what you bring to the table in order to keep a low profile on the ego and sense of self. In a materialistic world, it is a hard feat to accomplish. The drive and ambition must match the type of goals desired (they should be reasonable) and expectations; another hard feat to accomplish. Write out your goals and see what it takes to smash each one. There are plenty of miserable people who walk the Earth. The worst part is they put zero work into fixing things they do not like. These miserable folks behave in a condescending manner to others in an attempt to bring them down to their level. Another negative behavior trait to just avoid as much as possible. They are doomed unless they actively want to change.
Envision a drowning person who must grab another nearby person in the water around the waist so they can also come with them. Their slowly bodies sink together to the bottom of the ocean. Misery loves company.
Remember- no one can make you happy but yourself.
When a woman or man displays abusive behavior, this is because this is the most widely used form of conflict resolution that they witnessed growing up. They watched their parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, cousins, friends, or siblings use abuse as a tactic to control a situation. The first five years of life is where a person’s character forms as their foundation. It is extremely unhealthy to learn and super hard to erase from your behaviors. It may take many generations to wash away and hours worth of counseling to rid the stains of abuse off an individual’s soul. An abused person will gravitate to other people who share the same childhood experiences. Unless someone wants help and actively works to evolve and change, you cannot save this person. It is unhealthy to stay and most wise to leave.
There are many reasons why a woman is considered “cheap” or “stingy” in nature. The woman may very well be on a tight budget as a single mom with not much disposable income to spare. In my opinion, your household and children are of the highest priority. Dating should be low on the list of parting with cash for these extra expenses. When I was a young widowed woman, I opted to not even try to date since I was broke. I didn’t feel comfortable going on a date when my means were limited. Yes, I realize many women go on dates so that they can meet men to finance their household. I was never about that and I never will be about that type of hustle. Being a woman going after a man’s wallet is a common practice. Holding back on opening the purse with the anticipation that the man opens his wallet first is a form of being stingy. I do not blame a man at all if he steps back from a woman who does that; especially if she is always in the habit of doing that cheap behavior. A woman may remain cheap, even after significant raises, since that is a budgetary habit. There is a huge benefit for a man when a woman watches her budget tightly. Perhaps she will be even more mindful with his money than how she handles her own budget. Women who are stingy with their money and spend a man’s money freely are inconsiderate people. That type of behavior will seep into other aspects of a relationship and should be easy to spot and avoid.
The last negatively perceived quality for a woman is to be ultra masculine in all aspects of her life. It is not alluring to a man trying to date that “manly” woman- I know. Sometimes people experience different paths in life that lead them to be more masculine in nature. You can grow up with a father, just as I did, who has systematically impressed upon his daughter to be tough and always stand up for herself over many years. I had fallen off the back of a motorcycle when I was a five year old kid and scraped up the sides of my body. We were on the side of the road in the gravel next to the wrecked bike. He was telling at me to toughen up and do not cry. He was wiping up my tears convincing me to stop crying. I was told that I was a tough daddy’s girl and I was not supposed to show this weakness. Of course, I took the pep talk seriously and shook off the tears and the pain. As I just illustrated in the example, being masculine can be a defense mechanism as a way to protect herself. She may have to be tough so people do not think she is weak and try to take advantage of her. She may have been raised in a childhood environment where she didn’t receive love or she is missing either a mother or a father. She may have lost key women in her life to death that could have shown her femininity by example. She may have even experienced plenty of trauma that caused her to shut down emotionally. This emotional shut down may make her look masculine in nature. I do not believe that masculine qualities are merely the product of attempting to show men that she is better than them. Let’s sprinkle in the several waves of feminism, displayed via the media and various modes of advertising, that have advised women to leave their girly ways and become fierce competitors with men. Do men ever consider that in a world of oversexualization of women in music videos, movies, and advertising, that some women are far more comfortable in jeans and t-shirt than a dress? Not every woman is comfortable with creating intimate twerk videos for the entire thirsty globe to view. Some women have been brainwashed into thinking being feminine leads to eventually becoming a whore. That progression can make a woman feel uncomfortable and opt the safe route of jeans and a t-shirt. It was not that long ago that women were forced to wear dresses. Some women wore masculine clothing as a means of going against the grain. I have not even discussed a woman’s mindset after being raped. That trauma could very well cause a woman to avoid dressing feminine in an effort to avoid receiving male attention moving forward. As you can see, there is a lot to unpack and think about in this one section alone- whether you agree or disagree.
My personal thoughts about dating a modern independent woman:
I am a modern independent woman that has worked to become self sufficient financially, physically, and emotionally. I do not think that I must a bash or outperform a man, much less other women, along my path. I would like to have a deep connection with a man. However, I can survive and happily exist without one. A man may come into my life and he may question why am I “too independent”? As the older self, I am able to properly communicate who and why I am the current woman. Instead of allowing it to be a sticking point, he should focus to be the kind, loving, and the supportive man. In return, I shall do the same and mirror your actions. I will need some time in order unravel the layers of armor I have put on to protect my heart from the world. I admit that I would initially fight your hand to avoid you trying to assist with the wheel of my life. I would have to have a sense that you are a true leader before shifting power. That is where the eyes and intuition come into play. Remember, that wheel is my sense of security and my way of survival. Why should I give up some power to a man who merely requests it?? Transitions require confidence and witnessing ability over time.
As a man, you need to SHOW me that are you consistent and capable of taking the wheel as a co-pilot not just being the captain. I have established my way of life and I am NOT going to give the keys to my castle to just anyone. I will never be “dependent” and ever lay in a fetal position. Life has showed me to not do that to myself. I do not view “independence” as a dirty word. I fully respect women who choose the “dependent” since it is risky but reaps rewards if done correctly. I have chosen to do life “the hard way” for the past 25+ years. I had found no one in my travels that I felt comfy letting them take the “wheel” of my life as a co-pilot much less completely taking over the ship. I can only imagine having a co-pilot through him being the “better road” in managing life challenges better than I can do. My life path has demonstrated my ability to not only be a great co-pilot but the capacity to fully run the ship in the event he can’t or serve as his rock during tough times. On the other hand, it is fair for a man to want to review and figure out if I am truly capable of being the physical rock in the time of need or merely speaking that I can. I understand that the process for vetting a partner is subjective and not everyone is up for the task.
In my recent past, I had a man who actually took the time to ask me loads of questions and gain an understanding about who I am as a woman and what makes me tick. He put in a lot of effort to get to know me which I respected and valued. He is most indeed an alpha man with a tough exterior with plenty of ambition. After the initial evaluation, he came into the situation expressing a desire to have a lifetime partner with an engagement ring. He was my closest friend and was proud of me for my achievements. I was proud of what he achieved in his life and super appreciated his cooking skills! He had found my abilities and my mind to be extraordinary and a match for him. It was a shame that he had something broken inside of him that caused him to be repeatedly be unfaithful and involve me with his messy affairs. I had offered plenty of time to see if we could weather the storm and fix what was broken and move past it. I had parted ways with him in a peaceful manner almost two years ago. Although he has asked for another shot, my well of chances was depleted. I wish him well with the rest of his life and no harm whatsoever. It is healthy to give yourself time to heal past wounds and prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
I am at that chapter in life where I am at peace and want to continue with that zone. My sons are big guys so that helps. One son is halfway through high school and the other son is on the verge of getting married and starting his own family. These days, I spend time with my best girlfriend working on a variety of different projects. This is including our new podcast we are launching. I would love to cross paths with a compatible partner and discover a healthy relationship. I shall work on my career, family, my brand, and many wonderful aspects of life in the meantime. When I was younger, I felt more of a need to prove who I was as a person. As I have gotten older, I see my views evolve over time. I am convinced that people are suitable for different stages in life and not meant to be permanent.
As a strong woman raised by my dad to be tough, I didn’t know how to navigate the modern world with my mixed bag of tools. No one has yet to offer a handbook on how to properly figure out the dynamics between men and women. I am convinced a handbook doesn’t even exist (cue smile). I feel that the more life changes and modernizes, there will be more confusion of gender roles. It is reasonable that the more a wife contributes, the husband should be willing to take on additional responsibilities. Alternately, if a husband takes on the financial burden so the wife stays home, the wife should be grateful and run a clean and tight household. No matter what people think, the division of the roles is fully dependent on the dynamics of each couple. We should all be kinder and more understanding to each other while we navigate many aspects without a damn handbook!!
*I am going to write a future post about the qualities that modern men want to see in modern independent women in order to determine that they are marriage material. Stay tuned!*
Leslie M. Jasper -Author
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