How to Get What You Want in Life/Independency in Relationships
Hi, I'm eighteen years old, and am having difficulty accepting my fate. I know that naturally, as people get older, they pair off into couples and tend to have one relationship that is more important than all the rest. I have never had an official boyfriend, but did have a close relationship with a boy. I could see that if we decided to start dating, it would probably lead to marriage, and I decided to end things with him. I really liked having someone who knew me better than anyone else, and I like the physical aspect of relationships, but they scare me. I am naturally a very independent person and I have a lot of confidence. I'm scared that a close, committed relationship would deprive me of being my own person. As people I know start to get married, settle down, and have families, I can't help but increase my stress level about close relationships. I know that I am not quite at an age where I really have to be concerned with settling down, but I still dread the day when I have to seriously consider making a strong commitment with someone. How can someone be their own person when in a team? And, how can I ease my stress level concerning future commitments?
I can see why you are fearful of entering into a serious relationship. You are assuming that you need to give up who you are in order to be in a committed relationship. It is true that many relationships are dysfunctional - with the strong person in the relationship trying to dominate or control the relationship.
It was not too many years back when men married a woman the felt like they "owned" her ... that she was supposed to be submissive to the whims and desires of her husband. Fortunately most people have realized that is not a good relationship and times have changed.
So the first thing you should do is to change the way you look at what being in a relationship means. I could tell you what I think it means but that would not really do you any good. You need to get clear on what you want/expect in a relationship. I would suggest that you do some reading about healthy relationships so you can developed an informed opinion about what a good healthy relationship should be like. One very good book is The Seven Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly. Here is a link to my review of the book.
You should also read some other reveiws to get a more balanced view of the value of the book to you.
Another one is The Relationship Cure by John Gottsman, PhD. I have not read this one but Dr. Gottsman is well known as a relationship expert and you should at least check it out.
What I hope you will learn is that a good relationship should make both people stronger - better able to acheive their goals in life. It is not about giving up who you are, it is about having some support you in achieving who you are meant to become.
I believe we can all do more, be more if we have someone helping us move toward what we want to become in life. I totally agree that entering into the wrong relationship can become a serious setback to you and your goals in life. To avoid making a serious mistake you need to keep the emotions in check ... do not fall into the trap of thinking you are in love and allowing yourself to overlook the real person you think you are in love with. It is always best to let love grow slowly and increase with time. Often people fall in love with who they want their partner to be and for a long time are blinded to the other person's true character. Always keep your eyes open and stay firmly grounded in your principles. Be true to yourself. Look for a partner who understands who you are, whose values align with yours and who will be willing to grow with you and help you become the person you are meant to be.
Next to deciding your major purpose in life, this is the most important decision you will make. Take your time and choose wisely. Do not rush into any relationship. It is much better to be strong friends first and allow the romance to grow. If you are not really good friends, the romance can and will fade and die. It you are good friends first, with the common goal to help each other,the romance will get stronger each passing year.
Don't write off a romantic relationship just because it is difficult to find and requires work to maintain. Having a supportative partner is one of the best assets you can have. Just be sure that your values and visions are aligned. If they are, the romance will take care of itself.
Hope this gives you a good starting point. If you have additional questions, please let me know.