Miss(ed) Independent

🎶She got her own thing
That’s why I love her
Miss Independent🎵

I am a self identified Independent Woman 🎵throw your hands up at me🎶 the shoes on my feet (not that there’s much reason to wear shoes at the moment) the clothes I’m wearing, the house I live in, and the car I’m driving, I bought it all! Sadly I haven’t made it as far as rockin’ a rock, but you get the drift.

It’s been over 100 years since some women were first granted the vote and while a lot has changed since 1918 there are definitely still improvements to be made until we reach true gender parity. Having said that there’s something so empowering in knowing we live in a time where women have more choices, the power to make their own decisions, and the opportunity to excel in their careers.

And there are those of us who’ve definitely capitalised on the notion that women no longer need men to provide for them (although there are still a few things they can do for me that I don’t want to do for myself like *ahem* catching the spiders).

As much as some of our favourite R’n’B artists championed and celebrated all the successful boss ladies through song, sadly not every person seems to appreciate the marvel that is the independent woman!

If like me you’ve recently watched (or re-watched) Girlfriends on Netflix then you’ll be aware that one of the main themes of the show is the fact that successful, attractive, fabulous women who have so many achievements to boast, struggle to attain the same success in their romantic relationships (granted the Girlfriends had LOTS of issues, but who doesn’t).

Research has shown correlations that suggest women with greater job success are less likely to be in a relationship. It’s something that’s evident time and time again and sadly a widely accepted fact that confuses me immensely.

So why do high performing women struggle to find love?

(N.B I want to caveat this by stating this is a generalisation and there are many ambitious, brilliant women who are in fulfilling relationships and also happy in their careers).

I’ve often been accused of being too picky, and while I don’t agree that the word too should be used next to picky, I will admit that I do have exacting standards when it comes to considering making space in my life for someone new. I also accept that it can sometimes take a little while for you to get to know someone and that we should be more open to giving potential partners a fair chance as chemistry can develop over time.

However we also need to stop assuming that being picky is a bad thing, there’s nothing quite like the thrill and excitement that comes with realising you really connect with that stranger you just met. I also resent the implication that I should settle for good enough when I firmly believe we all deserve to find that epic love that doesn’t feel like settling!

It’s also true that the older you get the more likely you are to be set in your ways. Which can mean an unwillingness to compromise and we all know that one of the tenets of a great relationship is compromise.

Equally the skills that have to be developed in order to forge a successful career don’t always translate to success in relationships especially if you have the kind of role that means clocking up numerous hours at your desk, so that you don’t have as much time to spend with those you care about. And the sad truth is that there are those of us who spend so much time concentrating on other aspects of our lives we don’t dedicate that same time to establishing and nurturing romantic relationships.

Rather disappointingly there are some reasons that men (if a heteronormative entanglement is your bag) are not equipped to date successful women. While there are many men who say they are drawn to intelligent and ambitious women, in practice this doesn’t always ring true.

The main reasons for this appear to be that due to stereotypical roles, women that seem to have their shit together can come across as intimidating. Men may assume that someone with so many positive traits and qualifications would have plenty of offers and that she is out of his league and therefore don’t even approach successful women.

In addition to this feeling emasculated is a huge reason men aren’t able to feel comfortable around high-achieving women. Although I would rather denounce this notion men need to feel needed and women who have financial independence, active social lives and who are incredibly capable can lead some men to feeling like they aren’t bringing anything to the table.

Unfortunately we socialise males to believe that if they aren’t able to be a provider then they have no value to add and we also socialise women to believe they need to behave like damsels. In modern society stereotypical gender roles are merging, however attitudes aren’t necessarily evolving as much.

We need to move toward a society where conventional gender roles and the associated beliefs that go along with them are balanced within the individual and we learn to accept that men and women can and should present with both masculine and feminine energies and neither should be made to feel like less of a man or a woman for it.

But until that time arrives:

  1. Value yourself for who you are, if you’re not happy in yourself then you’ll never be happy with someone else (if that’s what you want).
  2. Remember that being single has so many positives and just because there is a social stigma related to single women don’t let that make you believe that you can’t be happy and fulfilled not being attached.
  3. If a partner is what you’re aiming for then hold out for the person who is comfortable enough in themselves to support and value you no matter if you’re the higher or lower earner.
  4. Stay open to finding that love that fills your heart and your soul!
  5. If you already are or aspire to raise the next generation, be the change and raise your daughters to step into their power and your sons to feel comfortable having a supporting role!

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