What’s your definition of “independent”?

The term “independent woman” is often seen in men’s profiles who seek self-sufficient women. It is their way of saying they want a woman who has a life of her own, interests, friends, a career and sufficient income. They don’t want someone who is clingy, reliant on them for all entertainment and definitely not someone they would need to support financially.

However, I have a new understanding of some men’s definition of “independent.” In addition to the above, it can mean “a woman who doesn’t need much from me in terms of a relationship. We can both come and go as we please, and hook up when the whim strikes. Little communication needs to occur between hook ups. I don’t want to put much time or energy into the relationship. Hey, we’re both busy people.”

I would never have guessed that this was part of one’s definition of “independent.” However, the Thesaurus offers these words: unconnected, disinterested, uncommitted, detached and unconstrained. Unfortunately, these words more closely describe my relations with a man I dated for months who repeatedly said he appreciated my independence.

His definition of independent apparently was that he would call me when he wanted, occasionally text me, see me when the whim struck, and maybe return my calls and maybe not. When it struck me that his definition of independent and mine were vastly different, I saw that his was self-absorbed. While I am independent in the traditional definition, I also think I am considerate of others.

If a man says he wants an independent woman, ask him to further define it to make sure you are on the same page. If not, discovering different definitions can be jarring.

When you hear that a man wants a woman who’s independent, what does that mean to you? Have you ever discovered that your definition and his were very different? If so, how?

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6 responses to “What’s your definition of “independent”?”

  1. Loving Annie Avatar

    Very important distinction – and not just with “independent’, but with the concept of ‘love’ and ‘monogamy’ and ‘loyalty’ and ‘honesty’ too !!!

    What something means to one person can mean something totally different to someone else !
    So just because a man says I Love You doesn’t mean it’s YOUR definition of love… Think of Bill Clinton telling Hillary he loves her. Of High Hefner telling his girlfriend of the month that he loves her. Of Mike Tyson telling his date he loves her… Of Charlie Sheen telling his latest wife he loves her…

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Good examples, Annie.

    I became painfully aware of what I thought was a common term’s definition. Before we had sex, I asked the guy I was falling for if he had been sexual with any other woman since we started dating. He admitted he had, since he and I had not agreed to exclusivity. I asked, “If you and I become sexual, will you be sexual with anyone else?” A pretty clear question, i thought. He said, “No, I will not be sexual with anyone but you.” We did the deed.

    A month later I learned after that discussion he’d had sex again with the aforementioned woman. When I confronted him with my knowledge of this, he denied any conversation of being exclusive. I reminded him of our dialogue. He said, “You and I only had sex once.[We’d actually had sex 3 times.] Being “sexual” is an ongoing relationship to me.” Give me a break! It reminded me of Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman.” The definition depends on the benefits to the individual.

  3. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Wow, that really sucks, but having had my fair share of disappointments in the past with regard to independence vs. exclusivity, all I can add is that I now believe in waiting for sex til after I’m convinced that the relationship is exclusive, via words and actions, be it a few weeks or even months, depending upon my partner and my comfort level with the situation.

    BTW: IMHO, independence is a state of mind and NOT an excuse to whore around; unfortunately, all too many men (and some women) nowadays twist this word to mean just that. If dependence, by contrast, equals monogamous caring for and sharing with one’s partner, be it with time spent, sexual intimacy or other displays of affection and long term commitment, then, by all means, color me dependent.

    Hugs from bookyone 🙂

  4. Kevin Avatar

    Hi DG:

    A guy’s point of view here. I want a woman who is independent but not totally independent. I know that sounds funny, but I want the closeness, the intimacy and the whole relationship package.

    Who needs someone who doesn’t have the time, plays games with you, and doesn’t want to be your partner? If that’s the case, then just have the talk, be FWB’s, and continue to look for a real partner.

    You don’t want to be all over each over, have no other interests etc, no life outside of each other, but you also don’t want to be almost completely exclusive of each other’s lives. What’s the point?

  5. nysharon Avatar

    Independant = not so available and more interesting so I want her more. Dependant = clingy/crazy/stalker/suffocating.
    Then there are those who use word semantics to their own best interests. hmmmmmm

  6. YoJimbo Avatar

    Isn’t the relationship ideal Co-Dependance?

    When a woman makes a big deal out of her being and “Independant Woman” that just says to me “I don’t need you”. I do believe that in a relationship it is important to feel needed by your “Partner” and wearing your independance like a badge of honor is sending the opposite message.

    Speaking of the relationship being a “Partnership” would imply co-dependance.

    IMO co-dependance in a relationship is the middle ground, the middle path, the way of balance between two people.

    As for a dependant relationship I think it is dangerous for both parties. Someone is not getting their needs met in the relationship which will have the effect of driving them away from the depandant person. The resulting seperation would prove to be quite difficult for the dependant person to adust to.

    I have dated both ultra-independant and ultra-dependant women and I must say that the relationships with the ultra-independant women were the most painful. Basically, while your together she is nuturing and developing a life that does not include you. For me this has been a relationship killer if I am thinking about the future in the long term “We” and she is thinking about the future in the “I”. However, the ultra-independant woman works very well for the casual relationship where we are both thinking about the future in the “I” and there is no real expectation of being needed in the relationship. Frankly, in this kind of relationship any female expectation that a man should need her and want her all the time is rediculous as he is probably off being an independant man himself so why should you feel needed?

    Dating the dependant woman is just uncomfortable. No matter how good it might feel there is always a part of the relationship that is strongly uncomfortable. Usually, one of the two is NOT getting their relationship needs met. These have been the more unhealthy type relationships for me. And generally the dependant person ends up with the short end of the stick at the end of the relationship.

    Personally, I think a relationship should be a partnership where each partner has a role in building the relationship.

    Is that corny? Or old fashioned thinking? Opinions Please!