Self-Reliance in Relationships


I know a lot about a lot of things, that’s the great thing about having a nearly obsessive love of reading. I know a lot about mental health and self-care due to a whole lot of reading and also firsthand experience.

So let’s talk about relationships self-reliance.

And how I know what not to do. I have that completely down. I know what things make for a toxic, terrible, situation, but do I know a lot about how to have a happy relationship?

A bit, I’m kinda new to it. My wife and I had a whirlwind romance. Three months after meeting we got married because I just knew that I wanted her to be my partner forever. She makes me laugh like no other. There’s not a day that goes by that’s not filled with belly-laughter to the point there’s almost tears running down my face and she is so incredibly kind and warm-hearted.

I’m not an expert at good relationships.

I have a lot of flaws and I’m constantly learning from them.

One of the biggest hurdles has been my own independence and self-reliance.

I know right? That’s supposed to be a GOOD thing, especially because it’s an essential aspect of self-care and mental health management. But in the context of a relationship, self-reliance isn’t always a good thing.

In past relationships, I was extremely co-dependent on an emotional level.

And by extreme, I mean extreme.

As I learned to love myself I learned that I could be happy by myself and I could love myself without someone else loving me.

And let me tell you. That was one of the best revelations I’ve had in my entire life. It was absolutely life-changing.

I moved away from home when I was 19 and I’ve fully supported myself from that point on. Until I met my wife I’d never lived with anyone, never shared a single bill with anyone. I’d even bought a house all on my own.

So financial independence has been my thing for 16 years. When I started my self-love journey and learned that my self-worth didn’t rely on other people I found a different kind of independence.

But sometimes I tip the scales too far in the opposite direction.

In my marriage, I still find it hard to ask for help. I’m so used to being self-sufficient and taking care of myself that it can often present itself as uptight and controlling, which I’m working on.

This morning I was feeling stressed out because I’m just back to work after a vacation and it was so lovely to have so much free time, not to mention I’m sore and feeling my age! My default setting is self-care and focusing on my needs and how *I* can make myself feel better. Which is good but what’s not so good is that I still haven’t gotten used to relying on my wife.

This morning she asked me if I wanted to lay in bed and eat donuts and watch tv and just spend the morning relaxing. My default thought was “I have this list of things I want to do, by myself, to feel better.”

Instead, I decided to spend some time in bed. Before I knew it, my stress had completely melted away with our laughter and spending time together. I was once again reminded how often my default setting is to just be in my own world alone. While a huge part of that is self-love, there’s also a lot of self-reliance that stems from feeling unloved and unsupported for a significant part of my life.

Instead of being present, I allow myself to be detached, even when I don’t realize it.

There’s a reason that a marriage is called a partnership. Despite the ease in which I handle everything on my own, I’m learning how beautiful it is to share the everyday burdens with someone else even if it’s just a stressful day.

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