Do Relationships make or break your Independence and Strength or just weaken both?

I was having some brunch this morning and as l was doing so, l was watching a programme on the television and they were discussing the ‘pressures and panic’ single people are currently experiencing’ about not being in relationships/marriages? This made me think back to the pressures l had felt from my parents and others too in the early 90’s concerning marriage.

My lifestyle prior and up to the early 90’s had been likened to by my family as that of a playboy. I did not own my own property, l roamed with my career rather than was stationed in one location, l never had a serious girlfriend and was seeing several single ladies at the time and lived a very promiscuous and adventurous life – drinking, partying, raving, light drugs, swinging, working all hours and basically enjoying where l was, who l was and what l was doing. I had no plans to settle down but every year towards my thirtieth l got more pressure from my parents to do so, become an adult, buy a house, raise a family and keeping the name Matier strong and start behaving like a normal human being.

My parents both, wanted grandchildren, l say that like that because at that time they were divorced and living their own lives …. and they never stopped going on and on and bloody on about family, children, house, blah, blah and more bloody blah blahs! Long story shortened, l met someone in 1993 and we got along, albeit we got along in the sack better and l believed ……. rather foolishly, l was in love with this girl – she was 12 years my junior – so it was a bad move really, l was 30, she was just going on 19. But she and her family was looking for a man for her to marry settle down and have children, l didn’t know that until many years on by which time we realised we should never have married and that ‘rushing into marriage’ was a serious mistake..

But l married [1994] to stop the pressure from family and within a few years instantly regretted it … l never played the field, l was loyal always – l am always a loyal partner from the start to the end – l don’t stray, l believe in trying to make things work. Nice philosophy, but not always correct! But although l was under a lot of pressure to please both of my parents, l came to realise that all they had wanted was children – grandchildren and although l ‘had’ wanted children of my own … a couple of things happened.

One l was plagued with mental health issues, noise was becoming a serious problem with me … [this was my undiagnosed Asperger’s becoming more than a hidden problem] and l became very worried that perhaps l was mentally ill, and would it be wise to have children if l was not right? Say if l passed this on to them, was that right? I didn’t know what was wrong with me … but l did know, it wouldn’t be right to have children.

The second issue was l came to realise, that l didn’t really want children with this woman, my wife. She was a cruel person …. there are times when people show themselves in different lights and l saw this woman for who she was, and l came to understand that we would NEVER have children. Which is why she committed adultery so early on in our marriage [no, l didn’t know, l found out after our divorce]

We all make mistakes and each one of us must live with them for the rest of our lives and l knew that if l had children with this woman, this would not make us stronger as a couple. Years later when l was diagnosed with my Asperger’s, someone asked me if an earlier diagnosis would have helped our marriage? l had to be truthful and say “No”, it wouldn’t have made a difference with us … we were the wrong couple to begin with, because we both rushed into marriage without due care and we were too young.

At 30, l was too young to be married, l didn’t have the right mindset for settling down, l was a fiercely independent individual who led an active swinging lifestyle and had so many quirks and strange behaviours that were not right for a permanent live-in relationship. My marriage was not only wrong for me and her [wife], but it weakened both my individuality and my strength as a person. I gave in to pressure from people that had no right whatsoever to put that pressure on me and l do, like most of us have a life that has many regrets in it, and we live with them and learn from our mistakes … but by everything SANE, the biggest regret l have to date is getting married for the wrong reasons.

It wasn’t just my mistake, her family were putting on the pressure as well, otherwise, l could have quite happily have lived as we were for a few years more and then l think we would have discovered we were not right for each other and naturally dissolved.

So, my marriage in my eyes, broke my independence and my strength. I was only married once; l wasn’t fool enough to perform that disaster again. I decided after my divorce that if ‘ l ever was’ to marry again, then the person would have to be 100% right …. but l am not sure these days if there is such a thing out there – not as in person, but ‘recipe’ for ‘100% right’. Sure, l am cynical. I mean, Suzanne proposed to me last year you may recall, and l accepted and then what happened? Lockdown. 50 shades of bat shit crazy from her followed by splitting up and living apart as friends.

Now here l am, 9 months after moving away and even with all the upsets and upheavals we have experienced as friends, we are way better as friends than anything else … maybe it was our time to break up anyway. In December 2019, Suze had made mention to the 7 year itch and relationships and l had a worrying niggle at that point … ironically enough, hahaha!! But over the last few weeks and months, l have discussed many things with my blog but only a few of my close friends have l discussed my future and relationships with.

I was with Suze earlier today and we went for a small walk into the town market and she asked me then as she has before if l was enjoying living by myself? I answered honestly … Yes, l am. I couldn’t think of sharing my ‘space’ with another human being on a full-time regular basis anymore. I don’t get lonely, Suze feels the same way .. she feels despite everything that has happened in her life so far since we split, that she has more independence and strength by being single again.

l was missing canine companionship – but in some ways also, l have come to learn this week, that l might not be. So l must give that some deep and detailed thought .. I had thought of maybe getting a rabbit … l used to have a house rabbit twenty odd years ago called Brutus .. he was a big rabbit, a German lop, very friendly, l might look for that or maybe a Flemish Giant, mostly the size of a middle-sized small dog – they make great pets, highly intelligent… so who knows. A rabbit does sound good though, admittedly. I miss female company and ideally it would be nice to have a friend with benefits, but goodness the very thought of joining a dating site fills me with absolute dread … although it might be a fun feature for the blog … creating the ideal profile ha-ha! It used to take me hours just to create ten lines, must be honest and funny and yet most profiles are filled with shyte! Who knows, anyway ….

I digressed …………….. so to the question .. in your opinion …

Do Relationships Make or Break Your Independence and Strength or Just Weaken Both?

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27 thoughts on “Do Relationships make or break your Independence and Strength or just weaken both?

  1. I think it depends on the relationship. Being married for almost 36 years, I feel that I grew as a person after marriage. My husband is a kind and understanding person who encouraged me to be my own person. But ours was an arranged marriage and we grew to love each other. It’s different in western culture and people get married because they love each other. It really depends how much respect and personal space one is given after marriage or a relationship!

    1. Excellent answer Sadje, and you are quite right, culturally there are huge differences and yet as we discussed a couple of weeks ago in another question, changes are afoot in the winds.

      I also think that as we age we evolve differently as people and personality and these changes reflect differently within a marriage.

      I have always been a partner to support my partner, but that’s the compromise of relationships and only works when both people work the same way.

      I married for the wrong reasons and we were wrong for each other. She wanted to be a stay ay home mother and l didn’t want that from a wife l think , l wanted someone who was also independent and not clingy, l have no tolerance for clingy people and she was quite clingy. but she wanted a husband to keep her and l wasn’t that man, but l only found these things out long after and way too late.

      1. As you said, you both were wrong for each other. But that marriage has left scars on your personality.

        1. I think that happens with us all, but whilst we are married/in a relationship, we don’t see them, because we are living in the moment .. all marriages and relationships have the scars of compromise l think.

        2. Yes, that’s a astute observation. We either don’t see them or accept them as a part of the process.

  2. I think it depends. My husband encourages me to remain independent, because I’ve always been an independent woman, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have my back or support me, or protect me when I need him to. I will say I have discovered more of who I am after we were married, and he pushes me to be my best self. I think it’s about finding a partner who falls in love with you just as you are, passes no judgement, and realizes no one is perfect. Every person has flaws. To err is to human, as they say. 🙂 Hope you are well.

    1. Hey Madam K, l totally agree with you and as l have answered Sadje above – that l am a supportive partner, and have no patience for clingy people. The independence in a woman has always been a major turn on for me intellectually and physically – the problem with my marriage was the elephant in the room … age. She was too young and l was too eager to please my parents.

      Suze was very independent and yes it hurt deeply when we split, but l knew it was for the right reasons – we support each other now as friends as much as we did when we were a couple.

      Now, living by myself … l value my strength and my confidence and my independence and as much as l value women in my life – l will never share my space again. That’s the only difference which l think l would be obvious, there will be no future ‘knickers in bottom drawers on my watch’ 🙂

      I am as well as can be expected Madam K, how’s university life?

      1. At the end of the day, everyone has to do what is best for them. I want nothing but happiness for you, Rory. As long as you’re happy, I’m happy for you! ❤

        Glad to hear you’re well. University life is a bit stressful, but it’s the last week for the term, and I’m looking forward to the second half. 🙂

  3. My first relationship living with someone ended at least in part because my independence was being infringed upon. My second live-in relationship, we both kind of did our own thing when it came to things outside of the relationship. My parents, on the other hand, do pretty much everything together, and think that’s the way it should be in a marriage. I would never be able to tolerate that.

    1. I think that’s a valid point Ashley, l want my partners to be independent – in fact – l need them to be independent. After my marriage and with the arrival more so of the Asperger’s diagnosis over that of the mild bipolar one .. l realised how difficult l possibly was with my behaviours and quirks’ to live with so.

      I decided after my divorce that l would ensure that the next relationship along would not be 1] clingy and 2] had a very strong independent lifestyle and was not reliant upon just me as a partner but had friends and hobbies and things.

      I think, truthfully speaking that whilst l am NOT selfish l am happier living by myself and maybe being involved with someone that has a life of their own. When you said here … “it should be in a marriage. I would never be able to tolerate that.” I can understand that all too well and yet sadly, like you l can ‘t abide that and l think really .. that’s why Suze and l split – because she wanted more of this …”it should be in a marriage and l wanted a more open balance of this I would never be able to tolerate that.

        1. Yes, you are right Ashley, l learned that after my marriage ended and l swore l wouldn’t have enough relationship, and after l broke that promise and had another relationship failure l realised that l was flucking hopeless at picking the right women for relationships which is why l think l did better in casual relationships.

          Then when the relationship after my marriage went south, and l was living in the caravan, l vowed no more …………. then l met Suze and using everything l had learned l made sure that l got that relationship right.

          Suze would be the first to say that despite ‘autism’ as far as a partner went l did everything right…… BUT… the things l couldn’t change about me would never go irrelevant to how good l was as a partner, l still had flaws.

          The biggest flaw and it was never intentional is that l can survive very happily in my own space and sometimes … l forget other people exist.

          For me, l know that to be a very strong Asperger/Autistic trait … that’s the one thing l can’t change.

          What Suze was doing however, and l told her frequently she was starting to do this was suffering from CADD – Cassandra Affective Deprivation Disorder and that is why l know and knew with Suze why it was important for me to have partners that were independents.

          End result, l will never have another relationship live in and in truth, l don’t want one.

  4. I don’t do well in relationships. I begin to ignore my own needs due to wanting to please the other person. I am constantly anxious that I’ve angered them in some way and my entire mindset begins to revolve around every word they say and how they said it. And if they go silent, I freak out completely. Partly this all is due to my stellar talent of choosing bad men to be with, but I’ve never been able to overcome that. These are selfish men who know they can manipulate me, but they generally are verbally adept, which ensnares me. It’s a nightmare. Since I shook myself free of it all in 2017, I’ve been so much better off in every way. That said, I’m not down on relationships for other people. My daughters have thrived with their good husbands. I just can’t do it. Plus the fact now that I’ve been alone, I find I enjoy it. The mere idea of some man stomping into my space fills me with revulsion

    1. You and l, Paula, are very similiar in so far as our Taurean personalities, that when we realise certain things about ourselves we tend to stick to them like the bulls we are. But we delight in certain flamboyant behaviours and quirks – and one of these is our own space and then guard it when we realise we don’t want anyone ‘stomping’.

      As l said to Ashley, one of my biggest faults was picking the wrong women to be with in live in relationship. With Suze, well l wish l had met her when we were much younger … but we all those dreams at times.

      We are good friends, and that’s all that matters now.

      Now l have sampled my identity again as an elder l find living by myself is quite possibly the ONLY way l can now lead a happy life.

  5. Do Relationships Make or Break Your Independence and Strength or Just Weaken Both?

    I’m going to echo what others have said. It DEPENDS. To me personally? It depends on the individuals in the partnership (relationship) more than it does on the relationship and are the two really separable?

    For myself? It took years and years but I realize now that trying to sustain an LTR (long term relationship) of a romantic nature is a very very bad idea. I feel my independence is threatened and my autonomy more so. Hubby led me a merry dance and I did the same to him. Neither of us could ‘do’ marriage but neither was willing to say “uncle’ so to speak and walk away. Well I got there but hubby died first. I. like you, was pressured into getting married and living a ‘normal’ life. “Normal” for other people, definitely not normal for me. I’d carried on a long term ‘affair’ with a guy (I think we both knew trying to make it permanent wouldn’t work…he was a serial philanderer and I was ((and may remain)) fairly immature.)

    No for some of us marriage is wrong. A disaster waiting to happen. Others (my siblings, Sadje and Di, and many others) can make it work, but I think they work hard at it and perhaps don’t feel as threatened as I do by the thought of such things.

    All the same I probably did come away stronger.

    1. Good answers Melanie. Sadly marriage isn’t for everyone through one way or another. Independence is a strong contender, but so too is the .. or l should say WAS, the need for conventionality. You and l are not that big an age gap in terms of differences and so both of us were facing conventionality by family and parents.

      Bloody rich as far as l was concerned from my parents considering they had done their utmost to display marriage in the worst possible light to their children.

      But these days, people have more choices available to them … l mean for starters there is a hell of a lot more sexuality freedom that even there was in the 70’s and 80’s. It would be easier to be single now than thirty years ago.

      So NOT getting married now is more the norm, in fact getting married is considered by some as old fashioned.

      1. I have two relatives who are young people (under 30, but over 25) who would contradict the ‘easier to date’ idea. They’ve BOTH been subject to more ugly situations than I ever did (and I had plenty of war stories about dating in the day). Both are handsome young men too, with good personalities and one of them is well on his way to being a wealthy man. But the young women over here in Utah are described (by them) as being “so picky’. Both these young men are clean and sober fellows too (no drugs, no drunkenness), who want to follow the ‘yellow brick road’ (so to speak) of marriage. For one of them it’s because he’s religious too. You’d think that some girl would snap him up like that! But no. It’s still ‘ugly’ out there in the dating scene (which is why I shudder to even consider doing such a horrible thing) it’s just more anonymous because one can get dumped via text or email. It happens. At least my break ups were face to face… O_o So some areas still admire marriage.

        I, like you, grew up seeing the worst examples of marriage – bullying, domestic abuse, and on and on, plus mental illness playing into the thing. It’s not a wonder I didn’t and don’t admire the institution and explains in part why it doesn’t work for me.

        I think being free of worrying about all of that is GREAT!

  6. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t had a relationship except a “Friends With Benefit” since the ex left.
    The FWB worked out fine. He actually dated a few women and we stopped the benefits during those times, but remained friends. He had his life, I had mine. We texted several times a week, and I saw him a few times a month.

    I could live with another person and still do my own thing, but I would want a room that was “mine”. Not necessarily sleep apart, but a space that was my own.
    I’m pretty easy going, not clingy🤷🏼‍♀️ I’m not looking for a relationship. I don’t have time right now.
    The future… anything could happen😉

    1. Hey Angie,

      I think that would be a good set up. I had initially thought that is what Suze wanted, because she wasn’t clingy BUT she wanted more from a relationship than l could offer … l think. I say l think, because as you know, l never really got an end result on this level from Suze so l can only surmise.

      I think for me the biggest problem is the autism is a very different beast in a relationship than the Asperger’s is even just in daily life.

      Suze would say why can’t we just live side by side in houses and that way we still have our relationship but we each have our own space.

      I always encouraged Suze to do her own thing, l supported her as a friend first … l don’t have the tolerance for someone to be clingy or hanging on to certain attributes in support of being reliant upon one person.

      I think as life has evolved so too has the perception of the concept of relationships and marriage – it’s all very different today and more so during times like this when people are being cooped up together for too long a period and they don’t really know each other nor have their own personal downtime area which is very important.

      I explained this to Suze when we first got together and she said she understood it back then, but l also think she was still hanging on to conventional relationships ………. so now as we are simply friends and we are each in our own spaces, you may recall how shocked she was when l furbished Willow the way l have, because my own space is very important to me and when we split she said she wanted her own space, now it makes sense to her – showing that even her views on conventional relationships have changed.

      The long shot of it l personally think, and l have thought this way for a while now, l know l certainly thought that way when l was younger, is that people should NOT live together for too long a period at all, but take breaks to live life.

  7. I am no expert – but I often think that the way you view someone else is the way they make you feel about yourself. If the person you are in a relationship with makes you feel good about yourself – and that could be in various ways – maybe they express it verbally, or through affection maybe it is because they are happy….little things are covered over in love, bigger issues are discussed with dignity and kindness and they don’t belittle you and express anger…there are so many ways.
    Being able to love someone and feeling loved can make us thrive – I am sure of that. But sadly sometimes when we are tired or stressed, we forget that the way we speak and act can chip away at the confidence of our partner in different ways.

  8. I’ve been divorced, single, remarried, widowed, remarried, widowed, and now remarried. I don’t mind being single because I am very independent, however, I also enjoy having a soulmate. My hubby of 13 years and I have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company. Neither one of us had any children.

    I feel it boils down to finding someone that is supportive and lets their mate be themselves, within reason of course. True love, caring, common interests, transparency, and loyalty are necessary for a good relationship, IMO.

    My parents never pressured me into getting married and most likely because their marriage was not a happy one. Life’s too short to be unhappy. Have a great day, Rory!

    1. Very true Eugenia, life IS too short to be unhappy, thanks for commenting 🙂

      True love, caring, common interests, transparency, and loyalty are necessary for a good relationship, These are facts … and a quality friendship to boot 🙂

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