Welcome to our fifth “Your Relationship Questions Answered” column. Our relationship experts, Hava Rahimian and Tara West, answer this week’s question about maintaining your space and independence while in a relationship. Such a great question! You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandra Casagrand, Founder, Publisher.
Dear Hava and Tara,
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about 6 months and things are going really well. We are discussing our future together and have also discussed the option of marriage. I’m a very independent woman and I like my freedom. All of our arguments stem from him not wanting me to spend time with my guy friends. He is coming off as controlling and possessive which is a major red flag but I also don’t want to throw away a great relationship if there’s some way to make this work. Please help!
Dear Ms. Independence,
There are a couple issues here that need addressing, so let’s go one step at a time:
1– Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship, recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other’s physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways while at the same time honoring and meeting their own needs. This is where you will find a healthy relationship. This process takes time and patience and a lot of communication between you and your partner. Remember that you must communicate your own wants and needs with your partner and he needs to do the same with you in order for you to find that space where both of your needs are met. If not, resentment and anger will rise and will impede your desire to want to move forward in the relationship. Being in a committed relationship does requires being aware of the fact that it’s not just about “you” anymore. Finding that space where you can both meet each others needs while honoring own is the goal.
2– Controlling and possessive behaviors can be very triggering and damaging to any relationship. Before you label him as such, ask yourself if there are other behaviors that he’s exhibiting which make you feel controlled or not able to be yourself in the relationship. Perhaps you are misreading his need for certain boundaries in the relationship (you not spending time with male friends) as controlling rather than him communicating something to you that is making him feel uneasy or uncomfortable. The most effective and healthy way to figure out where you and him stand on this issue is to communicate your concerns and get curious about your own reactions to his boundaries. I’m sure you will discover some insight that will help you find your way.
Best of luck,
Hava and Tara
About Tara and Hava Our relationship experts, Hava Rahimian and Tara West, are two friends that met in college and both embarked on careers as licensed counselors (LMFT& LMHC) . They’ve maintained their friendship through the years even as their lives took them to different sides of the country and ultimately different career paths. Tara made a life change a few years ago and took the leap to becoming a fashion styling, shopping and content creator.