Dating/relationships & Independence: Women Over 40 Keeping Life In Balance
How do you find the balance between your own independent life and being in a relationship? For some women this is about facing your worst fear that you will somehow lose yourself along the way. You can find out how to make sure that you don’t give up on yourself whilst being in a relationship. Five surefire ways of keeping you independent and happy whilst dating and finding a relationship that is the right balance for you.
Women wanting a relationship
At least 50% of the women over 40 whom I coach say at some point, rather defensively, “I want to do this coaching work with you but I don’t really know whether I want to be in a relationship”. They are defensive because they think that everyone is expected to want to be with a partner. That is how the world appears, especially when we are single. Interestingly this is not the whole of the story. When I dig a little deeper what usually comes up is that for many women their worst fear is that they don’t want to lose their independence. You have all worked hard to gain your independent place, especially those in their 40s, 50s & 60s. This of course is not only in relationships but also in the world of work. For many women when they have got used to being single they are, on many levels, very happy with their lives. “I like being able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, without having to ask anyone else’s permission.” said Emily a divorced women in her 50s. “I spent so many years being at the beck and call not only of my husband but also my children, they are grown up and it is now time for me”. We can all sympathise with her.
Women want independence & relationships
In fact, many women come to me to find out is whether they can find the kind of relationship that they want whilst still retaining their independence. Like everything in life it is about balance. Relationship coaching does not mean that we don’t look at the whole picture of your life. No relationship will work if you are not in balance with yourself. Now you may have got very used to ‘doing your own thing’ but there remains a niggling doubt. That little voice is saying “Why can’t I have all this and have a relationship too”. Well the answer is that it is possible and I help women achieve that. It is especially important that you first become clear about what you want to retain about your independence and what you are looking for in a relationship.
What must be in place for a relationship to work?
What you must become clear about is what elements of your independent life you want to retain. Think about what are the ‘must haves’. These may be things like time, certain kinds of space and a certain amount of time to spend with friends and family. You get the idea. Once you are completely clear what these are you start to have a blueprint for the life you want to have with someone else. Equally make a list of what it is that you want from the relationship. Remember these days there are all kinds of relationship arrangements – they are not all live-in married partnerships.
How to keep your relationship boundaries intact
What is most important is that you are conscious about your boundaries in a relationship. Getting the balance right can be difficult, but if you have articulated for yourself your own ‘must haves’ you will be in a much stronger place. This might sound very contrived but think about it. When you go out to buy some new piece of kitchen equipment you will have spent some time thinking about what functions you want it to have. There are100s of different kinds of washing machine out there but if you have your ‘must haves’ clearly listed then it is going to make the process much easier. I know this sounds like finding a relationship is like going shopping. Well it is in a way, and don’t we all love shopping? Remember this is about you being The Chooser, that is one of the ways that you retain your independence and don’t get swept away in the moment.
1. Make your ‘must haves’ list for your independent life
2. Make a list of your requirements in a partner
3. Remain The Chooser when dating and finding a relationship
4. Stick to your lists – share them with a friend and get them to remind you if you start to slip
5. Learn to say ‘no’ early in the relationship if things don’t fit – they won’t change just because you hope they will!