How To Be More Independent In a Relationship: Here Are 14 Ways

If you’ve ever wondered how to be more independent in a relationship, this article is for you.

A relationship is formed by two people who share the same interests, passions, and feelings for each other and who form a bond that is stronger than the sum of its parts. Dedication to each other is one of the markers of a good partnership.

Whether you have just started dating or have been married for 30 years, it is very important for people in relationships to maintain their independence. Maintaining independence can be simple and can strengthen your relationship if you make time for each other, communicate your limitations, and have a good relationship with your partner.

How To Be More Independent In a Relationship:

1. Pursue interests and hobbies unrelated to your relationship.

Allowing yourself to be in a relationship should not prevent you from doing the things you want to do. Maintain your independence and self-esteem by having hobbies and interests that you do not share with your partner.

Use this time to discover something you enjoy doing that your partner may not like. This way, you can assert your independence while indulging in a passion that doesn’t require sacrifice from your partner.

In addition to being a source of freedom, hobbies can have a significant impact on your well-being. For example, painting, writing, and hiking have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve creative thinking, and increase feelings of accomplishment in research. Keep this in mind when explaining to your partner why having individual interests is beneficial!

2. Make your own personal space.

If you live with your partner, having a separate area of the house is essential to maintaining your independence. Designate a place in your home where you can be alone and the other person will not bother you.

By expressing your desire for privacy and explaining the circumstances to your partner, you can get assurances that he or she will not bother you. Don’t just lock yourself in a room without telling the other person!

If you treat a portion of the shared apartment as your own, be sure to fill it with only your own belongings, whether it’s a room or a fraction of it.

Your autonomous space can also be a public place where you can spend time alone (such as a coffee shop or public park). Only in the context of your relationship, not necessarily in relation to the rest of the world, does your space need to be private.

Encourage your partner to have their own personal space.

3. Spend as much time as possible with your immediate family and close friends.

When you are in a relationship, it is easy to stop seeing other friends and become dependent on your partner for socializing. Maintain your freedom by regularly finding time to get together with friends and family.

How often you get together with friends and family ultimately depends on your own social needs. It can be as little as once a week or once a month to have a healthy social life outside of your relationship.

When your relationship is going through a difficult time, friends and family will be there to give you encouragement and keep your spirits up. Remember that people love you for who you are.

Spend time with both your own friends and your partner’s friends to maintain your sense of self.

4. If you must, take a break from the relationship.

Whether you are in a relationship or not, you need to make sure your personal needs are met. When you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to step away from the relationship to focus on yourself and your needs.

This is more of a mental vacation, so it can last as long as you need it to. One day (or even less!) to yourself can sometimes be all you need to get back to normal.

Spending time alone can boost your self-esteem and help you develop a strong sense of independence. Longer absences have the unintended consequence of making your partner’s company more appealing!

Be sure to talk to your partner before going on a solo mini-vacation. Surprisingly, maintaining your independence should be something the other person will encourage you to do.

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5. Be open and honest with your partner in your spare time.

Separating yourself from the other person to maintain your independence does not mean you should leave home and meet other people. When taking time off, don’t violate your partner’s trust (1) and keep your commitments to the relationship.

If you need some space because you feel overwhelmed and want to demonstrate your independence, romance may seem like a tempting way to do so. However, romance can be heartbreaking for couples living in a relationship to find out, and if you violate your partner’s trust in this way, your relationship may never recover.

Taking a break from the relationship also requires reassuring your partner of your honesty. Remember that open communication is key.

6. Make a list of your own goals.

Being independent means having a sense of self that is not shaped by a relationship or its influence on us. Don’t let yourself lose sight of what kind of person you want to be; you shouldn’t put the ambitions of the relationship ahead of your own.

Talking to friends and family is a great way to periodically check in with yourself to see if you are still the person you want to be.

If you ever find that you are not happy with who you are, it may be a sign that something (perhaps even a relationship) needs to change.

7. Establish healthy relationship boundaries.

Boundaries recognize each person’s freedom and provide satisfaction in all good partnerships. Talk with your spouse about setting boundaries that allow you to maintain your independence while still meeting the demands of the relationship.

For example, if there are things you don’t want to do for your spouse (such as lying to him or her), tell him or her.

When setting boundaries (2), be honest but also explain why you are doing it; make sure your partner understands that the boundaries you set have nothing to do with your emotions toward him or her as a person.

When setting your boundaries, avoid using absolute language or threats. This is irrational and may cause irritation with the other person.

8. Be honest about your quest to be independent.

You will need to keep the other person informed about what you are doing to protect your independence. When explaining why you want to be independent, remind your partner that you are still committed to the relationship.

Try to phrase your comments in a way that effectively communicates your concerns while still being sensitive to your partner’s emotions. Consider how you would react if you were in the other person’s shoes and heard such words from them. Your partner may feel offended if you express a desire to spend less time with them and blame it on them.

Remember that any good relationship requires open and honest communication about all difficulties.

9. Stand up for what you believe in.

In a relationship, you should be willing to compromise and make concessions, but you should always have your own priorities. On issues that are important to you, be firm and don’t let your partner convince you otherwise.

This does not mean that you should never compromise. Determine which principles or beliefs are non-negotiable for you, and be willing to make reasonable concessions on other issues.

Don’t change your personality to please someone else. Find time for them as well as for other friends.

For example, if it’s very important to you to share responsibilities fairly, make that clear in a firm but polite way. To the extent possible, allow your spouse to accommodate your needs, but don’t allow him or her to persuade you on issues that are important to you.

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10. Support your partner’s freedom and growth.

A good relationship requires a balance in which each person invests in the relationship as well as in themselves. Encourage the other person to explore their independence and maintain their sense of self while you develop yours.

Say, for example, that there’s nothing wrong with spending time with friends and family, going to movies or concerts without you, or pursuing hobbies he or she doesn’t share with you.

It is important to set expectations for independence in your relationship as soon as possible. If you are struggling with the dependencies that have already become entrenched in the relationship, it will be much harder to work on independence for both of you.

11. Don’t count on your partner to share all your passions. 

People sometimes lament that their partners do not share their interests. On the other hand, a good relationship should bring two separate people together. Limit your expectations and remember that you don’t need your partner’s approval to pursue your passions.

While similar interests and hobbies are common in relationships, it is unrealistic to expect the other person to share all your interests and passions. Keeping this in mind will help you understand that pursuing your own interests is okay.

12. Take care of your mental health.

Never let a relationship make you start questioning yourself, your worth, or the validity of your ambitions and dreams. Remember to regularly check in with how you feel about yourself and your life, and don’t put a relationship ahead of your mental and emotional health.

A typical problem that many people in relationships face is losing sight of their own aspirations and self-esteem. It is important to remember that being in a relationship does not mean giving up your independence.

13. Seek help if you need it.

When you are in a relationship, it is natural to become emotionally dependent on the other person. On the other hand, being independent requires the ability to seek help elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to seek help and support when you need it.

During difficult times, friends and family who have been in relationships or whom you trust to be sensitive to your problems are an especially valuable source of emotional support.

Remember that independence in a relationship does not mean you are on your own!

14. Determine if you are in a codependent relationship.

Codependent relationships are bad for many reasons and hinder your efforts to achieve independence and progress. Pay attention to the warning signs that your relationship is deteriorating.

Any type of violence-physical, verbal, or emotional-can occur in a violent relationship. Violence occurs when the other person bullies or blackmails you emotionally.

In a healthy partnership, appropriate boundaries are crucial. You may be in a codependent relationship if you feel you have lost all your boundaries and have no independent personal life.

If you are in an abusive relationship, seek help. Consider moving temporarily with family or friends.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to be more independent in a relationship. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here