In Kool Kanya’s theme of the month ﹘ Feminist In Progress ﹘ we decode the nitty-gritties of practising feminism laden with imperfections.
Dear Kool Kanya,
I’ve been single for as long as I can remember, but recent events have made me feel the need for a partner – someone to care for me. From financially supporting my family to doing well at work, I feel like a fraud for being so independent in all the areas of my life except this one.
I can’t share this with my friends and colleagues because I’m afraid they’ll judge me for being dependent on someone. But there are times when I feel the need for someone to support me when times are tough. I want to know what it would be like to have unconditional support, unlike any other friendship or relationship I’ve had before. Am I not as independent as I think I am if I desire support and care?
A Sometimes Independent Woman
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Dear Sometimes Independent Woman,
To start with, your title should be ‘an independent woman looking for love.’ Aren’t we all?
Independence doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and neither does love. You may be financially independent and thrive at work, and still want someone to care for you. It’s awe-inspiring that you’re thriving at work and helping your family pay the bills. You have one aspect of your life covered, and that’s amazing. There are some that spend decades figuring out even that one aspect.
Own it! Once you do, you’ll be more confident, and that confidence will make you question why you ever doubted yourself in the first place.
The reason why you’re feeling conflicted
Maybe the reason you’re afraid to talk to your friends candidly is because society has truly demonised women wanting and needing love and labelled them ‘desperate’. Many women sometimes feel the same way; they think it’s ‘unlike them’ to admit it openly, but also sometimes feel lonely when they see people in happy, fulfilling romantic relationships. And it’s okay to feel that way…
More often than not, patriarchy teaches women to give up on their careers to tie the knot, and that’s probably the reason why your friends or colleagues may have the mindset you’re talking about. But your expectations are not futile, as they’re not born out of societal expectations or generational practices. They’re your own.
You’ve just got to get up, dust yourself off, and remember who you are and what you deserve.
Embrace your needs
We’re all bound to feel the need for a partner who would take care of us, respect our family, and have a purpose in life. And this feeling of being dependent on your partner will not make you less of a feminist. If you are going to be in a long-term and serious relationship with someone who reciprocates your feelings, it is normal and healthy to ‘need’ that person. Emotional interdependence is worth it if you are with the right partner.
There’s so much more to life than your career.
It’s equally important to build friendships, hobbies, and bonds with your loved ones. And you looking for love is a bond you’re looking to build.
Wanting someone to care for you doesn’t make you less independent, and definitely not any less of a woman! Be proud of the areas where you no longer need a partner. Balancing both a career and looking after a fully-grown significant other and catering to their every need can be extremely tiring. It’s understandable why you may have focused on one over the other.
Confidence is the best accessory a woman can wear, so make sure it’s out there for the world to see!
Put yourself out there
A chance at romantic love is easily accessible these days. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Get on a dating app and swipe away! Explore singledom. Also start talking to your friends about your love life more regularly than you do, because you want to sensitise them to this side of you. They’re your friends; I’m sure they won’t suddenly start thinking ill of you if you express your desire for a relationship.
Either/or is an idea constructed for women by the patriarchy, to make them feel guilty for ‘wanting it all’. We hope you never have to compromise on your own identity to please your partner or be fully dependent on him for everything unless that’s what you want. You deserve it all and more. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
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