Independence is a positive value, but too much independence can pose a challenge when it comes to developing a relationship.

Here are 4 ways to maintain your independence while building a healthy relationship:

1. Continue to be you – be an individual.

You want to find someone, a life partner, who loves you for who you are – the character traits, quirks and personality that only you possess. By presenting yourself as an independent, unique soul, you will attract a partner who matches the authentic you, not who you pretend to be. Minimizing your identity and attempting to be just like everyone else is a disservice to you and your dates. The right person will love the real you.

2. Do not become codependent relying on one person for all of your needs.

It is important to continue your other relationships when you are dating. That means spending time with family and friends separately from the person you are dating. It is okay and emotionally healthy to have friendships outside of your relationship, appropriately spending time with others. You do not have to be attached at the hip 24/7. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder!

3. Enjoy your independent interests.

There is always some benefit in maintaining your individual hobbies and interests. Being in a relationship does not mean you need to have everything in common with the one you are dating. If he likes sports and you cannot stand them, maybe have a girl’s night with your friends or attend book club on the nights when he wants to watch a big game. Should you try to join and see if it is something you might enjoy together? Sure! But do not force it, if it is not your thing.

4. Choose connection and be someone they can depend on.

Independence may be a positive character trait in many ways, but when it comes to relationships, it is important to remember that commitment involves having someone that you can depend on. There are always times in a relationship when one person relies on the other person, for emotional support, financial help, companionship, etc. This is a positive and helps the relationship grow and develop.

Marriage is about commitment, depending on someone and being there for them. We want to find someone to connect with and become one with. We do not want to be completely independent for the rest of our lives. The healthiest relationships are those that involve two independent people coming together from a healthy place emotionally and choosing to depend on one another.

May you find the right one who you can depend on, while still enjoying your independence.