The Thin Line Between Independence and Dependence

If there’s one thing that confuses me or I just seem not to understand is where to draw the line between independence and dependence. So  that you can understand where I am coming from, let me give you my mini-story. I have the most amazing parents, let’s just start there. My baby sister can be the witness. We’ve never lacked what we need. We’re not rich per se, we’re wealthy but not materially. What am trying to say is we have been able to get what we need, not necessarily what we want. While I was growing up, I was under a good shelter in good neighbourhoods,  I ate delish food (save for the githeri days and how I devour it nowadays), went to very good schools, dressed well by my standards. All this was provided by both my parents in their different capabilities. I grew up seeing both my parents work and provide for the family.

independent woman, woman, finances
Miss Independent

Somehow I knew when my parents had money and when they didn’t. They didn’t have to really tell us. It wasn’t rocket science that mid-month was a tricky time to ask for something pricey. My mum was very open about her finances, my dad oh well, you know men. He wasn’t, but he made it clear when he didn’t have and when he got it if whatever it is you’re asking for made sense to him and he had the resource, he would take you to get it. Lucky me huh? I was blessed, still am. The other thing I was indirectly taught was how to budget my money, work around what I have and not live beyond my means.

My dad faithfully gave me money for lunch and transport every single day all through my undergraduate studies. He never asked me to work (unless ironing his shirts, washing his car or serving him food and coffee counts) or find means to get that money. It didn’t probably mean much then but it definitely means more than much now. This is because I know the struggle. After I got my very first job, which was not ‘oh so glorious’ but left me with the best experience, I promised myself that I will never borrow money even from my parents. I will  really work hard to provide for myself. My reasoning being that the two most important people in my life (the parents) have worked their asses off for me to get here so that I can be self-sufficient and independent. That’s just what I always strive to be. I want to be able to take care of them when they old, I want to chip in where I’m need or even sometimes not.

Did that make me who I am today? To a very large extent it did. It influenced my thought process with regards to independence. In my head, it’s make it or make it. There’s no other option. One thing I would never want on me is the inability to provide for (to the very least) myself. I wouldn’t want someone else to be responsible for me. I mean, that’s why my parents worked hard to ensure they’ve armed me with the resources that will ensure I am able to be independent. You get my drift right?

Then here comes the problem, where do you draw that line of independence and dependence when you’re in a relationship or when you’re married? I have attended some bridal showers and girl discussions that put the man in charge of certain things, actually most if not all things. He’s the sole provider, the one who handles the big bills. The woman is the one who takes care of him you know, make sure he’s cleaned up, well fed, happy and such like non-material things. I don’t disagree with this, but that’s how it used to be ages ago. Now we’re evolving. The economy is as well. Does it allow for the woman to be completely dependent on the man? I’m talking about the average man, not the president or the president of a multinational. The man who’s probably at the same level with you work-wise. You have the same fears, struggles, opportunities and so on.

Some may say if you give them that role to be the sole provider, they’ll be more hard-working and they will ensure that there’s bread on the table come rain or sunshine. That’s nice but with so many but’s on my part. What will make the man not look down on you as the woman who’s dependent on him? What if one day he finds it burdensome? What if you’re indebted to him, such that it becomes a blackmail for you to do things for him because he’s the sole provider. These things happen. We are human and we have feelings, especially when most of the pressure is exerted on you.

I’m not for that school of thought, it makes me cringe at the thought. I’m for the school of thought of sharing responsibilities. Why? Because I think it’s only fair. If the man feels like providing much more, thank God *chuckles*. I wouldn’t mind being offloaded some responsibilities. I mean, who wouldn’t? However, I stick to sharing is caring. If you split roles based on your financial ability. When you’re open with each other it’s easier because then someone won’t be overburdened with responsibilities they can’t handle. We need to have two scenarios though for those who are secretive. List down all the bills (not personal bills like the salon, new shirt, new shoes, no), bills that affect both of you (house rent/mortgage , electricity, water, savings, house shopping, school fees, TV e.t.c), then you can decide who does what or how you’ll help each other pay these or achieve these together. Then you can remain with your other money which you’ll use to your own liking. No one in the house will judge you if you decide to do some impulse buys because you’ve handled your stuff. I am probably saying this because am so used to being independent in terms of handling my own responsibilities. I don’t know how it’ll be when I have to split them up with my other half. I will write a post in future and refer to this one.

I hate asking for things especially things money related. I don’t like being told NO, and chances are that if its money related there will be a long explanation probably leading to a NO. That being one of the reason I believe in maintaining my independence. At least I don’t have to ask someone, just consult if what I am investing in is worth while. What about if he offers to provide? I am all for it, I won’t refuse of course. Now I can say that. Before (1 or so years ago) I used to feel weird when someone who’s not my parents buys me something (gifts). I used to think it’s because they want something back or something will be expected back in future. You know how parents can drill that into you so that you don’t rely on other people. To some extent that was true.

As you grow, you have to know how to differentiate those people that give because they expect something in return and those who give just because they love to do so and don’t expect anything in return.

You don’t want to be indebted or owe someone something because you were dependent on them at one point or another. It’s also good to know the kind of person you’re with. Is it someone who willingly shares responsibility with you or is it something you’re forcing on to them. I believe if it’s voluntarily, you won’t feel burdened but if it’s not you’ll need some jail breaking. Also, I think the independence is viewed more material than it is immaterial. We forget we also need independence in our thoughts, skills, abilities and so on. The big conclusion is that while we’re independent we still want our men to be there for us by all means. For the love, support, encouragement, company, protection among very other many things. Don’t you?

independent, dependent, men, women
LOL

NeYo also had something to say about the independent woman. What are your views on this? Miss Independent or Miss Dependent, what’s your take?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6M5C-oKw9k]

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

  • I had a similar conversation recently. It makes no sense to say that men and women are now equal and still apply the ‘chako chetu, changu changu’ principle. well put

    • I know right. It’s either one or the other. Thanks for passing by.

  • Shiro

    Felt like I was reading my own thoughts.

    • Great minds huh 🙂

  • This was almost like reading my own thoughts. I still haven’t figured out where the line really is. I know where mine is, but what if it is so far away from the other person’s line?