Friday, September 04, 2009


One of my favorite episodes of Sex and the City was on the other night. Carrie's computer crashes and she loses pretty much everything. Her kind of amazing boyfriend Aidan (who I never actually thought she deserved but that is a completely different post) tries to help and buys her a new computer, complete with zip drive (remember those?) for backing everything up.

Instead of being pleased, Carrie gets mad at him and tells him she doesn't need his help and she already gave him keys to her apartment and seriously guy, what more do you want from me??? The scene ends with him storming out after leaving her keys on the table under the receipt for the computer.

She ends up calling him later and telling him that she's just used to taking care of things herself and what if she gets too used to his help and then he goes away. And that's the part where I start crying every time I watch this one because I can hear myself having that very conversation with some poor boy.

So I'm curious, lots of you are married after being single for a long time. How do you let someone else help/fix/solve things without feeling like you are losing your independence?


SeƱora H-B said...

I don't know. This has been one of the main sources of contention this year. I swing wildly from loving having someone who can help me do things to buying a stepladder so I don't have to ask him to get things off the top of the cabinets in the kitchen. The wild moodswings have decreased dramatically in the last couple of months, but I still have fiercely independent moments. Like this morning when I said I could put my own damn oil in the car because I had done it for so many years.

I have a very difficult time asking him to help me because I don't want to rely on him too much. I know part of it is that we both need to have some independence. But I also know some of it is that deep-rooted fear that I might rely on him too much and that he could either leave me stranded or use my dependence against me.

Bottom line? I don't know.

JerzyGrl said...

I've been married for almost two years now after being an independent single girl. But, I guess I have a different perspective. I don't think of it as losing my independence, I think of it as specialization. He is better than me at some stuff, and I'm better than him. It just makes life a bit easier to divide and conquer, rather than trying to prove my independence all of the time. I've never been the damsel in distress type, but nowadays I definitely don't mind someone who makes my life easier!

nellziebub said...

I'll be honest, I love and appreciate the help. There's nothing like having an extra hand. I know I can do some things by myself, but for other things, I need my husband. And truth be told, he is better at some items. Like the dishes for instance. He gets them done faster and doesn't stress over leftover specks. I'm more of a perfectionist, but he can overlook things that aren't that important. I guess it's all a matter of balance, trust and compromise.

Sarah said...

I don't mind having someone to do things for me, even things I used to handle independently, as long as they are done RIGHT.

The only time I find myself having an issue is when he takes on a task and then does it WRONG, or LATE or HALFWAY.

Even then, overall it's never been a blow to my ego or feeling of independence to have some help, but that may be because I continue to work full time and be the one primarily responsible for a great many things around here.

miche said...

Hey Katie,
I don't know much about being single for a long time, but I do know lots about being fiercely independent WHILE being married and refusing to let my husband help me do things and having him always mad at me that I wouldn't wait or ask for him to help me. After 12 years of marriage, I've learned that having someone trustworthy to help you is not so bad. In fact, I welcome the help. Well, maybe I did hit a jar with a knife handle today to open it when David wasn't home. He still gets mad when he sees dents on the jars and knows I just did it by myself! But, trust me, guys need way more help with other things and I do so much for David that I figure it's an even draw anyway.

Skinner Family said...

I've been married 11 years and really, it still is hard. I know my 4 years of living on my own from high school to married life doesn't compare to probably what you are asking but even yesterday, I realized that my husband is my best friend. I have great girlfriends but really, they don't know how I truly feel about a lot of things.

I really do take charge of so many things in my life and my marriage. But marriage is a partnership and I think people forget that. It is just my personality.

At times, I just need to realize that I need to be cared for too. Thankfully, I have my husband to do that. He sure doesn't understand why I take some things so personal and end up crying but we talk it out and he helps me look at the bigger pictures. (Because sometimes, my problems have nothing to do with him!)

Senja said...

As you know I was 32 when I got married and to be honest, I like to be taken care of. But, I also like to take care of Mikael. I guess what it comes down to is that most of the time your spouse and you complement one another. We both have certain ways in which we are better and I feel, that's where we help each other out.

But the part I still struggle with after having been married for 2 years is the way I spend my spare time. When it comes to that I had been very independent before and to not being able to just do what I want is still tough. Now I have to take care of Mikael's feelings and his wants. I love spending time with him though, but still crave my own time and being able to do what I want to.

I guess there are other things that will bother you. Like the fact that you have done things a certain way, you have spent your money your way, etc. and you just can't really do that anymore once you are married. You compromise and find ways that work for both of you. You will decide and share these things with someone else and not do it your way all the time.

That's why they say that the first year is the toughest :)

And at the same time you will learn about and do things that your husband likes and vice versa. Like the fact that Mikael runs and I am running now as well. Or that he is getting more into computers because I am :)

It's exciting! :)

Kelly said...

So I was 31 when we got married and had basically been on my own since I was 17. Frankly, sometimes it is amazingly nice to know that my husband is really good at arranging things and sometimes I can just sit back and relax. I have always had to be the hyper-organized detailed one who makes sure everything falls into place, so being able to let that go honestly feels really good.

Like Senja said, I have ways of taking care of Jason, and it's nice to do little things for him that he appreciates. Mostly I do the cooking because I love to cook, but he is always very complimentary and lets me know he appreciates it a lot.

The hardest thing for me is knowing that there's someone else to take into consideration when it comes to making big decisions. Or even moderate decisions - like buying new sheets for the guest room. It doesn't help that Jason is super frugal so if he thinks I spent too much on something I never hear the end of it. But, for instance, we were in Vermont this weekend and I found myself dreaming of moving up there and having a little house and writing, but then I remembered, oh yeah, I have a husband...What would he do?

I think the hard time will come if/when I quit working or cut back my hours and we're more dependent on his paycheck. I definitely foresee hard times when that happens just because I am used to having my own money and being so independent in that regard. I don't like the idea of having to depend on someone for my own upkeep. We still haven't combined our checking accounts because while we have 2 incomes we just don't see the point. We have joint savings and take care of household expenses together, but we have our separate bills that we pay out of our own accounts.

Anyway, I guess my answer is, some of the independence has been remarkably easy to let go of, while some of it is going to be more difficult.

Katie said...

This was HARD. And took a lot of time. But I was sitting in a RS conference one day and the speaker told a story about how her husband after 15 years of marriage told her how hurt he had been because he never felt like she needed him for anything.

It broke my heart.

And some breaking is probably what my proud little heart required.

Letting go of taking care of everything is LIBERATING. Having someone you can trust to get some things done is probably one of the most amazing feeling this overly independant girl has had!

Marissa Marie said...

I got married a little later (29) and have been independent and self sufficient, but I'm gonna go against the grain here and say that the adjustment to married life may be more difficult in theory than reality. Like some of the others, I love taking care of my husband, and I love being taken care of. He's probably more particular about some details than I am, so I have just let those become his doing the laundry. I guess I don't feel like I'm becoming infantile, because while he serves me, I'm also taking care of more people than I used to, (him and me). So in some way it evens out. I guess for me, having gone a period of time where I had to do it all on my own, I appreciate not having to that much more.

Suzanne said...

I'm not married yet, but I find myself taking the reigns back sometimes and reinforcing my own strengths and abilities. I feel like if he does too much for me or takes over a job completely, I'll forget how. I feel the same way about raising kids...give them an opportunity to do things themselves, so they become capable adults. It's WONDERFUL to have someone to do things for you, but it's also wonderful to feel smart and capable all on your own.

I reminded myself the other day how much power you really have to shape your relationship. If you encourage or focus on bad behavior (in yourself or others), you will get bad behavior. If you encourage the strengths in yourself or those you love and cultivate joy around those things, the strengths will broaden and deepen.

jane said...

that is a great s&tc episode. i agree on the aiden thing too.