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Being a Co-Dependent Man or Woman is Cool, Right?

In this world of defining our differences and making sure there are labels for those differences, let's reflect on terms that have been given negative vibes over the years: Independence and Dependence. Growing up in the mid-90s, it was all about being an independent woman who is strong about her business and won't take mess from anyone. I'm proud to have grown up during this time. What Black woman didn't want to be Clair Huxtable? Strong, assertive, loving, talented, beautiful, caring, independent, and had a comeback that didn't quit. I can still see the episode when she explained to Lisa Bonet's character, Denise, that she "could take whatever money she had in her bank account and discover America" after Denise call herself raising her voice. Shoot, with a daughter now, I can relate.

However, somewhere in there, I think women and men have lost the meaning of independence and dependence. As if you have to always be independent because dependence is a sign of weakness. I've learned at this age that being independent is cool until it's not. In my 30s, I've learned that my bolstering of independence was a mask to avoid saying I'm single and can do for myself but don't want to do that sh--. I recently told someone that if my husband said I don't have to work anymore, I would walk in the next day, give one day's notice of quitting, and focus my energies on the house and kids. When I told my husband, he told me that he would too if I said that, but he don't ever have to worry about me saying that to him. Nope--

It's not because I am saying a woman should be dependent, but I have a partner who trusts me to take care of the day-to-day while he works. Previously, I would've said no, I don't want anyone taking care of me. But guess what ya'll, I'm tired as heck, and I will tell anyone in a minute, yup, I sure am dependent, and there is nothing wrong with that because I have that partner, and we are a team.

What I loved about Clair is that she was independent but dependent on Cliff for various things. She depended on him to provide the love, care, partnership, and more that comes with any relationship. I never saw then that dependence they had on one another. I never paid attention like with my parents. They, to this day, love, respect, and depend on one another for mental, emotional, and physical support. At their age, that shit is extremely important. As a younger me, I thought being dependent made me weak. I found that dependence only makes me weak if I make the wrong choice in a partner. Also, my independence sometimes drove my partner away because I wouldn't let anyone do for me and my attitude was terrible because I misunderstood.

As I'm approaching 8-years of marriage with the most boring individual I know, I am dependent, and that's okay because I know he is dependent on me also, and I don't need anything else. My partner is my best friend, confidant, pain in my behind, cheerleader, and homebody. At this age, boring is great and a compliment. I'm just as boring, and I depend on that. I don't want to be strong all the time. When I don't, he steps in, and I step up when he's tired or doesn't want to be strong. In any work environment, we are dependent on someone doing their job so we may do ours. At the end of the week, I am done. There are days I don't feel like doing sh--, especially with these damn kids, but he is there to pick up the slack, cook, clean, or whatever, and vice versa. He makes considerably more than I do and works long hours. I know he values what I contribute, but you let him tell me to quit my job. Trust that I will walk into work and say F--- each and every one of you, go home, and cook a 5-course meal everyday!

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