What this kind of loving requires is two autonomous persons. The fully autonomous woman is a being who so far exists more in aspiration, as someone to strive to be, than in actuality. When I use the term in this book, I therefore mean any woman who is striving to explore and determine her own identity according to her own reality, instead of according to "her man" or society's notion of a "real" woman. She is a person who is seeking a viable relationship with her self and a direct relationship to life.
The autonomous woman is quite visible today, truly a sign of the times. What of the autonomous man? He does not exist in great numbers, being generally focused on "measuring up" as a "real" man instead of on gauging his worth by his own standards and reality. "Measuring up" promises a man self-sufficiency but instead robs him of his self and leaves him with what two male experts on stress rightly call a chronic sense of personal inadequacy. For men who want to leave this con game in order to seek authentic selfhood, the autonomous woman is a valuable ally and mate, because she will not undermine such a shift in consciousness.
Bonnie Kreps from Loving Without Losing Your Self Introduction: Thinking about Love