A new relationship is exciting and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your little bubble of love you and your partner have created. Whilst this is lovely and the feeling of contentment washes over you over time some people struggle with losing their sense of self. Most of the time, it’s innocent and we don’t even realise that it’s happening to us. So, what does losing yourself look like?
You probably aren’t changing into an entirely different person (although this can happen), losing yourself is more subtle than that. It’s the small things that were once so important to you that you couldn’t live without, like doing the pub quiz with your best friends, that you no longer care about doing. Or you suddenly put your personal or career goals aside in favour of your other half’s. Those small details are what make up your identity, which set you apart from others and which made your partner fall for you in the first place.
If you’ve noticed these things creeping into your relationship, then you have a few things you need to figure out. Boundaries and balance are vital in a healthy relationship. A true partnership is the sum of two halves, having your own identity and life outside your relationship will ultimately make you more attractive and a happier human being.
Learning to say no when your partner dominates every decision or demands your complete attention and devotion, will prevent you from losing yourself. By taking a respectful stand against a decision your partner has made or simply saying no to doing something you don’t want to do sets healthy boundaries.
So how do you not lose yourself in a relationship?
See loved ones regularly on your own
Immersing your partner into your social circle and introducing them to the important people in your life is an exciting time, but make sure that you’re still having time on your own with them too. These people are important in keeping you in touch with yourself.
Stop replacing ‘I’ with ‘We’
Whilst becoming a ‘we’ in a new relationship seems tempting for every scenario, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy relationship terrain by doing so. You need to remind yourself you are your own person, so stop saying ‘we’ when you really mean I.
Don’t compromise on the things that make you
It’s okay to compromise on what you’re having for dinner tonight, or what film you’re going to watch on date night. But don’t compromise on the things that make you, well, you. These could be career development opportunities, going to see family/friends, time you spend at gym or yoga, the list is endless.
Maintain your interests
Remember it was your individuality that bagged you your partner in the first place, so maintain those interests you’re passionate about. It’s not just about what you do, it’s who you do it with which is also important. If you and your friends have a monthly quiz session down your local pub, don’t replace them and go with your partner instead. Remember that you both should be supportive of the things which are important to each other prior to even knowing each other. Make sure you continue having ‘me’ time, as it is those things that make you a more interesting and rounded person.
Learn to embrace healthy conflict
Get better at having healthy disagreements. It doesn’t mean you have to be harsh or mean about it, or intentionally start arguments or disagree for the fun of it. But if you have a differing view, then it’s important to speak up about it. Not only will this help build the relationship it also teaches you how to not people-please and develop the courage to stand up and respectfully voice your opinion. There should never be issues about what is said in the relationship, it’s only the way things are said. So, be careful with your tone and make sure you also take the time to listen to your partner.
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