Losing someone you love is painful, but the most painful thing to endure in life, is when you lose yourself while in the process of loving someone.
There’s something very euphoric about the start of a new relationship, something almost magical. You know what I’m talking about. The butterflies in your stomach, feeling your eyes shine as you gaze into your partner’s eyes, the endless hours of talking, that magical first kiss. These feelings are ones that you would like to last forever. It becomes easy to want to cocoon yourself in a world made for just the two of you.
Somewhere along the line, everything starts to revolve around your partner and without realizing it you’re always trying to find ways to make your partner happy.
Stop. Pause. Take a step back.
It is very easy to lose yourself while loving someone else. You don’t realize it happening because it happens gradually starting off with small sacrifices and compromises. How many friends have you heard say after a break up that they no longer recognized themselves? That usually is the case. You don’t realize that you lost sight of who you are, of who your partner fell in love with, until after the relationship ends.
Having discussed this topic with several friends who at some point in their lives have lost themselves in a relationship, I find that these tips help you avoid losing yourself:
1. Spend time with friends/family: While you may feel like spending all your free time with your new found love, make a point to spend time with your friends without your partner. Your friends may like your partner and nothing beats your friends getting along with your beau, but remember your friends interact with you differently when your partner tags along, and it’s less intimate for them. Your friends were there before your Mr. or Miss. Wonderful appeared into your life. Also, your friends may red flag you when they see warning signs that you’re too blind to see. Do not flake last minute just so you could spend time with your significant other.
2. It’s alright to have different hobbies or interests: You don’t have to stop watching Star Wars just because your partner doesn’t enjoy doing so. Your hobbies are what make you unique, gives you confidence, makes you happy, and makes you attractive. Enjoying separate hobbies also provides you with something to talk about. So if you enjoy hiking, and he enjoys tennis, keep doing it. Identify the hobbies or interests that you do not share and continue enjoying them with your friends or on your own.
3. Do not undermine or compromise your own emotions: Many people tend to not speak out when they have desires or when they are hurt. I’ve found that usually their reasons are either that they want to do the impossible to make their partner happy, or they are so worried they would lose him or her. A healthy and functional relationship should make room for both your needs and desires.
4. Disconnect: Just to be clear, when you are enjoying time out with your friends, or getting some me time, or doing your separate hobbies, you should electronically disconnect. Being out with friends while continuously chatting with your significant other is not really spending time apart.
5. Do not change any of your traits because they asked you to: I’ve heard countless of friends say things similar to “When we’re out with friends he doesn’t like it when I share my opinion especially if he disagrees with it”” or “she doesn’t like dogs and doesn’t want me to help out at the animal shelter anymore” or anything similar.
6. Do not shrink yourself: Women, this one is especially for you. Do not refuse a promotion or a raise so you would not hurt your partner’s self esteem. Your partner should be able to accept that you make more money than him.
7. Know yourself and love yourself: As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it is crucial to love who you are when you are with your significant other. Be with someone who supports you to self-develop. Before jumping into any relationship be sure that you know who you are and that you love yourself. If you have not succeeded in these points, you are fragile and will easily lose yourself further in a relationship.
Be with someone who helps you become a better version of yourself rather than an amended version of you.