You want a healthy relationship, but you also know the importance of remaining an individual. You fall in love, experience the honeymoon phase, and then the reality of the long-term relationship begins. It can be easy to lose your individuality and sense of self especially as the years pass.
Regardless if you are single and dating or have been in a relationship for years, you are responsible for remaining in touch with yourself. You want to avoid codependent behavior that can begin when you lose yourself in a relationship. Here is my advice on how not to lose yourself regardless of your relationship status.
Schedule alone time
I’m glad you enjoy your partner and the time you spend together. I know you are busy and your time is limited. However, it’s just as vital for you to have time alone.
Think about your life before you met your partner. What did you use to enjoy when you were alone?
For example, I love spending time alone. I feel zero guilt about this. This is one of the main reasons I wake up early in the morning. I get to be by myself for a few hours. The house is quiet, and I am alone, which allows me to journal, read, create, and plan my day.
You and your partner are not one person, you are two individuals. It takes two healthy individuals to be a healthy couple. If you struggle with being or doing activities alone, then you need to work through it. Don’t rely on having your partner around 24/7 because that is unrealistic and unachievable.
Make time for your friends and family
Being a part of a couple brings a new set of friends. People that you may not have met before come into your life when you are a couple. This isn’t an excuse to neglect your friends you had before your relationship.
These friends will be the ones who support you whether you are coupled or single. What happens if the relationship doesn’t work out? These are the friends that will be there for you unconditionally. Being a good friend isn’t one-sided. They need your support too. Don’t forget to call, text, or reach out to them.
Your partner doesn’t have to best friends with them. It is healthy for a couple to have separate friends. It’s better to have two or three quality friends that will be there to support you versus a large group of acquaintances that you can’t depend on. These are the friendships you need to invest in.
Nurture your interest and hobbies
When did you start neglecting your interest and hobbies? Was it when you began to have less free time? Was it due to your partner having an issue with your interest? Over time did you forget or ignore what you like to do?
Regardless of the reason, you need to explore or maybe re-engage in hobbies that you enjoy. If you were into scrapbooking, yoga, or volunteer work, then get back active in these things. Perhaps your interests have changed over the years. This is a great time to brainstorm ideas that you want to explore.
Your interest and hobbies are what made you the unique person you are. You are solely responsible for staying connected to yourself. With just a little work, you can reconnect with who you were in the past, present, and your direction for the future.
Don’t forget that to get what you want you need to let your partner get what they want regarding their hobbies. Don’t punish your partner for spending time with friends and activities outside the relationship. This can quickly lead to resentment with your partner.
Stop using the excuse that you don’t have enough time or energy. We are all given the same amount of hours in the day, and it’s up to us to create the life we deserve. Show your gratitude for your partner and the relationship, but also take time to remember that you have to care for yourself. Staying committed to not losing yourself in a relationship is one of the many ways to maintain healthiness.
A clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. From sex/intimacy, personal growth, and relationships, I am here to help you every step of the way.