We’re all guilty of losing ourselves a little when we’re in a new relationship.
You’re dating someone new, and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet. There’s butterflies! And every thing seems to be made of cotton candy and rainbows! You want to spend every free moment you have with them. WHICH IS COMPLETELY NORMAL. You’re still getting to know them! It’s an adventure every time you see them.
But at what point does it become a problem?
I, personally, have a habit of dedicating all my free time to the person I’m dating in the beginning of a new relationship. Like I mentioned before, it’s normal. It’s new. You’re infatuated. But here’s where it becomes unhealthy for your lifestyle.
As time went on and the novelty wore off, I continued my all-consuming devotion to spending time with my significant other. I spent free evenings during the week with him, spent holidays with him, ran errands with him, hung out with his friends on a Friday night, spent the weekend at his house (every weekend), went out on the town with him, and even started to pick up on his daily habits. In return, my life changed drastically.
I didn’t know where he ended and I began. We had meshed together and not in a healthy way. My relationship with my mother became strained. She’d complain that I was never home, that I spent too much time with him, and she had begun to see changes in me. I hardly saw my friends anymore. School which was my number one priority before meeting him quickly took a backseat. I stopped going to the gym because at the time it was just more time I could be spending with him instead of by myself. If I wasn’t in class or work, I was constantly trying to be around him. And if I couldn’t be with him…well it led to some dark times. If he had plans that didn’t include me, I felt alone. I had no hobbies. Who was I supposed to hang out with? I hadn’t seen my friends, as I would choose to see him over them numerous times. I had fallen off my fitness routine. Work could only distract me for so long. I felt myself becoming a recluse. If he and I didn’t have plans, you could find me in bed watching Netflix, routinely checking my phone for a text from him. My mood was constantly shifting, from high to low, at the drop of a dime.
It wasn’t until our relationship had run its course that I realized just how lost I was. I found myself not knowing what I liked, what I enjoyed doing, it felt like I was a complete stranger. My life seemed empty without having him there to guide me in what WE liked doing. I had given him so much power over me that I had lost my sense of self completely. It was heart wrenching to realize how much this relationship had affected me.
Reconnecting with myself was a struggle. Not everything I used to do has the same interest to me now. It has been a lot of trial and error. But after vowing to never let myself lose myself in a relationship ever again, I had the determination to figure out what exactly it is that I want out of life and my relationships. Through my eyes. The following are some things I realized I had “lost”. Maybe being aware of them they too can help you stay true to your true identity while being in a committed relationship.
Your ‘Me’ Time/Keep Your Routine
Know where he ends and you begin. Take time away from the relationship to enjoy the little things that made you happy before him. Try not to forget about those little activities or rituals that you did to make yourself feel great. Those things will be the activities to keep you happy if he, heaven forbid, no longer does.
Your Future Goals
At 24, I’ve learned to accept that boys will come and go. But one thing that won’t are the goals you’ve set for yourself. Whether that means being accepted into grad school, becoming a personal trainer, or volunteering. These should remain priority in YOUR LIFE. He comes into the picture as support. Your significant other should be your biggest fan, remember that.
Not only is it important that your family and your significant other get along well, but it’s also important to spend time with your family without bringing him along. A little separation goes a long way. Sometimes your family doesn’t feel like sharing you with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Remember they’ve had you to them selves all your life, they may not be accustomed to sharing you with someone else. And even if they are, everyone enjoys a little one on one bonding with their loved ones.
Your Girls Night
Seriously. This is huge. I have my circle of girls who I have been friends with since we were little kids. They’ve been there through it all, even this failed relationship. It’s something that I had set little value to when I had options (my ex-boyfriend), and it hurts my heart. These girls are more sisters than friends, I should’ve treated them as so.
Most importantly, remember you are your own person. You are not half a person without your boyfriend or girlfriend. You are whole as is. The last thing you want is for one person to “wear the pants” in your relationship. That’s not how a healthy relationship works. Maintain your freedom.
Remember, know where he/she ends and you begin, always. You’re worth living an amazing, individual life. Your man doesn’t need to complete you, because you’re already complete.
Have you ever felt like you lost yourself in a relationship? What did you do to get back to feeling like yourself again? Let’s chat in the comments section.