Most people lose parts of their identity when they are in love.
When you dive into a new relationship, you immerse yourself fully. You never leave your partner’s side and you want to do everything together. You are so deep in love that you cancel plans to spend time with them. More importantly, you no longer have an interest in doing the things that once brought you joy. While you used to go to the gym every Saturday, you now find that this is no longer something you do; instead, you now sleep in and have a lazy Saturday with your partner. Your routine changes and the hobbies you loved become a distant memory. Even though it is normal to experience these things at the beginning of a new relationship, it is important that you do not lose your independence. If you continue giving up the things that make you happy as an individual, you might lose yourself completely.
There are six ways you can maintain your independence in a relationship.
1. Carve out alone time
It is vital that you and your partner know how to spend time without each other. You need to be able to not only spend time on your own but to actually enjoy it. Whether you carve time out for physical exercise, self-care, or time out with friends and family, you need to learn how to be your own individual person. More importantly, you need to learn to love your own company.
2. Spend time with friends
Many people tend to alienate their friends when they dive into a new relationship. It is vital that you spend as much time as possible with your friends without your partner. Your friends are the people who always have been and always will be there for you. Do not turn your back on them just because you are now in a relationship. At the end of the day, no matter how good things may be right now, you and your partner might one day go your separate ways. If/when that happens, you do not want to look around and find yourself all alone.
3. Do not abandon your hobbies
You risk losing your identity if you give up the things you love to do because of your relationship. What is more, you might begin to resent your partner for this – even though it will not be their fault at all. Abandoning your hobbies will not be their fault. You are the only one who gets to decide what they give their time and effort to. If you notice that you are gaining weight because you no longer go on your daily jogs, you will have nobody else to blame but yourself.
4. Stand up for your values
When you are single, you have a certain set of values and morals that you stand by and protect. When you are in a relationship, this should not change. Regardless of your partner’s values, you need to stay true to the things that make you who you are. The minute you forget your values and adopt those of your partner, you lose your identity and what you stand for.
Setting boundaries may sound limiting and restricting when in reality, it is the opposite. Having healthy boundaries put in place can help you develop a more fulfilling relationship. For example, your partner needs to know that on Tuesday nights you are unavailable because you attend online classes or visit your parents. Similarly, they may ask that you do not disturb them on Sundays because they go fishing with their friends. Having boundaries put in place allows both people to continue growing as individuals while knowing that they have the full support and respect of their partner.
6. Do not absorb your partner’s emotions
It is normal to feel upset when your partner is feeling down. However, you should not take on their issues and their emotions. Just because they are stressed out does not mean that you have to hit pause on your happiness. You can feel for them and help them out without letting it completely change your mood.
To make sure that you maintain your independence and your individuality, it is important that you keep the above six things in mind. It is only when you are true to yourself that you will feel content and fulfilled.