Hands up if you have you ever done anything to keep a man and his love, even if it meant losing yourself?
I have. A couple of times. And it fucking sucks.
I actually think it’s really hard not to loose yourself slightly when you’re head over heels with someone and want to slot into their world effortlessly. You want to like the same things they do, have common interests and you want to spend all your time with them, as their presence and love energizes you. This sometimes even means sacrificing your own hobbies and interests to spend more time with them. But if the relationship consequently ends, you might be left single, with absolutely no idea who you are or what you really like anymore.
After falling into this trap yet again in my previous relationship, I took being single by the horns and I absolutely adored it; I loved my life, I loved the freedom I felt and I loved doing things for me. I was absolutely sure I would never compromise doing the things I love if I was to meet someone I really liked.
I would say, even for the strongest person, it’s really hard not to slip back into putting all of your source of happiness in one person when you do fall in love, but it’s important you don’t as it can lead to resentment and unhappiness in your relationship.
Today I wanted to share my top tips on how to keep your own identity when in a romantic relationships. It’s really important!
- Remember that too much of one thing is always a bad thing – although you wanna spend all your time with your new love, it’s not the best idea; unless you’re literally housebound, quarantined in lockdown, it’s important to still have your own space!
- Still do things alone. If you’re anything like me you might have been quite independent whilst single so it’s really important to make a point of still doing those things – theatre, shopping trips, reading in cafes, pamper evenings, time with your friends without boys. Not only will these deepen your sense of self, but it’ll make time with your partner even more special, with more to talk about!
- Do not abandon your friends! We’ve all been there and there is nothing worse than losing a friend to a partner. You know the drill – they meet someone, fall in love and then BAM, they’re officially MIA and their new dish is the one they spend all their time with. Even if you do fall in love, it’s nice to keep your friends up to date with your life, introduce your new partner to them, but don’t forget the ones who were there before (and will still be there for you if it doesn’t work out).
- Make some personal/work life goals. It’s easy for life goals to include ‘get married, buy a house, have a family’ but there is SO much more to life than those ‘family’ orientated milestones, so set yourself some personal or work goals that you can focus energy into too to take away your ‘need’ for a partner in your life. For example – I really want to learn how to do the splits and that is absolutely something I don’t need a partner to help me achieve, so I’m going to go for it!
- If you feel yourself forgetting who you were before your relationship, spend some time listing all the things that make you, ‘you’; write down your quirks, hobbies, personality traits, likes & dislikes and embrace them! They’re part of what made your partner fall in love with you in the first place so it’s important not to loose them!
- Be honest with your partner – I like my space as an introvert and so I made it clear with my fiance early on in our relationship that I need nights in alone and down time by myself and he totally appreciates that!
- Be wary of not knowing not to do with yourself when they’re not around. You lived so long without them, you don’t need them to take up all of your time. Think of all the things you did with spare time before you met them and live your own life.
- If you utterly can’t resist spending time together, then at least make that time valuable! Instead of just sitting infront of the telly together, make actual ‘date plans’ – visit a gallery/museum you really want to see, go to the movies, try out a restaurant you’ve have saved on your instagram for ages – not only will you be doing stuff you’d probably have done without them, but you’re also keeping things interesting together and still embracing your interests, just with the added bonus of having them there too!
I think it’s important to remember that your partner fell in love for the ‘you’ you were before you met ‘them’. They liked that person who had their own life, their hobbies and they enjoyed being able to slot into your life too, so it’s important to maintain your original self, like they should too!
Yes, relationships are about compromise, but you should never have to compromise your own identity and sacrifice too much of yourself for another human being. After all, you’re the only person you’re really spending forever with.
Lots of love to you all,
Pictures by Sarah-Ellen Photography