Being in a relationship can feel like always hanging out with and making out with your best friend, which is quite impressive but sometimes, that can become our entire universe because we are completely infatuated with this one person hence, we lose touch with our pals and stop engaging in our favorite pastimes. It is possible to feel as though you are losing yourself in a relationship, which can be uncomfortable.
Love can be like putting on a pair of magical glasses that alter your perception of the world – the colors appear more vibrant, the food tastes better and the radio tunes finally make sense. Initially, you will undoubtedly be head over heels for this individual and the honeymoon period is a real phenomenon but the most important thing to remember though, is not to lose yourself in this new and exciting endeavour or forget who you were prior to entering this partnership . How do you accomplish this? Let’s plow through it!
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Malini Saba, Psychologist and Founder of the Anannke Foundation, revealed five methods to avoid losing oneself in a relationship:
1. Place yourself first – Self-care remains crucial even when in a relationship. It indicates that you continue to care for yourself. Self-care could consist of maintaining your interests, pursuing your goals, and continuing to do what you enjoy. Do not depend on someone else to fulfill you. You’ll discover that you share so many similarities with your partner and love doing things together, which is incredible but you must still meet your own needs by remaining true to yourself and your passions. Anything that gives you a few minutes of absolute happiness is acceptable, such as getting your makeup done at your favorite salon, watching an episode of your favorite web series, cooking, going for a swim, planting, singing, making a friend or five, saying no like it’s your job, obtaining photography lessons, joining a dance group, commencing a book club, collecting wine, etc. Simply get something that belongs to you, and remember to admit who and what you dislike.
2. Your self-worth – In the pursuit of love, we may occasionally break self-respecting boundaries we would not typically cross. This is another indicator that the relationship is not healthy for you, whether you are engaging in activities that you find humiliating or allowing yourself to be treated disrespectfully. Never relinquish your right to be treated with courtesy and respect. If someone crosses this line, you must eliminate them immediately. If you permit this treatment to continue, it will worsen and you will ultimately despise yourself for permitting it.
3. Don’t substitute “we” for “I” – Remember that regardless of how long you and your partner have been together, you are still an individual. If you are invited somewhere by yourself, do not assume your partner is also invited. If you enjoy pasta, avoid the expression “We love pasta!” You are both unique individuals with separate interests and preferences. Try to maintain separate identities even though you may occasionally feel as though you share a brain.
4. Your capacity for decision-making – Consider decision-making as a muscle that weakens with inactivity. The less we defer to our partners in decision-making, the less likely we are to make future judgments and think independently. This does not imply that you must make every decision on your own but you should be mindful of any habits you may have of double-checking with your partner before making a decision—especially if it involves a relatively trivial matter, such as a modest grocery purchase. Think independently and continue to make decisions, no matter how minor. This contributes to the preservation of your feeling of individuality and your ability to stand on your own two feet.
5. Do not compromise excessively – Obviously, it is beneficial to accommodate others in a relationship by compromising, but it is not acceptable to be the only one making sacrifices. Soon, the little things will become everything, and you will no longer be yourself. In a relationship, it is essential to know when to bend, but be careful not to bend so much that you break.
Bringing her expertise to the same, psychologist Dr Ariba Abbasi shared 5 things you can do to avoid losing your identity while in a relationship:
1. Make an effort to lay a solid foundation – Daily, ask yourself, “What do I need?” How can I love myself today? The answers will help you love and value yourself. Select people, situations and resources that will help you. Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself and refrain from self-judging. Create limits to protect your time and energy and become your own cheerleader and remember to follow your own instincts. Change your priorities. You come first, followed by everything else. Select yourself. Prioritize your own well-being. You should come first. You can create significance in your own life. Stop pleasing others. You matter!
2. Identify yourself – Create a list of your current needs. On a sheet of paper, create four columns. The labels for each column should be: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. Consider carefully what you need in each of these four categories in order to be satisfied. Additionally, you may list your top five to 10 priorities on paper. These are the things you wish to concentrate on at the moment since they are important to you. Create a list of them in order of significance.
3. Keep firm boundaries – In relationships, be aware of your non-negotiables. Things you simply cannot stand and will not compromise on. And communicate them so that your partner is aware of and respects them. In relationships, healthy boundaries will make you feel stronger and more in control. If you disregard your limits, you will feel fatigued, overwhelmed, and depleted. Healthy boundaries protect individuals from losing themselves in romantic relationships.
4. Be forthright in your communication – Discuss how you feel. Discuss what is not working for you. Talk about what you like and dislike. You can even tell your partner that you fear losing yourself again in a relationship. Sincere and candid communication will strengthen your relationship with your partner. The only way to fix a relationship is to identify its flaws. So, speak freely!
5. Prioritize your sexual relationship – Sexuality is not just a personal expression of affection between two individuals; it is also a significant component of who you are as an adult. Focus on your sexuality: appreciate the humor of flirting, the sensitivity of intimate contact, and the ardour of making love.
According to Dr Fauziya Masud, Psychologist and Co-Founder of Hope Well Counseling Services, following are the five things you should never sacrifice for a relationship:
1. Stop being so generous and accommodating – Over-giving is typically a result of lacking self-worth and wanting approval. We think that the more love we offer to our relationship, the more love we will receive in return. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. In the long term, it is certain to create resentment and the feeling of being taken for granted and resentment is a factor in determining the happiness and durability of a relationship. When you give too much in a relationship, you risk not just losing yourself but also the relationship.
2. Separate yourself from your partner – Continue to engage with yourself and your own interests without your partner’s participation. Perhaps you enjoy classical dance but your partner does not. Continue engaging with yourself and your own hobbies without the participation of your spouse. Maybe you appreciate classical dance but your spouse does not. Continue to dance! Perhaps you enjoy playing basketball every Sunday with your friends but your significant other is terrible at the sport and refuses to join you. That’s okay! You can continue playing basketball with your friends because the sport facilitates connections with both them and you.
3. Your happiness – Sometimes, our dread of being alone is greater than our desire for genuine happiness. Consequently, we persist in partnerships that do not bring forth our finest qualities. We stay in mediocre relationships out of dread of the unknown, so we are doing ourselves tremendous harm. You only have one life, so try not to squander it in an unhappy relationship. Give up a long-term relationship that damages your sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Ask yourself why you feel unappreciated and dissatisfied, and consider whether your current relationship has anything to do with it.
4. Your financial and personal independence – The experience of being in a relationship can be joyful and loving. It is always essential to keep your individuality and fight the temptation to merge into a single identity. See your pals, pursue interests that don’t necessarily involve your partner and have a separate bank account. Independence is healthy and always makes you feel like you’re in a relationship because you want to be there, not because you have to.
5. Partner with an individual who likes you – You may believe this to be painfully obvious but is that the case? If a lover wants you to change, they do not love you for who you are. When you find somebody who likes you, that person won’t expect you to lose your identity because they have fallen in love with that identity. We all have our peculiarities and weaknesses. Start relationships with the expectation that there will be some problems and stumbling blocks. The relationship need not be perfect but it should be genuine.