It's easy to lose your identity in a new relationship. At first, it's kind of cute to be joined at the hip, wanting to spend every waking minute together - but it's not sustainable in the long run. If people allow themselves to 'merge' as a couple, they run the risk of losing their sense of self, which could unintentionally kill the relationship. Losing yourself in a relationship can create anxiety and resentment, which can cause you to rebel in ways that threaten your connection with your partner. So, to avoid getting 'lost', here's five ways to maintain your identity:
1. Continue to see your friends that you had before your relationship.
Don't close yourself off to your new one and only. When the love hormones are pumping and you're seriously crushing over your new love it's easy to forget about the rest of the world. Keep in mind the routine you had before you met each other. The friends you hung out with, the family you seen and the work you did. All these personal elements contributed to you being the person you were when you were single. To keep the attraction alive in your relationship and ongoing, those single person attributes still need to exist within you through out the duration of your relationship.
2. Pursue your personal projects that define you.
Entertain your personal passions outside your relationship. If you have a hobby you used to love doing on your own or with other people when you were single, continue to do them. On the flip side if you've become lost in your current relationship, start finding new hobbies or projects that bring out your very best qualities and make you feel secure within yourself and purposeful.
3. Focus on your personal development
We all need to continue to grow as individuals whilst in a relationship. This is probably one of the hardest things to stay focused on and committed to. We are all busy, life gets in the way, and if you factor children into your relationship it's no secret our own personal needs come last. If you're feeling lost, or feel you're not like your old self, search within and ask yourself some hard questions on what you can do to thrive as an individual whilst in a relationship. Push the boundaries and continue to challenge your own personal development after achieving set goals. The level of admiration and respect for yourself and how your partner looks at you will flourish and fire up the romance!
4. Take a weekend away without your significant other.
It really is true that distance makes the heart grow fonder. A fun filled weekend away with friends can be just what the doctor ordered. Allow yourself to miss your partner, and for them to miss you. Reconnect with the outdoors and new environments, laugh as much as you can and surround yourself in a remote place knowing you have distance between you. Use the time to away to plan personal goals without being distracted, and reconnect with friends you haven't seen in a while to secure your friendships outside your romantic relationship.
5. Don't feel guilty about saying No.
The hardest part of maintaining your own identity occasionally means saying no to your partner to factor in "you time." Many of us struggle to say no due to feeling guilty, or obligated to hang with our partner 24/7. Have a prepared speech ready to go that truly resonates with yourself and personal values to explain why you need your time alone. A healthy relationship is about respect and understanding, so your partner should never make you feel guilty about working on your own individual needs that make you feel happy within yourself.
Being in love is one of the most magical experiences in life, but being yourself is a necessary ingredient to making that relationship as fulfilling and long lasting as possible. Never lose yourself, and make sure you and your partner love each other for who you both really are.
Renee Brown is a respected matchmaker, relationship coach and founder of Corporate Cupid, which provides personalised dating services for time-poor professionals in Perth and Sydney. With a background in psychology and human behaviour, Renee's mission is to find love connections by delving into the psychology, behavioural patterns and mindset that prevent singles from finding fulfilling relationships in a digital era. Find out more at www.corporatecupid.com.au