Although a lot of people have the goal of meeting their “soul mate”, it’s important to remember that finding love should not come at the expense of losing one’s own identity. While you probably already know that on the surface, there are actually a lot of couples who find themselves in trouble in this very area. Over time, they either become so consumed by their relationship that their partner feels as if they are suffocating them, or they are so into “being in a relationship” that they forget how important it is to still take care of themselves.
Remember, you were independence relationships before you ever got into a relationship, and being your own person is what drew this other person to you in the first place. So, if you need a few tips on how to remain an individual while in a relationship, here are six things to keep in mind.
1. Spend time with your friends
There is nothing worse than the person who gets into a serious relationship and then abandons their friends as a direct result. Although there’s probably no one else you’d rather spend time with than your beloved (and that’s awesome), spending time with others helps to keep you centered and balanced. Plus, friends can be beneficial when you need to vent or get some advice. So, even if it’s only once a month, take some time to hang out with them. You will all be glad that you did!
2. Find a hobby
If you didn’t have a hobby before getting into your relationship, now would be a great time to start. Whether it’s an art class, a spinning group or a book club, join something that will allow you to spend a bit of quality time with yourself. Not only will it teach you something new, but it will also provide you with more to talk about once you do see your significant other.
3. Set personal goals
No matter the stage of your relationship, goals must be set if it is going to thrive. However, in order for you to grow as an independent relationship, you should set your own objectives too. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds, take some online courses, or run a marathon. The best way to ensure your relationship moves forward is to keep moving forward as an individual.
4. Communicate your needs
A healthy partner will definitely do what they can to make sure their partner’s needs are met. However, an even healthier one will refuse to do so at the expense of their own needs. Sometimes, people lose their identity in relationships without even really noticing, and it’s because they solely cater to their partner. It’s about whatever they want to do, wherever they want to go, and whenever they want to do both.
Although you might think you are “being loving” by being that way now, over time you’re only going to resent not having a voice in your own relationship. It’s OK to communicate your needs. In fact, it’s encouraged.
5. Take yourself shopping
It might sound odd, but your partner influences just about everything in your life—including your personal style. It’s fine to want to wear what attracts them, but remember to do and wear what makes you feel good too. Shopping alone from time to time will help you to recall your own flair for fashion.
6. Do something that can’t be compromised
A wise woman once said, “Do everything you can’t compromise on before you get married.” On the heels of that, sometimes people desire a relationship so strongly that they miss the perks of single living, such as having the freedom to make decisions (especially personally and financially) without having to take someone else into consideration.
However, even if you’re married, it’s okay to speak with your spouse about wanting to do something for yourself from time to time. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to go to Italy and your spouse doesn’t want to or can’t get off work, that doesn’t automatically mean you can’t go. By budgeting and planning ahead, you can still make the trip. Maybe it will be shorter and with a family member or friend, but you can still go. The point is, it would be a shame to look up and realize that your life was half-lived simply because you were in a relationship and you thought you had to do every single thing together—when in fact you didn’t.