We’re all different. Each and every one of us has multiple passions, hobbies, personality traits and habits that define us and make us who we are.
Yet sometimes when we enter into a relationship, we find that our defining characteristics start to fall to the wayside as we try to fall in-step with our new partner. We give up going to our Saturday morning spin classes to go and watch football, we lose touch with friends, sometimes we even change the way we speak!
We usually do this in the early stages of the relationship in order to bond with our new partner and learn more about their interests. However, as time goes by, many of us find that we’re still just going along with what our partner wants to do and we no longer have the time to enjoy our own passions.
When we move in with a partner, it can be even harder to maintain our sense of self as we leave our previous homes and ways of life to start afresh with our loved one.
In some extreme cases, we find ourselves changing our whole appearance and lifestyle to be more like our partner. But by completely emulating your partner, you put yourself at risk of being even more devastated if the relationship ends. You may feel like you’ve not only lost a partner but a whole way of life. This can leave you feeling lost and confused over your own identity.
Of course, when you’re in a relationship you will have to make some compromises and small changes in order to make it work, but you don’t have to give up all the things that make you happy. You can still retain your individuality and the things that make you YOU, and have a strong relationship.
Set aside some me time
You and your partner don’t need to spend every waking hour together. After all, it’s the quality of time you spend together that counts, not the quantity. Sit down together and discuss a mutually convenient time when you can both be alone to pursue personal interests. Keep in mind that plans may change to fit around work and family commitments, so you and your partner must both be open to changing the schedule now and then.
Keep friends and family close
Growing up, your friends and your family were the people who helped shape you to become the person you are today. By losing touch with them, you could be at risk of losing touch with yourself as well. Keep in regular contact with them on social networking sites, email and on the phone and, if possible, try to meet with them on a regular basis.
Learn to say no, but in moderation
Remember, you don’t have to say yes to everything your partner wants. Just try not to say no to everything – particularly things that you haven’t tried before. Keep an open mind and try new things – you may even discover a new hobby you actually enjoy!