Lost Yourself in a Relationship? 5 Tips to Find Yourself Again
Relationships can be exciting. Comforting. Supportive. Help you grow as an individual. They can be a great space for self-discovery and self-development.
However, for one reason or another, instead of flourishing as an individual, you might catch yourself consumed by the relationship to the point that you cannot recognise yourself anymore. You end up spending every possible moment with your significant other and sacrifice things you used to enjoy, for the sake of activities with your partner. Because you have been putting so much focus on the needs and wishes of your partner and the relationship, you have forgotten about what you want, what makes you happy and what you want to achieve in life.
Such a disconnection from yourself can indeed make you feel lost and lonely despite being with a partner you love. And you feel lonely because you neglected the relationships with other people that are important to you: your friends, family, and most importantly, yourself.
5 Tips To Find Yourself Again
This article contains tips on how to find your individuality when you lose yourself in the relationship, but the tips can also be applied to prevent the loss from happening in the first place. If you have found yourself in these words, then this article is for you!
1. Know your attachment style
Understanding your attachment style and relationship dynamic may bring some clarity to why you ended up feeling lost in the relationship and can be the first step to finding yourself again. Take some time to think about your relationship.
How important is being in a relationship to you? You likely love your partner, but do you catch yourself worrying that they don’t love you back? Do you feel unimportant to your significant other? Do you feel like you must accommodate your partner’s needs and wishes to prove yourself as worthy of being their partner? Do you often crave your significant other’s approval, affection, and reassurance? If you find yourself answering yes to most of these questions, you likely have a Preoccupied attachment style.
Think about the origins of your attachment style and behaviors. It would be a good idea to disclose your attachment style to your partner and try to find out what kind of dynamic your relationship has. Discuss with your partner how you could support one another to reach a more secure attachment and a healthier relationship.
2. Stay in touch with your friends and family
Just because it might feel like your partner is the whole world to you, that doesn’t mean that other relationships should lay forgotten. Close people other than your partner can offer you a different view of yourself and provide you with support and resources. Your partner might be good at supporting you emotionally, but they can’t do that 24/7. Moreover, they also might need support from you from time to time. Learning to ask for support from friends and family can remove some of the responsibility from your partner’s shoulders.
It is important to stay in touch with people you care about, but sometimes do it without your partner. Spending time with friends and family without your partner changes the dynamic of the conversations and you will likely find yourself venturing into topics that never would have come up with your significant other being around.
3. Find things to enjoy on your own
Alongside maintaining connections, engaging in activities without your partner might help you get in touch with yourself again. Even though you may enjoy doing everything with your significant other, it is healthy to also have some time for yourself. Take this time to explore hobbies and classes you have put aside for the sake of activities with your partner.
Have you caught yourself wanting to go to the cinema to watch the movie, but your partner finds it boring? Wanting to go to the new art exhibit, but your partner doesn’t like modern art? Have you been looking at baking classes, but never ended up going because your partner doesn’t share the interest? Give these things a try! They are a perfect opportunity to rekindle old passions and hobbies or explore and find new interests. Engaging in activities by yourself can feel difficult and even overwhelming at first, but it can be a great way for self-discovery and empowerment. You can also turn this exploration into moments of bonding by inviting your friends or family.
4. Don’t sacrifice yourself
So far, we have discussed finding yourself without your partner in the picture. However, they still are a part of your daily life. You may have noticed that you and your partner sometimes disagree on things. You might prefer spending your summer vacation by going to sunny beaches while your partner would rather replace the heat of the sun with the coolness of the mountains. And there is nothing wrong with that. You and your partner are different people, and you most likely won’t agree on everything. That’s why relationships are built on compromise. However, compromise is all about balance. Reflect on the compromises you and your significant other have made. Are you usually the one to accommodate, both for big and small things?
If you are inclined to answer with a “yes”, the reason why you have lost yourself in this relationship may be because you have been giving yourself away with every compromise between you and your partner. Reflect on the things that are important to you and set some boundaries. Furthermore, you and your partner may benefit from learning about the difference between healthy and unhealthy boundaries.
5. Stay in touch with yourself and your values.
Take some time for yourself to reflect on what you find important in life besides your relationship. Reflect on what your values are and what the purpose of life is to you. Think about goals you wanted to achieve before you met your significant other. Do these goals still resonate with you? If they do, are they in tune with your values? How far along are you in making these ideas come true? What can you do in getting closer to these goals? How can your partner help in reaching them?
On the other hand, you may feel estranged from your old life goals. If so, think about new goals you would like to achieve that are in tune with your values and the person you are now and how you could achieve them.
You don’t need to feel lost and lonely in your relationship. Focusing on your partner’s needs may come from best intentions. However, it slowly strips away your individuality because you keep neglecting the wishes and needs of your own. And you certainly don’t need to lose yourself to be with someone else. You can work on regaining your individuality and connection with yourself by following the steps above. And, if you ever need an extra hand, here at Antiloneliness we are happy to support you. Alternatively, couples counseling can also be an option for you.
Written by Tena Mijic, intern psychologist at AntiLoneliness
YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS.