5 Ways to Find Yourself While in a Relationship
Relationships are amazing. We all want to experience love, companionship and security with a partner whom we trust and enjoy. But throughout time, you may (without realizing) discover that you're unrecognizable. You may have lost self-confidence and constantly compare yourself to others. Perhaps you gave up your sense of style or unique interests to match those of your partner. Or maybe you've had to support your partner's goals and ambitions, sacrificing your own in the process.
The healthiest relationships thrive when both people can maintain their true sense of self and independence. Do you feel insecure without your partner at your side constantly giving approval? Have you changed to meet your partner's needs? Have you stopped doing things you once have enjoyed? You may need to rediscover yourself. Here's how to start that journey.
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Seek a Social Outlet
Spending time with your own friends fosters independence. If you and your partner always hang out together in groups, you may begin to depend on him for social support and comfort. Make it a point to see your friends solo as your own person or even step outside your comfort zone to make new friends. You'll reconnect with your sense of humor and favorite parts of your personality, while interacting with new people. As you begin to build new friendships (or nurture old ones) on your own, your personal confidence and independence will start to resurface.
Opening up to expose your true self can be scary, especially during the beginning stages of a relationship. We've all been tempted to be the proverbial "cool girl" who likes football, beer, boy jokes and no drama. But deep inside you may hold back on certain opinions to be on the same page as your partner or keep quiet about certain likes or dislikes in order to maintain a persona. You're only creating more trouble in the long-term by keeping your true self a secret. If anything, opposing viewpoints can healthily challenge your partner, and unique quirks are endearing.
Show off Your Style
It's not uncommon for couples to share similar styles, but if your partner comments on your clothes or seems to control what you wear on a regular basis, you may need to speak up for yourself - or move on without him. Not a heels and handbag kinda gal? Love your Vans sneakers and crossbody bag? Or maybe you want to feel sexy in your favorite little black dress for GNO. Whether you have a laid-back Cali style or enjoy dressing up, you should be able to without criticism, discomfort or shame from your partner.
Voice Your Needs
A relationship is about compromise, but remember, don't lose track of your needs as you work so hard to meet his. If you're constantly extending yourself to do all the work and tailor yourself to your partner's life, resentment may start to build as independence diminishes. "Speak up for yourself," says lifestyle blog editor Sahaj Kohli, "a functional relationship makes room for what both of you need." If you feel too scared to lose your partner by sharing discontent, then you may need to re-evaluate your relationship altogether.
Take Time for Yourself
When you're in love or comfortable in your relationship, it's easy to fall into a routine with your partner. You've become a single unit, rather than two separate people who are in relationship together. Reserve time to spend with yourself to be alone with your thoughts, reflect, recoup and recharge. This can be a private time for personal organization or re-establishing goals. You may discover that you want to take up a new hobby or go back to school. By taking time for yourself, you can preserve yourself as an individual who has individual wants, desires and qualities. Growing individually is just as important as growing together as a couple.
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