Are you starting to date or in a committed relationship, either way a major concern of yours is that you might lose yourself while tending and enjoying time with your beloved. But what exactly does this mean?
When a person loses themselves in a relationship, is a disruption with the balance between maintaining their own individual identity and maintaining the relationship.
Being in a relationship does require some time and consideration for the other person, but too much can lead to you being completely engulfed into your partners persona. Leading you to not fully completely feel like your needs are being met. ( Space is a need )
Examples of Losing Yourself in a Relationship
Losing yourself in a relationship can take place in so many different aspects. For some it might mean giving too much attention, time, sacrifices in order to please your partner.
For others it’s copying a partner’s interests or preferences. To spend more time together or appear to be interesting.
Often people identify losing themselves in one-sided relationships where they found themselves giving, while not receiving much in return, and eventually leading to making you feel like you are the only one trying or managing yourself for the relationship.
There is nothing wrong with making changes for a relationship but if you are the only one doing it then there is a problem.
Losing yourself might also look like losing the confidence and self-esteem you once had while being single.
Personal goals may start to become replaced with goals of being the perfect partner, or your goals start to come second to your partner’s goals. Losing yourself could also look like hesitating to make decisions on your own without consulting with your partner.
Why People Lose Themselves in Romantic Relationships
If you habitually put others first, have trouble being firm on boundaries, and often say “yes” when you want to say “no,” you may be a people pleaser. But remember, always putting someone else first means putting yourself last. And then, you may feel like you’re losing yourself in your relationship. Even if people pleasing seems innocent enough (who doesn’t like getting along with others?), you may be burying your own needs. Then, your partner may not know what you really want, and your true desires are left neglected.
Those with an insecure attachment style often fear losing a relationship and may behave anxiously as a result. They may overthink, make confusing bids for attention, and come off a bit needy. Then, when their anxious behavior doesn’t result in receiving the attention they crave, they may feel unloved.
If this sounds like you, just being able to identify your insecure attachment style is a good start. Then, you can look at your own anxious thoughts and fears with clearer self-awareness and understanding.
Lacking Inspiration & Motivation
If you’re feeling bored with your current options, it can be exciting to find a Bumble match or romantic partner who can inject some refreshment into your life.
It’s healthy to take some influence from others and be open-minded to new ideas and interests. But if you consistently look to someone else to help you choose a hobby, interest, or even career path, you’ll probably be left feeling like you lost yourself.
Lost Confidence & Disempowerment
Lack of confidence and empowerment while dating or in a relationship can make it easy to lose yourself in someone else. But it’s important to note whether this lack of confidence came before or after the relationship began.
Often, we can lose our confidence when we listen to fears. Typically, these fears aren’t caused by the relationship itself, but we carry them into a relationship, potentially turning them into a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, you may have a fear of losing your freedom or being controlled as a result of being in a couple. You may fear that someone else won’t be attracted to you (physically, or otherwise) once you open up and get closer. If you’re a people pleaser or have an insecure attachment style, you may be particularly fearful of your partner not needing or loving you anymore. You may also be fearful of a new partner acting like an old ex who hurt you.
These fears can erode confidence and cause relationship anxiety. That may, in turn, actually affect the health of a relationship. And of course, these fears can cause you to feel like you’ve lost yourself. But it’s worth examining if your thoughts and confidence changed after a relationship, too.
If you entered a relationship with healthy self-esteem, but your partner has hurt or betrayed you, you may feel that you’re losing your confidence – and your emotional health. A toxic relationship that lacks trust can of course cause a feeling of losing yourself, and in this kind of relationship, serious work may need to be done by both partners to rebuild connection again. But in the event of an abusive relationship, the only way to find your way back to yourself again is to completely change the relationship environment, and in many cases, to leave the relationship entirely.
How To Not Lose Yourself
There are some general things you can do to avoid losing yourself – or to find yourself again.
First, consider when you feel most yourself. Or, consider a time in the past when you felt most in tune with yourself. What factors allowed for that freedom of expression and sense of self? Tap into that if you’re feeling lost. You may want to also brainstorm what dreams and goals you have outside of your love life. Self-care, too, can help you to stay in touch with yourself and your own fulfillment. You can download a free checklist to the five things you need to help maintain self-care and self-love, regardless of your relationship status.
For those in the process of dating or starting a new relationship, take things sloooow. Avoid rushing, and even when you feel tempted to overthink, observe your anxieties and fearful thoughts without judgment.
Even for those who are already coupled up, question the fears that you may hold about relationships and see how they may be affecting how you feel and think. There’s no shame in having some fears, but be mindful of those fears and how they may be driving your actions. When overthinking leads to over-responding and overreacting, it’s easy to lose yourself and your wellbeing.
Finally, if you feel that you’re losing yourself as a result of being betrayed or hurt by your current partner, talk to them. Use the six steps outlined here to navigate a discussion on how you’re feeling. And if your relationship has turned abusive in any form, remember you don’t have to stay in it.
7 Solid Ways To Avoid Losing Yourself In A Relationship
Feeling like you don’t recognize yourself anymore recently? It might be one of the signs you lose yourself in a relationship. Too often women don’t even realize it because it’s not something that you can see through your naked eyes.
The effects are slowly showing and, before you knew it, you feel like something is missing in your life.
I used to get offended when my friends told me that I invested too much time and effort in my relationship and they’d politely ask me to do a self-reflection check once in a while.
I know I shouldn’t have because they care about me. But at that time, I was so convinced that I was just being normal in my relationship, nothing too crazy.
Until one day, I woke up really late and my heart just felt heavy from crying for hours the night before. I ended up calling in sick at work.
At that moment I felt really bad for myself. I made my life revolve around my relationship and it drove me crazy. I knew I had to change otherwise I’d lose myself in it.
What Does It Mean To Lose Yourself In A Relationship?
There are little signs that you might be getting already. However, if you’ve lost in touch with yourself for too long because you focus way too much on your relationship, then you most likely would overlook those signs in the first place.
Here are the obvious ones:
- You barely talk to your friends or hang out with them
- Your days feel like a roller-coaster, you don’t even know what having ‘stable’ days look like
- You don’t have any goals in life other than being with your partner
- You cry easily because your self-worth is really low
- You suddenly can’t imagine your life without your partner
So those are the main signs that mostly happen when you lose yourself in a relationship. While some people think it’s normal because that’s how the relationship ‘supposed to be’ — it’s not.
I’ve known a couple in my college years where it looks like they are together 24/7. Just like glue, there’s no way they’d separated or do their hobbies.
So how do you avoid losing yourself in a relationship?
- Be Independent And Build Your Own Empire
Does it feel good to fully dependant on your partner all the time? Of course not. Let’s take a look at depending on the financial side for example.
I remember my mom used to tell me (and she still does) that even if you end up with a rich man with overload money on his bank account, you still need to work so you can earn your own money.
It gives you some sense of freedom. It gives you options to walk away when things go south in your relationship and you’ll be confident enough to support yourself when that happens.
Another example is when you start depending on your partner to compliment you all the time to the point where you feel like you aren’t good enough if your partner doesn’t do it.
Rather than wasting your time being so caught up in the relationship drama, it’s better to use those times to work on projects that you are passionate about.
A person who is independent and stays busy building her own empire is more attractive than those who revolve their life around their partner only.
- Don’t Compromise More Than You Are Willing To
Yes, you do need compromise when you are in a relationship. Especially when it’s a serious one. But do you need to compromise more than you are willing to in order to keep them happy? Um no, you don’t.
But how do you know whether you’ve compromised too much or not?
One way to see it is when you have high resentments towards your partner, you’ll feel like they’ve taken some sort of control that you have for your life.
Because that wouldn’t happen if you are happy to let go of certain things in order to make the relationship work.
So next time you are in a situation where you have to compromise, ask yourself whether it’s worth it or not.
- Make Time To Do Something Outside Your Relationship
Here are my top recommendations:
- Go for a hike alone.
- Sign up for an online course and learn something new.
- Experiment with different kinds of outfits for a week.
- Cook your favorite meal without thinking too much whether your partner will like it or not. You cook it for yourself.
- Go to a coffee shop nearby and work on your projects.
- Set a challenge (workout sessions, social media detox, or build a new habit) and focus on it.
- Think Of Marriage As Part Of Your Life Journeys, Not Your End Goal
Couples who are already in a serious relationship will expect them to be getting married in the future, otherwise why wasting time?
Growing up in a small village somewhere in Indonesia, I’ve known too many of my childhood friends that see marriage as their one and only ultimate goal.
As a result, you’ll be considered unsuccessful in life when you aren’t married yet — and it doesn’t matter how much you earn. They only care whether you are married or not.
The problem with thinking that marrying your partner will make your life complete and there’s nothing worth pursuing anymore right after is really dangerous.
I’m not saying your relationship shouldn’t be in your top priority but that can’t be your only priority. There’s so much more in life if you let yourself exploring it.
- Keep In Touch With Your Close Friends
How many of your friends ‘disappear’ right after they got into a relationship? Trying to reach them out is like asking a President to go for lunch with you.
There’s always something that comes up and it’s always related to their partners. If you, yourself feel guilty about this, it’s time to make time for your friends.
What I meant by making time is not commenting on their last photo on Instagram or reacting to their latest story on WhatsApp status. It’s reaching them out directly checking up how they have been doing.
Even better if you could ask them to hang out with you and catch up on each other’s lives. Doing this regularly will help you feel like you aren’t just stuck with your partner and you actually have a life outside your relationship that you need to maintain as well.
- Work On Your Self-Esteem
Reading books in the personal development section can help you a lot in improving your self-esteem. It’s hard to believe in yourself when your insecurity controls you.
But the good news is, it is there for you to work on it, not to neglect it and those self-help books will help you along the way.
It’s also another simple way of getting to know yourself better. Nothing beats that feeling of being fully content with who you are and you know you’ll be fine with or without the relationship that you are in right now.
- Learn How To Be Comfortable In Expressing Your Feelings
This means no more holding back things that you want to say because you are afraid your partner might not want to accept them.
Sometimes we are so caught up and made up false assumptions in our head while all we need to do is just to speak up.
You aren’t cool with certain things? Let your partner know, rather than playing the silent game. You’ll only hurt yourself in the long run.
Being aware of the fact that you are about to lose yourself in a relationship is better than finding it out later. Because once you did find it after everything’s over, it’s way much harder to find your way back.
I’ve been there and I never wished anything like that happen to you. It’s that sucks feeling like you aren’t worthy of love or you might see yourself in a bad way as if you are too hard to be loved.
So before it gets too far, it’s important to start working now on your self-esteem, mindset, or whatever it is that you think will help you stay true to yourself.
I do believe a healthy relationship will help you grow and push you to be the better version of yourself every day. If all you get is the other way around, even after you practice those things I mentioned earlier, then it’s really not worth your time.