Wifeys & Gentlemen,
Let’s talk. Have you ever been in a relationship and, even if it was good, found yourself questioning your personal identity throughout?
While this might be unfamiliar to some, for many of us, it is all too common. Although it isn’t exactly healthy, I would argue that it’s pretty normal for many of us to find ourselves in relationships that completely consume us. It might come as a shock, but this can happen even when the relationship you’re in is a stable one.
Often times, it is not our partner’s fault. If the relationship is positive and strong, I can almost guarantee that your partner does NOT want you to be completely wrapped up in your union. In fact, some relationships (even marriages) have ended because one partner has completely lost themselves in the relationship and the other has lost the person they first fell in love with.
Today, I’d like to point out some of the warning signs that indicate that you’re beginning to slip into unhealthy territory.
You Easily Change Your Opinions to Fit Theirs
Look, I will be the first to tell you that I can be very stubborn and combative when I am passionate about something. However, I am also the kind of person who likes to hear the thoughts of others. I try to be open to letting others change my mind. If my husband presents facts or ideas to me that are strong enough to sway me, I let them!
Please believe, I do not make this a habit. My opinions are my own. However, I haven’t always been this way. In the past, if my significant other thought something I believed in was silly or wrong, I’d adopt a whole new mentality just to make sure they valued me.
If this sounds like you, practice stating a thought or opinion and standing firm in it. Be stubborn for a while until you have the confidence to dialogue about new ideas. You need to start re-learning how you feel about the world around you.
Practice won’t make it perfect, but it’s a damn good start.
You Deny Your Own Interests
This is one the clearest signs that things are going downhill for you in your relationship.
If you start passing up on the things you enjoy doing to spend more time with your partner… if you pretend to like things you dislike or pretend to dislike things you actually like…if you no longer think about your own hobbies, this can be kind of scary.
Ask yourself why you feel the need to hide the parts of who you are from your partner. Have you always felt like you couldn’t be yourself or is this recent? What event or situation triggered this response?
Decide if the relationship is toxic first. If not, then it’s time to get strict with yourself! Start small and set aside time each week to do and/or enjoy the things you’ve always loved. When you’re ready, add your partner into the mix. You might be surprised to learn that he/she really enjoys this side of you.
You Adopt Their Problems As Yours
If your partner is struggling, it’s important to be there for them and support them. If you have the time to help them in a “hands-on” kind of way, great! However, you SHOULD NOT feel like you are exclusively responsible for every single problem they have.
This is especially true if you have struggles and issues of your own. If you are starting to feel like you’re neglecting your own problems to solve your partners, this is a HUGE issue.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Part of being in a stable relationship is knowing that BOTH parties are willing and able to support each other while being wholly responsible for themselves. Of course, this doesn’t apply if one of you is deathly ill or physically incapacitated. However, it is important to remember that (most of the time) you need to be stable in yourself in order to help someone else.
If this feels overwhelming, communicate with your partner. Tell them that you’re feeling like you are investing too much in their situation and figure out how to problem solve together. Let them take the lead and allow yourself to be in the passenger seat.
You Pass Up Important Opportunities for Them
If your relationship is healthy and stable, you both should feel empowered to talk about anything. If an amazing opportunity presents itself and your first thought is to decline, ask yourself why.
Are you worried that a new job or promotion would take you away from your relationship? Are you concerned that taking a chance might somehow change the way your partner views you? That’s fine, if so, but it shouldn’t hold you back.
Talk to your partner every time something new and exciting comes up! How sad would they be to learn that you passed up on something great because you were scared of how they’d react?
You have the ability to make anything work if your relationship is happy and strong. Sometimes the opportunity won’t work out, but PLEASE don’t just say no without having a discussion with your mate first.
You Always Say “Yes”
No one wants a person who just blindly agrees with them all the time. Well, some people do, but I don’t know how healthy those people really are.
For those of us who fell in love with our partners because of the people they are, we’d hate for them to start “yes-ing” us to death! Most of the time, we become yes-men and women because we fear losing the people we love. Somehow, we get it into our heads that any kind of disagreement or “no” response will signal that you aren’t in love anymore.
Get some introspection and self-examination. You and your partner will disagree. You might feel like saying “no” sometimes (and so will they). If you continue down this road, you’ll likely begin to lose your self-confidence and dampen your ability to make your own decisions. This will read to your partner and have an impact on your relationship.
Practice saying no sometimes. I promise, a good partner will recover just fine ;-).
You Begin to Lose Friends/Social Life
You need your friends. You need people to vent with. You need a group that helps you take the edge off or break up the monotony at times.
Of course, your partner should also be your friend, but that does not mean that you need to abandon your friends in order to keep yourself available to your mate.
If your partner doesn’t want or allow you to spend time with friends, that is a sign of abusive behavior. However, if you realize that your diminishing social life is more self-imposed or a symptom of you being too relationship “obsessed” it’s time to gain some control.
Reach out to your friends and apologize, if you have to, for being MIA. Plan a night of fun with them and do your best not to talk about your relationship unless asked. Even if you are asked, keep it chill! Give a quick update on the highlights and make sure to focus on them and catching up.
Adult friendships need to be nurtured almost as much as your romantic relationships. Don’t let yourself believe that your partner is more important than your friends. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to choose. Keep all relationships healthy and you never have to feel the pressure or pull between both worlds.
The Words “Me”, “Mine”, & “I” are NOT in your Vocabulary
This is usually pretty cute when it first begins (& yes, it’s perfectly normal). However, at a certain point, constantly talking about “we” should die down as you start to find a balance between the “us” and the “you”.
Have you ever met someone who can’t seem to escape the “we”? It’s a little off-putting.
We love that show!
This weekend we’re going to be sleeping in.
We can’t wait for that new place to open.
We hate anything but chicken!
Sure, all of these statements might be true, but sometimes it’s important to establish yourself as a standalone entity. If this is uncomfortable for you, that’s a red flag.
It takes 3 weeks for a new habit to kick in, right? Start making personal pronouns a new habit. Seriously.
You Never Spend Time Alone
Does all of your free time go to your partner? Do you guys do nearly everything together? You’ve stopped spending time with friends and family. You don’t participate in your old hobbies and interests. Now, you’ve just realized that you can’t remember the last time you spent some time alone.
Even in the middle of a pandemic, it’s important to have that “me time”. I won’t harp on it too much here, but please check out my previous blog on this exact topic!
Spending alone time is one of the best ways to connect with yourself. You are able to reflect on your own dreams and ideas, you can process situations and problems, and you can let your hair down and do things you really love (especially if they are things your partner isn’t all that into).
Don’t forget to set your boundaries and stick to them. Again, this might not be your partners fault, but you both need to learn how to set limits and carve out space for yourself. It’s fine to do almost everything with your partner if that is what works for you both! But there is a line and everyone deserves to have time for themselves. Do the work to set it up.
Your Relationship is all You Think/Talk About
Have you ever been so into someone that you can’t help but bring them up constantly? When I first met my husband, he was all I talked about for a while. I was so excited about him! That’s cool. We all operate in our own way and I don’t think it’s weird or unhealthy to have a phase of being completely taken by your partner. I know I was. ❤
However, if you find that, for a while, your partner has been the only thing on your mind and the only thing you talk about, this might be a problem. Do you feel like your future is completely tied up in your relationship? When was the last time you had a goal or dream that didn’t involve them?
If you can’t answer that, then you’re likely in the throws of losing who you really are. It is simply not healthy to be so fixated on one individual.
Who were you before you met them? Who were you when you fell in love? If you can’t remember, ask! Connect with your partner and the people you love and let them know that you’re seeking to find yourself again. Make an effort to tone it down and commit to thinking about how you get back to the person you were without them.
You Just Don’t Feel Like Yourself
Sometimes, we notice that we’ve lost ourselves in a relationship when it’s too late. Our partner has one foot out the door and we feel awful. Not only do we stand to lose the relationship we’ve fought so hard to maintain, but we walk away from the situation having completely sacrificed our own identity.
Look within. Are you happy? If your partner decided to walk away from you tomorrow, would you fall apart? If not for them, do you feel like you’d have a purpose?
It’s okay to admit you’re broken, damaged, and depressed. Even if the relationship was good, if you lose yourself in it, you walk out having a lot more healing to do than the average person.
Seek help! Even if it isn’t professional counseling, there are people in your life that have missed you and are ready to help you find yourself again. Listen to your favorite music. Watch your favorite movies and tv shows. Go dancing! Get drinks with friends. Cook the food you love. Hit the gym. Make a list of all the people you want to see and all of the things you want to do. Do them!
You can recover from this. Sometimes, if you catch it early enough, you can even recover with your relationship in tact.
Remember there are resources out there to help you! You can find yourself and your happiness again, it just takes work and dedication to pull yourself back out.
I love you all and hope you’re having a safe, happy Sunday. I’m excited because it’s taco night in our household and I’m ready for some spicy-chicken-goodness!
Until next time,
Carry on wifeys & gents!