Unhealthy relationships don’t always come in the form of physical or mental abuse and overt manipulation. Losing yourself is probably the hardest red flag to spot. Relationships are great. Sharing your life with someone else is often scarily exciting, and being in love makes you see the world in a whole new light. Being in love often consumes you- physically, mentally and spiritually. Suddenly, your life is no longer the same but a little bit brighter each morning. Your priorities have realigned, your plans have changed, you have less time to spend with friends and family. Then suddenly your whole world revolves around your parter and you’ve forgotten who you are and how to operate when it’s just you…
No matter how many relationships we see, there’s nothing that can really prepare us for what will come out of our own relationships. It’s particularly difficult for us to notice red flags and unhealthy signs in the whirlwind of romance. Losing ourselves is never the fault of anyone specifically, but can be a consequence of things moving very quickly or being heavily reliant on your significant other.
Here are five signs that you may be losing yourself in your relationship.
YOU TRADE YOUR INTERESTS FOR THEIRS
Rather than spending time with your own friends and family or dedicating your spare time to your interests and hobbies, you find yourself only focusing on your partners interests. In general, this could start off with you saying you’ll see his friends instead of yours just this one time, but could end up with you being surrounded by your significant other and their circle 24/7. How often do you do what you want to do rather than what they want? How much time do you spend by your partners side rather than by yourself? Have your friends and family been telling you they haven’t seen you in a while?
YOU BURRY YOUR TRUE FEELINGS TO AVOID CONFLICT
This includes saying yes when you really want to say no. Agreeing to do what they want when you really had other ideas. Staying silent on your opinions or beliefs in order to avoid conflicting with theirs. Changing your opinions out of fear of confrontation is a huge relationship red flag. It often suggests that you’re doing so out of fear of such confrontation leading to a breakup.
Having opposing views, opinions or ideas in a relationship is healthy. Someone who truly loves you will accept you regardless of your differing opinions. Suppressing how you truly feel, or the words you really want to say will only lead to misery and the feeling that you’ve abandoned yourself. Do you suppress the urge to talk about things that matter to you? Do you have to censor yourself out of fear of judgement or being abandoned?
Being overly dependent on your partner can also translate to being clingy. It’s nice to want to spend time with your partner and be by their side, but if that’s all we do then we lose our sense of individuality. Rather than being a me you become an we, and therefore trade what may be good for you for the sake of your relationship and partner. In a healthy relationship, neither party should feel guilty for having a life of their own. When without your significant other, do you often feel lost, unhappy, and desperate to check up on them? Do you always seek their approval before making the smallest decisions? If your partner tells you no, do you follow instruction each time?
Whether is an offer to travel or a weekend away with friends, you may feel guilty leaving your partner behind and decline on offers you truly want to do. Of course relationships require scarifies. But if an opportunity of a lifetime, your dream job or a day of fun comes knocking and you decline purely because of your significant other, it’s time to take a look at the relationship. Prioritising is essential, but there’s a line between abandoning a part of yourself or something of importance to you for the sake and comfort of others. Would you say yes if you were single? Would a part of you regret saying no/wonder what things would’ve been like if you said yes?
THINGS ARE ALWAYS ROUGH
Don’t get me wrong, no relationship is easy. They require a lot of time, effort and love. However, if you find yourself more anxious than excited and just going through the motions of life, it may be because you have lost your sense of self. Relationships are supposed to feel liberating and energising. It’s a huge red flag if it’s only your significant other who feels that way. Are you constantly worried about their happiness? Do you spend more time being anxious than you do being happy? Does your relationship drain your energy? Do things constantly seem difficult, no matter how much you work at things?