How do I keep from losing myself in this relationship? Who am I, now that I’m married? Questions that many women secretly struggle with, once they are in a committed relationship or once they get married. Can you identify with this, living day by day, searching for your identity, searching for who you were before the relationship or before you got married, searching for answers, searching for that part of you that you feel is now lost, that part of you that you believe has died.
Is this you?
You were outgoing, loved the movies, loved traveling, loved to hang out with friends and family, loved going to the spa, loved reading, loved volunteering, loved your service organizations, loved many things; you knew your likes and your dislikes, you were the self-care queen, you had a mind of your own, you had voice, and you had your own identity. What happened to her, what happened to you? Where did you go, when did you stop living, when did you decide to give up who you were for the sake of the relationship or the marriage? At what point did you lose sight of who you are, when did you stop being yourself, and at what point did you stop showing up in your own life.
This happens in the lives of many women
This happens to women who stop living once they are in a relationship or after they get married; women who find themselves, looking for themselves because they have lost themselves in their relationship.
According Beverly Engel, psychotherapist and author of Loving Him Without Losing You, women who lose themselves in their relationship is a “Disappearing Woman”, “a woman who tends to sacrifice her individuality, her beliefs, her career, her friends, and sometimes her sanity whenever she’s in a romantic relationship.”
Have you disappeared?
Have you lost touch with who you are, what you like or dislike, have you given up activities you enjoy, activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, and have you stop living life and have little to no time for yourself, family, or friends?
Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy life, you shouldn’t feel or act as if life has ended, it doesn’t mean that you should give up things that make you happy and bring you joy, you don’t have to give up your passions, interests, goals, or dreams because you’re in a relationship or married. The more you give up yourself, the more you lose yourself and eventually you will begin to resent the person you become and will regret not living life.
Losing yourself in your relationship is the easiest thing to do
However, it’s not impossible to keep from doing so; and to keep from losing yourself, I encourage you to consider the following:
Know who you are – Don’t allow the relationship to define you, have your own separate identity, don’t become so consumed with the relationship that you forget about yourself. The relationship doesn’t make you who you are, you bring your uniqueness to the relationship, and make it what it is.
Participate in activities you enjoy – Stay involved in the things you like doing and don’t stop enjoying life because you’re in a relationship. It’s important for you to have your own interests and activities aside from the relationship, doing so will keep you from depending on your partner to fulfill your every need.
Find ways to give back to the community – Support and get involved with volunteering for your favorite cause. Helping others will fulfill your need of belonging, boost your self-esteem, make you feel thankful, grateful, happy, and give you fulfillment in life.
Stay connected with friends and family – Don’t give up or neglect your family and friends, now that you’re in a relationship. Continue to nourish those relationships, spend time with them, and continue to support them when possible. Don’t neglect those who were there for you, before the relationship. It’s healthy to have friends outside of the relationship.
Practice self-care – Schedule time for yourself, either with your girlfriends or by yourself for a day at the spa, a girls’ getaway, or just time alone to reflect, refresh, and to rejuvenate. Self-care is important.
Don’t stop being you – Stay true to your values and beliefs and don’t compromise, sacrifice, or disregard them. When you give up your values and beliefs in a relationship, you lose YOU. Don’t stop being yourself, and never stop showing up in your own life.
Speak up – Know that you have a voice; your thoughts, opinions, feelings, and concerns matter. Don’t keep silent and agree with ideas or statements, when you know you disagree. Express yourself, and stand up and speak up for what you believe in.