YOU are what matters first.
Why do we lose ourselves in a relationship?
My own marriage was an extreme example of this dilemma. I rushed into things because I got pregnant — not because I was in love. I quickly became a faint shadow of myself to a controlling, verbally abusive man in order to survive and avoid his wrath.
Many examples of this problem are less severe, yet just as important to understand and deal with.
Women — more than men — have a tendency to get so wrapped up in their relationships that they start giving up parts of themselves thinking they will better please their partner.
We cancel plans with friends, stop our favorite hobbies, alter our values — not necessarily because we were asked or forced to ... but because we think we’re making him happy.
But why do we sacrifice ourselves?
We have this notion that we have to be the best at everything and literally give it our all at the expense of our true identity. We want to be the best wife, best mother, best employee, best friend ... but in the process we deny our own needs to the point that we become a shell of our former selves - that very self that attracted him in the first place!
Continuing this ‘over giving’ and self denial really has no benefit. Certainly not to your spouse, who starts wondering where you disappeared to, and definitely not to your children who are looking to you as an example of how to behave.
Moreover, this seemingly selfless behavior will ultimately be detrimental to your long term well-being.
How can you be happy if you suddenly realize you don’t know who you are anymore? What happens when you give so much, you’ve given it all away?
Our panel of YourTango Experts have some firm, yet sensitive solutions to offer on this problem.
Our Senior VP Melanie Gorman leads this insightful discussion with Author and Relationship Expert John Gray, Psychotherapist Tabatha Bird Weaver, Marriage & Family Therapist Dr. Foojan Zeine and Marriage & Couples Counselor Garet Bedrosian. They approach this topic from different angles, but ultimately come to similar solutions that are sure to speak to your heart if you’re suffering from loss of self in your relationship.