If you're at all like me, you very easily lose yourself in a relationship the second it really starts up. You find yourself spending the majority entire time with the person your dating — and, even when you're not together, you're basically spending all of your free time thinking about the person. Their interests, tastes, and activities somehow become the center of your universe. You find yourself listening to their favorite music and watching all of their favorite movies.
Somehow, within the matter of a few weeks or months — sometimes even days — your world goes from your life focusing on your own work, doing activities that you enjoy, and hanging out with friends regularly to spending the majority of your time with your new guy. Your friends seem to wonder if you disappeared off the face of the earth and you've seem to have completely forgotten what life was like to be single.
Many women struggle with this. In fact, we are biologically hardwired to be dependent. When we are falling in love, the part of the brain where critical thinking takes places shuts down. We then also tend to get all hyper-empathetic with the person, just as a mother would with her baby. It's kind of a natural maternal-based instinct, though it can cause us a lot of imbalance and, ultimately, stress and problems in our relationships.
So what are some things that we can do to help prevent this from happening so we can feel like we have equally as much freedom in our relationships as the guy does and still feel happy and loved? Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Establish A Routine For "Me" Time
One thing that I find incredibly important is to make your own "me" time a routine so that it becomes a habit. It can take a more conscious effort starting out (especially in the beginning of a new relationship when everything is so exciting and fresh). Set a weekly schedule for yourself. Make Thursdays your night out with your girlfriends. Make Wednesdays a night out to take your painting class. Set at least 2 days a week where you schedule things to simply just do things for you— and make sure that it has nothing to do with him.
2. Have Space From Each Other
You don't have to be in touch with one another 24/7. If he texts or calls you, you don't need to always respond right away just as he doesn't with you. Create some space in the way you electronically communicate.
3. Speak Up For Yourself
If you really don't necessarily like one of his interests, it is okay to say so. If you don't want to go do an activity that he likes to do, it's okay to not go. You can try it out and given him the respect and support he needs with it, but remember that it's not a bad thing to not be completely on the same page with every single thing. Same goes for your own beliefs and opinions— political, religious, or whatever. It's actually a good thing to not agree on everything! And it's not that one person ever has to be "right" or "wrong" but you can both agree to disagree, and still hold respect and love for one another.
4. Check In With Yourself
For many women, when we've lost ourselves in a relationship we are completely disconnected from our own feelings because we are so incredibly focused on our love interest's feelings. So take the time throughout the day to really check in with how your feeling. And —better yet — do it when you're completely alone and having some "me" time. And pay special attention if you have any anger built up inside, as that is an emotion that is commonly repressed in women who lose themselves in their relationships.
5. Be On The Lookout For Red Flags
If he always only wants to spend his time with you and only you, if he doesn't like it when you go and "do your own thing," or if he's jealous that you're going to go hang out with your girlfriends then it may be a sign that the guy your dating is a bit on the too needy side of things. If this comes up, you may want to drop in the idea of him having some of his own "me" time with friends or to do whatever. Though, if it is a consistent issue where you feel like he doesn't respect you having your own space, then it may be a sign to call it quits.
6. Take Action Now
What are some things that you enjoy doing while single that you noticed you stop doing once you're in a relationship? Them down on a sheet of paper or in a journal. Now find a way to do it! Plan it, and write it in your calendar — if it's not scheduled in your calendar, then it's not happening, so be sure to actually write it down!
Share your personal realization in the comments below!
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