"I" versus "we": Loss of Identity in Relationships

By

"I" versus "we": Loss of Identity in Relationships
Maintaining your individuality and independence while in a relationship can be a challenge.

I will admit that I am guilty of using the royal “we” when asked how my weekend was or what my plans are for the holidays.  After ten years of marriage, the majority of my plans include my husband so it’s understandable that my “I”s have warped into “we”s, right?  But where do you draw the line between partnership and loss of identity?


Over the course of a relationship, it’s common for partners to teach each other about the things they like and expose each other to new music, foods, interests and activities.  While we want to be able to enjoy our time with our partner and it’s fun to have shared interests, it is also healthy to have a balance between “I” and “we” in relationships.  You need a balance between you as an individual and you as half of a couple.  Having your own interests gives you additional outlets and sources of support.  Your individuality is also what keeps you interesting.  It gives you something to talk about and can also boost your self-esteem.

 

Maintaining your individuality and independence while in a relationship can be a challenge though.  So, here are some tips to help you find that balance and maintain your identity as an individual.

 

  • Don’t give up all of your friends.  While it is tempting to want to only hang out as a couple with other couples, don’t abandon your old friends.  Some will even go so far as to give up their friends for their partner’s friends.  Your friends play an important role in your life.  They know you as you, not just as part of the couple.  They can help keep you grounded and remind you of the goals and values you had pre-relationship.  They can also be an outlet for stress.  Afterall, who better to complain to than the friend you’ve known for 10 years?
  • Take up an old hobby.  What reminds you of your youth or your single days?  What is something that you used to love to do but you stopped doing because your partner wasn’t into it or because other things, like children, started taking priority?  Maybe it was a pilates class or going on sunrise hikes or Thursday night happy hour with the girls from work.  Whatever it was, try picking it up again.
  • Try something new.  This one might take some thought.  Think of something that you have always wanted to do or try but felt like you couldn’t because your partner wasn’t interested.  Instead of waiting for something your partner wants to do, do what you want to do on your own.  If you feel more comfortable, recruit a friend to try something new with you.
  • Encourage your partner to do his thing too.  Allow your partner some guilt-free time to engage in his own activities.  Whether it’s golf on the weekend or a poker night with the boys, let him have his time without giving him any grief for it.  This not only helps give him an outlet for stress but gives you some time to do things on your own.  The more supportive you are of him having his free time and own interests, the more supportive he will be of you having your own time and interests.
     
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Laura Fontaine

Relationship Coach

Laura Fontaine is a relationship coach who specializes in working with career women in committed relationships.  She helps them resolve their unique challenges so they connect with their partner from the heart, achieving and maintaining a deep, soul-satisfying bond.  Over a decade of working with individuals, couples, and families gives her a unique perspective on the workings of relationships and the power of the individual.  Her passion is to help women have the best relationships they can envision for themselves.  

Location: Queen Creek, AZ
Credentials: BCC, MS
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Marriage
Other Articles/News by Laura Fontaine:

Balancing Your Feminine and Masculine Sides

By

Lately I've been hit with a lot of messages about women, masculinity, and femininity and I've started to realize how out of balance I've been. Working longer hours, dealing with both of my dogs being diagnosed with cancerous tumors just months apart, and my mother-in-law being diagnosed with cancer have all contributed to a just-barrel-through-it ... Read more

The Do's and Don'ts of Honoring Your Man

By

In relationships men want to feel accepted and respected. Back in the day, housewives may have greeted their husbands with a drink as soon as he got home from work, fetched his paper and slippers, or maybe they submissively took on a "don't speak until spoken to" role. During the feminist movement, we broke free from some of the ... Read more

Rejection And Acceptance In Relationships

By

When you think of the word "rejection" what comes to mind? Maybe being turned down for a date? How about not getting the job you want? What probably doesn't come to mind is being rejected by your partner. In an ideal world, relationships would be your haven, your safe place. As you go through life and search for that "perfect" mate, ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB