We’ve all been there. You’re living your best life – work, friends, family – everything seems to be going right, even your anxiety is under control. Just when you think things can’t get any better, in walks the most wonderful stranger to turn your entire world upside down.
Or right side up – you decide.
Before meeting my husband, my love life was a disaster to say the least. BUT it taught me everything I needed, to have an open mind so that when I did meet this man in the streets of Belgrade, I knew our relationship was different. He was the (ever so talked about) one.
The realization that this relationship was different wasn’t going to be enough to make it last. Relationships after all, are about compromise and (if you haven’t heard) hard work. I’ve had it happen in the past that I would conform – negatively. Slowly but surely, parts of me would just drop off during the course of a relationship. Unsurprisingly leaving the relationship to crumble because I had nothing keeping me going while my co-dependency on my partner skyrocketed. Hopefully the 7 ways I stopped losing myself in relationships will resonate enough to recall that you are a strong and powerful person that can blossom in self-love and love for your partner simultaneously.
1. Make Sure You & Your Partner Are On The Same Page
I can’t emphasize just how important this is. Don’t be scared of having important conversations early on. You want monogamy – have that convo. Don’t try to give hints and signals. Have the conversation, in a relaxing setting. It’s SO MUCH EASIER, than trying to hint around at things or worse trying to test your partner.
Fun fact: For my husband and I – he actually had the convo with me. (Which was GREEN flag #1 for me) He called my cell – albeit I was in Greece with my friends –and put himself out there. The vulnerability was real. We spoke about how BOTH of us were scared of starting long distance and we had to know where the other stood in seriousness of our relationship. Guess what? I walked in from the balcony and the first thing I said to my friends was “I’m going to marry this man.”
Of course they looked at me like I had three heads but the point is – I felt confident to say that, because we had a conversation that laid the foundation of our entire relationship. #Adulting.
2. By All Means – Do NOT Become Co-Dependent
Yes, your partner makes you happy – but you saw happiness before this person ever entered your life. You created happiness all on your own. Having an unhealthy emotional reliance on your partner neglects your own feelings. Your partner should add to your happiness in life, not be the sole reason you’re happy.
3. Know Your Self-Worth
Hi, did you forget that you’re amazing? You have made it this far with all of the nonsense that life has thrown your way. You, (and you alone) made it through that. That’s not a little task that you’ve completed. It’s HUGE. Maybe there were some scuffs along the way but you’ve still figured out the things that are healthy for you and the things that are dreadful. Be you. This world needs you to show up. Just because you’ve started a new journey alongside someone who brings you joy does not mean the old you disappears and fails to exist.
4. Red Flags Are There For A Reason – Don’t Ignore Them
Infatuations in particular are so hard to work through. We tend to look at the potential of a partner, leaving us skipping over red flags as if they weren’t even there. Please pay attention. Your partner might have the potential to be the one – but if your instincts are pushing you to question your relationship, it’s probably for good reason. No reason is good enough to have you skip a red flag thinking “well, maybe I can help them change…”. There are plenty of areas that as partners we can grow and make stronger but chances are if this person is a serial cheater and defensively doesn’t want to get rid of those dating apps – then they probably aren’t in this relationship for the right reason. (See the importance of #1) Take off the rose coloured glasses and don’t settle for someone’s potential. We’re only here for a short period of time – make the most of it.
5. Don’t Forget Your Support System
This one I personally learned the hard way. If your relationship has you dropping your friends and people who have helped you become the person you are today – then that partner isn’t right for you. I had a relationship where my friends were dropping like flies – and I let them. I let one person come in between friendships I had been cultivating for years. At that point I was very much co-dependent on finding the right person for me, and conformed to everything just to make the potential of the relationship work. I failed. The relationship was a bust – thankfully I found my feet on the ground again and realized my own self-worth.
Your support system is there for you and for good reason: They love you for you. For the person that you truly are in your core. These are the people you can lean on and the ones you want to hold up on their bad days. Don’t forget about them.
6. Hold Onto Things That Bring You Joy
Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful doing things as a couple – but don’t forget about your 30 second dance parties. Don’t let your hiking boots pick up dust or your sewing machine get locked in a closet never to see the light of day again. Hold onto those things that make you, you. Chances are your partner was attracted to you because you radiated your own energy. These little things that bring you joy add to your energy. Don’t let them slip away just because you have someone by your side. If your partner is the person you’re supposed to be with – they will definitely be supporting the ideas and tasks that bring you peace.
7. Communication Nation
You’ve heard it once, and you’ll hear it again. Communication is key. Particularly in long-distance relationships where both of you have grown up and had completely different environments mould your perspectives and experiences in life. Take the time to communicate – in a healthy manner, the things you want to build in your relationship. If that means you need to focus on something that is going to help yourself grow, so that your relationship can ultimately thrive – then that’s a conversation that has to happen with your partner. Find ways to communicate that don’t include “…You’re doing X,Y and Z wrong …” (I’m still guilty of this – nobody is perfect.) But acknowledging that something has to be worked on is the first step.
Take a minute to reflect on what you’ve just read – and let me know below if there’s anything you would add to the list! I would love to hear your ideas about staying true to yourself in relationships!
If you’re in the mood for more self-love, check out some of my favourite reads in my Self-Love Shop, and feel free to recommend your favourite reads to me, I’m always looking to expand my library!
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