“Losing yourself in a relationship” is a trite phrase that we throw around all the time. But I’ve noticed that while people might talk about losing themselves in their relationships, they don’t work on finding themselves.
When you lose yourself, you begin acting in unappealing ways that don’t always align with who you are as a person.
The signs of feeling lost in a relationship tend to creep up on us. This makes figuring out how to find ourselves again all the more difficult.
Here are nine signs that you’ve lost yourself in your relationship:
1. You’ve lost touch with your goals, passions, and purpose.
Remember when you were so full of hope? Do you feel like your hope has been crushed and you’ve let your life’s purpose fall by the wayside?
That’s a big red flag that you’ve allowed yourself to take the backseat in your relationship.
2. Instead of speaking up about your desires, you hold them back.
I’m not sure why sometimes it seems so important to forgo what you want for what you think others want in your relationships.
Do we hold back for approval? So we don’t rock the boat?
Maybe we ignore what we want because it feels great at the moment.
When you ignore your desires and wants, you put your head in the sand. You go on like you’re perfectly OK until regret and resentment overtake you, and you just can’t stand your feelings any longer.
3. You’re just going through the motions.
When you’re losing yourself, life is an endless cycle of “Wake up, go to work, eat, sleep. Carve out a few minutes of quality time on the weekend. Rinse. Repeat.”
Surviving instead of living wasn’t at all what you pictured when you plotted out the way you thought your life would be.
And when you lose yourself in your relationships, your sense of humor seems to go on hiatus as well. Fun…
4. You’re living a worried, fear-based life.
You’ve allowed the “what-ifs” to lurk around you and rule your life.
Thinking about the what-ifs all the time is exhausting, and it’s a trap. Fear and worry tell you that you have control when you really have none. That groundlessness is both terrifying and freeing, but it can only free you if you let joy into your life. Right now, the “what-ifs” feel downright overwhelming, and they’re wrecking your relationships.
5. You’re controlling others.
It’s vitally important to you that everyone else act exactly how you expect them to.
You don’t know who you are anymore, but you’re pretty convinced you know how everyone else is.
If someone else were to be happy, it would force you to consider why you can’t do the same. Ouch.
6. You attend to everyone else’s needs first.
To everyone around you, you come off like a long-suffering, put-upon martyr. Martyrdom might work for religious figures, but sacrificing yourself for your relationships isn’t good for you. In fact, it’s the death knell for everyone’s attraction to you.
When you don’t take responsibility for the fact that you’ve snuffed out your own light, it’s easy to look around and decide that it’s someone else’s fault. This is both a cop-out and a way to absolve yourself of responsibility for your own happiness.
7. Your emotional range is blunted.
Joy and happiness are fleeting. You might not be anxious and depressed, but you’re flirting with painful feelings.
Unfortunately, your ability to experience anger is probably bubbling right below the surface, ready to jump out and hurt anyone in its path.
8. You use anything to fill the void you feel.
Since real joy feels like such a long way off that it’s practically unobtainable, it’s tempting to look for something to fill the gnawing hole in your soul.
Temporary relief, like losing whole days to Netflix marathons, eating yourself out of house and home, drinking, or shopping. You know it won’t work, but you just want to feel again.
9. You feel like you’ve sold out.
You wake up every morning with a vague sense that you can’t live your dreams. Real talk: If you lose yourself, it won’t happen.
Unless you make a change now.
Losing yourself is like throwing your own oxygen mask out the window and then trying to share your partner’s mask. It doesn’t work, and it’s impossible long-term. But if you remember your hopes and dreams and work towards them, I promise you’ll find yourself again.
Elizabeth Stone is a dating and personal development coach. Find out more by getting yourself a free copy of her book, Why Men Lose Interest and free daily (almost) email series.
Previously published on Digital Romance, Inc. and YourTango.