A few days ago I was watching Selling Sunset on Netflix. In the episode where Chrishell Stause and Justin Hartley get a divorce, I was heartbroken to see how he blindsided her. What’s more, the fact that he ended the relationship through text messages shows how egotistical some men can be.
But something else raised my eyebrows in those episodes: Specifically, when Christine said that Chrishell had lost her identity when she married Justin. In a way, she was right. Every article referred to her as “Justin Hartley’s wife” — even though she was successful before and after marrying him.
But this happens to many of us when we go into a relationship. We tend to lose our identities — and even ourselves. We commit to the “us” part of the relationship too much, without thinking much about what it means to us as a person.
Many women after giving birth tend to fade away, leaving behind friends, careers, and their true selves to make the family dynamic work.
We as women tend to put our needs and ourselves after others. After all, we are nurturers by nature, and we like to give more than receive.
And this is why we often lose our identities once we get into a relationship. Somewhere during our relationships, the line between supporting our significant other and putting them ahead of us becomes less and less clear and, not many know how to tread it carefully.
Furthermore, with losing your identity comes a growing gap between the two of you. You feel lost, you forget who you are, how to be alone, and most importantly, you forget that others love you and need you too.
So what can you do not to fall into that trap?
First of all, learn to be alone. Go out alone, have lunch at a restaurant, travel — just be comfortable with being by yourself. This is the most important thing you can do to help yourself never lose your path. Being alone takes work and time to finally feel comfortable with. But it’s incredibly worthwhile.
Once you take time to understand yourself, you will learn about your boundaries, your priorities, and your likes and dislikes. This will be a guide for you when you enter a new relationship. It will help you understand what you need and what needs to be done about it.
Secondly, always — and I repeat always — do what’s best for you and what makes you happy. Of course, you should share your life with someone, but make sure that you’re not losing yourself, your passions, or the little things that make you, YOU!
Last but not least, don’t settle. Don’t overlook things that make you feel uncomfortable because it’s a “part of the package.” Once you look the other way in regards to something you believe in or feel strongly about, it’s just like a ripple effect. You will slowly let go of other things and other people in your life because they don’t sit well with your new relationship. And that’s no way to live.
To quote Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.”