Learning how to maintain your identity when you’re in a relationship is hard work. Relationships can never be perfect. You’ll always have to try to make them work. And, sometimes, they still might not work.
However, one of the most common relationship mistakes we make as humans is to rely too heavily on the other person. It’s almost as if we forget we have two legs of our own and need our partner as a crutch. When this happens, it’s dangerous.
Your relationship will not progress because you’ll constantly feel like you’re missing something – a part of yourself.
If you are dependent on your partner to be happy, feel safe or go out and do things, then you can never achieve true happiness.
In truth, happiness comes from yourself, and you’re responsible for finding and maintaining it. Your relationships shouldn’t impact your self-worth.
If you find yourself struggling to accept your independence in your relationship or let your partner be an individual, then these tips are for you.
1. Speak up about your emotions and wants.
The best way to become an individual is to recognize what makes you “you.” Your emotions, desires and interests make up you as a person, and you should never let any of them go unspoken when it matters.
If you are at peace with your own thoughts, dreams and feelings, then you can be a better friend or lover to others.
2. Get away from it all.
Spending all day, every day with anyone for too long gets exhausting. Take a break every now and then to space out, hang out with yourself or just meet with someone else.
It’s OK to get annoyed with the people you love, but it’s important to know when you need to leave the situation and re-center yourself. You might even find that taking breaks from each other on occasion actually strengthens your relationship and helps you further maintain your separate identity.
3. Embrace your different perspectives on life.
Everyone has differing world views, and your partners, friends and family are no exception. While you are bound to agree on the most important issues (according to you and them), you will disagree eventually.
As long as you don’t have to sacrifice your core beliefs to sustain the relationship, then entertaining opposing opinions is great. It leads to interesting discussions, and you learn more about the other person in the process.
4. Know your worth without them.
Basing your self-worth on your relationship to your partner is dangerous. If you believe that your life will fall apart without a certain person in your life, then you need to reevaluate your relationship with that person. Because you will be OK on your own, and no one should have the ability to take away a part of you, your personality or your joy.
Any relationship that makes you feel like you’re incapable on your own is unhealthy and potentially toxic. Relationships are meant to encourage you to be the best version of yourself, not regress to co-dependence.
5. Find your own hobbies.
This is probably the easiest and most important thing you can do right now to substantially change your relationship. If you want to be an individual, then you need to find things you are interested in; this can include activities you can do at home or in public.
Both individuals in a relationship should feel free to explore their interests unhindered. You do not need to do everything with your partner to be considered a couple. It is important to find your passion separate from your significant other.