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How to Find Yourself Again in a Relationship

by Megan Sheckells

Photo by Arianna Jadé from Pexels


“They complete me,” and “You’re my better half”—I’ve heard phrases like these for as long as I can remember. Not only do we put romantic relationships on a pedestal, but we also idolize this idea of a bond so perfect that we become one with our significant other. Which is all lovely for a while, until one day we look in the mirror and realize we may have lost ourselves along the way to the perfect unity with another.


Don’t get me wrong, relationships can be amazing, and they can help us feel brave knowing we are part of a team and don’t have to face our struggles or joys solo. The only problem is when we make the relationship the center of our being, and we look around when our significant other is busy for the day, wondering what we’ll do with ourselves. Maybe we are out of touch with our old hobbies or haven’t met with friends that weren’t mutual with our significant other in quite some time.


Regardless of how amazing your relationship may be, it’s good to take the time for self-exploration regularly. Katie Lasson, a Clinical Sexologist, and Relationship Advisor at Peaches and Screams state that, “Taking the time to meditate, write a diary, or just sit down and think about what you have done during the day provides an opportunity to get to know yourself, as a result of which your relationship no longer defines who you are and you become aware of your desires and needs.”


This approach seems beneficial because while our friends, family, and other relationships are important, our sense of self should come from within. Self-reflection in forms like those allows us to truly examine how we respond to things or take action in our lives. Lasson recognizes that we tend to assume we know ourselves but don’t always take the time to be sure that assumption is true. When was the last time you truly considered what your priorities are? Or what it is that makes those things priorities in the first place?


Lasson argues that the reason these practices can be so helpful is that, “You have to have a healthy relationship with yourself before you can have a healthy relationship with anyone else. That is why self-awareness—meditation can help—is the key to realizing that you are responsible for your happiness. Your partner won't make you happy.”


This seems to be something people may have heard but tend to ignore. We do tend to believe we’ll be happier if we have someone else around, but it doesn’t do great things for helping us continue our journey. We can get so swept up in the relationship that we don’t remember who we are when we are apart from our partners.


Amalia Sirica, a writer with a background in clinical social work and expertise in relationships, states that “If someone has an ill-defined sense of self going into a relationship, it is unlikely that the relationship will make their sense of self clearer. It is more likely that they will further morph and shift to please and be accepted by whoever they are around.”


And she makes a good point. When we are so intertwined with someone else without that prior knowledge, it is easy to feel lost in a relationship. Much like two separate paint colors blend to create a new color, two people can blend in the relationship and lose the sense of what their traits were when they were on their own.


So, if you’re currently trying to rediscover yourself in a relationship, try turning to some time alone and reflecting on what it is that you like or dislike, and all the other small things that make you, you. Self-discovery shouldn’t end when you find your partner and have someone to share it with. If anything, you have even more of a reason to let your true self shine, knowing that you have a safe person to do so with.


Taking the time to explore your interests and needs is not only important for you alone, but as a bonus, it can also help strengthen your bond with your partner as you can come to them as your authentic self without the need to put on any kind of display. Bottom line, make sure you prioritize dating yourself in a sense, and get to know what makes you tick.

 

Sources:

Sirica, Amalia. Personal Interview, 20 Jul. 2021.

Lasson, Katie. Personal Interview, 20 Jul. 2021.

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