Defined by your relationship

(Photo by Ryan Hueglin)
(Photo by Ryan Hueglin)

Relationships are exciting when they first begin, as you enjoy spending time with them. Sometimes, we lose our sense of self because we’ve become so immersed with our relationship that we begin to adapt different traits that are not known to us before. When spending so much time with another person, you are introduced to new hobbies, habits and behaviour. It is inevitable that being with another person will change you.  However, a healthy relationship is also one where you give yourself time to concentrate on yourself and stay true to who you are and who you want to become.

Wilfrid Laurier University student Ellen Wessel described losing your identity in a relationship as a negative aspect of being in a relationship. “I think that you can spend so much time with someone that you lose track of what your personal goals, dreams and beliefs are,” Wessel said.

Tiffani Tran, another Laurier student, had similar beliefs stating, “The time you had to do things you liked before being in a relationship no longer becomes a priority because you now have to make time for your significant other.”

It’s important in a relationship not to forget who you are and what you set out to accomplish. A healthy relationship is one in which your partner supports you and encourages you to live up to your aspirations without losing yourself in the process. Also, in a healthy relationship both individuals should leave time for themselves.

Sometimes we spend so much time with our significant other that we don’t spend enough time with our friends and family.  Making time for important people in our lives such as friends and family is essential to keeping one’s identity, especially those that you used to spend so much time with before getting into a relationship.

Third-year English student Emily Bull was in a relationship for three years when she was in high school and became so immersed in her relationship that she almost lost her friends as a result.

“I was in a relationship with a guy for three years in high school and could only see him on weekends. So when I wasn’t at school, I was with him,” Bull said. “My friends started to get really bitter and mad about it, but they never got to the point where they cut off ties with me. I was lucky that they were somewhat understanding about it.”

Bull said that you only realize you’ve begun losing your identity, “when someone outside of the situation points it out to you. Also, if it gets to the point where your friends aren’t talking to you anymore, then that’s a big red light.”

There are many simple things that you can do to avoid losing yourself in a romantic relationship. Tran explained that in order to avoid losing your identity in a relationship it is important to have your own separate life aside from the relationship and to continue pursuing your passions.

“Don’t let the relationship define you and be all that you have,” Tran advised. “I think it’s important to have something you’re passionate about. Relationships aren’t guaranteed to last, so if you don’t have anything else besides the relationship, you’ll be miserable.”

Tran and Wessel encourage those in relationships to take time out of the day to be alone, be honest with yourself and give yourself time to do what you need to accomplish. When you are happy with yourself, you have the power to make everyone around you happy as well.

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