Are you losing yourself in a relationship? Reminds me of a song by 6LACK which goes like, “I don’t wanna lose myself loving you…You know everything ’cause I put it in my songs. If I tell you that I’m working, I ain’t out doing you wrong. I got too much on my plate to add some s**t that I don’t need. I ain’t asking you for space, just some room to f**king breathe.”
To spend every waking moment being in love feels amazing until it leads to a major identity crisis. Eventually, everything that makes you ‘you’ starts getting dissolved into the likes and dislikes of your partner. And you end up thinking, “Who am I? Am I even myself anymore? I feel like I can’t be myself in my relationship.” So, what are the signs of losing yourself in a relationship? And how to find yourself after losing yourself in a relationship? Let’s find out.
What Does It Mean To Lose Yourself In A Relationship?
Jennifer Lopez shared some solid advice on self-love and loving someone else, in an interview, “You’ve got to love yourself first. You’ve got to be OK on your own before you’re OK with someone else. You’ve got to value yourself and know that you’re worth everything. And until you value yourself enough and love yourself enough to know that, you can’t really have a healthy relationship.”
As she articulates, it is very important to maintain your unique individual identity when you are in a relationship. If you often feel numb, unsure, and live life on autopilot mode, it could be one of the signs that you are losing yourself in a relationship. Are you someone whose primary identity is that you are someone’s partner? Have you stopped doing things that you don’t have in common with your partner? These could be the signs you are in an emotionally draining relationship.
Losing yourself feels like not being in control of your life. It also feels like being excessively involved in your partner’s life and vice versa. It can feel like betraying your heart, soul and mind, and being unfair to yourself. Do you constantly find yourself saying, “I feel like I can’t be myself in my relationship”? Why do you feel so? Are you in an unhealthy relationship? What are the things that you are doing wrong? Let’s dive in.
8 Signs You Are Losing Yourself In A Relationship
Losing yourself is worse than losing people you love. The relationship that you have with yourself sets the foundation for the relationships you have with others. So if you are losing yourself in a relationship, it will have a ripple effect on everything else in your life. What are some of the signs? Let’s find out:
1. You have stopped doing things that you love
Have you become so absorbed in your relationship that you have stopped taking time out for things that you genuinely love? It could be spending time with friends, singing, dancing, meditating, or writing. If your hobbies or interests have taken a backseat, it is one of the signs of losing yourself in a relationship.
Related Reading: 13 Beautiful Ways To Date Yourself
My mother said this to me, “I’ve seen myself lose my sense of self in a relationship. After becoming a wife and mother, I stopped taking care of myself physically. I used to eat well and exercise but discontinued that. I got so busy taking care of people that I forgot about myself. I stopped putting effort into doing my hair and makeup. I stopped caring about the way I look.”
2. Solitude feels like a nightmare
As the lyrics to the song by Jhené Aiko go, “…F**k all your free time. You don’t need no me time. That’s you and me time…” That might sound cool as a song but in reality, you need me time. This free time is actually a way to retain your individual identity apart from your relationship. This holds true especially for an introvert and extrovert relationship.
So, if spending time alone happens rarely and even if you do, you are busy texting/ talking on the phone with your partner or daydreaming about them, it is one of the signs that you are losing yourself in the process of loving someone.
3. Your friends and family members are worried about you
When I lost myself in a toxic relationship, my friends and family members could see it months before I could. They kept telling me that I had become a different version of myself. I was in complete denial so I would never believe them when they would say all these things.
Don’t make the same mistake and take the advice of your loved ones seriously. If they are worried about you, it is not something that you should ignore. When we are in love, we put on rose-tinted glasses and so we need people who can shake us and give us a reality check.
4. What is the meaning of losing yourself in a relationship? Lack of boundaries
Do you find yourself agreeing to be a part of plans and activities you don’t necessarily enjoy doing? For example, you might be an introvert who loves reading books or introspecting in your free time. But ever since you have been in a relationship, you force yourself to go to parties just because your partner is an extrovert.
Not being able to put yourself first and reluctance to voice your likes and dislikes to your partner could be the signs that you are losing yourself in the process of loving someone. Losing yourself feels like the inability to say ‘No’ to things you don’t want to do or don’t have the time for. Setting emotional boundaries in relationships is very important.
5. Your life is centered around your partner
What are the signs that you are losing yourself in a relationship? To help you find the answer to this question, we have a few follow-up questions: Is your partner all you ever think about or talk about or dream about? Do you hardly have a life outside of your relationship and your social life keeps shrinking because you keep canceling other plans to spend time with your partner?
Have you changed so much for them that now you are just a carbon copy of your partner? Is your happiness totally dependent on your partner and you lose your mind if your relationship is not going well? Do you take your partner’s approval in making the smallest of decisions? Are you so scared to lose your partner that you end up compromising yourself, more than you should? All these are indisputable signs of a codependent relationship.
Maybe, there is a false reward or payoff involved. For example, “My partner treats me like shit but damn, he is awesome in bed.” Or your partner is rich/famous/ powerful and you’ve tied your identity so closely to their stature that you’d do anything to keep it, even if it means letting them walk all over you.
6. You feel disconnected from your own feelings
Alan Robarge, Attachment Trauma Therapist, points out on his YouTube channel, “It is self-betrayal if you are denying your own needs and desires by rationalizing and telling yourself that it’s okay to stay in a chaotic, unsatisfying, challenging relationship that only causes chronic disappointment. You keep giving the benefit of the doubt to your partner, even when this relationship lacks consistent emotional stability and you constantly feel misunderstood, rejected, and depleted.
“If you know that your partner is showing a lesser degree of emotional availability and you are still trying to convince yourself to be okay with that level of interaction, you end up shutting yourself down and feeling disconnected with your own feelings. Losing yourself in a relationship can feel like a dissociated, trance-like state of not being fully present, as you are pretending and convincing yourself that you are happy, even when deep inside you know that you are not.”
7. You put your partner on a pedestal
Do you spiral into loops like, “I don’t deserve my partner and they are too good for me. I must have gotten lucky. How could an amazing person like them fall for me?” If you are blind to your partner’s faults and justify their wrong behaviors, these are signs you are losing yourself in a relationship.
The character Pacey Witter from Dawson’s Creek is the epitome of someone who makes his partner the center of his universe. He suffers from low self-esteem and hence he idealizes his partner. There is a scene in which Pacey asks Andie, “Why do you like me? I’m a screw-up, Andie. I’m thoughtless. I’m insecure. And for the life of me, I cannot understand why a woman like you would bother to care about me.”
In the show, when Andie was sick, Pacey adopted the primary identity of Andie’s caretaker. This is why Pacey went through a huge existential crisis after his breakup because he lost himself in his relationship and didn’t know what he was apart from being Andie’s ‘boyfriend’.
8. You constantly look for distractions
My friend Paul told me, “I lost myself in a toxic relationship. But instead of owning up to myself about how unhappy I was, I started drowning myself in unhealthy coping mechanisms. I started drinking more, binge-eating junk food, or working extra hours just to avoid facing reality. I didn’t want to leave her so I distracted myself. How could I lose my sense of self in a relationship? All I wanted was to feel myself again and I didn’t know how.”
If you are struggling like Paul did, don’t worry, there is a guide to not losing yourself in a relationship. If identity can be lost, it can be found too. Becoming aware that you are losing yourself in a relationship is itself a powerful revelation. Once you have become honest with yourself, it becomes easier to mend your relationship with yourself. Here are a few steps that can help you in finding yourself.
5 Steps To Find Yourself Again
Have you seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love? Do you remember how Liz lost herself in her marriage and used the divorce as a wake-up call for self-discovery? She stepped out of her comfort zone and embarked on a journey to know herself. She went to Italy, India, and Bali and learned some valuable lessons on love, life, and relationships.
So, losing yourself in a relationship is a great opportunity for you to get in touch with yourself and find answers to some difficult questions. What do you really want from life? What are the activities that make you genuinely happy? When you feel numb, what path do you take to feel peaceful again? How to find yourself again after losing yourself in a relationship? Here are some steps that can help you.
1. Go solo
Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you stop enjoying solitude. Every once in a while, take out some ‘me time’. It could be going on a solo trip, shopping alone in a mall, eating alone at a café, running with earphones on, reading a book, or drinking alone at some bar. What is the key to not losing yourself in a relationship? Become your own best friend. Find your home in yourself. Learn to enjoy your own company.
Related Reading: How To Love Yourself – 21 Self Love Tips
2. Ground yourself
It is important to create a balance between your mind, body and soul. Grounding exercises can help you cope up with the fear of losing yourself in a relationship. Practice deep breathing. Spend some time in nature. Listen to soothing music. Get adequate sleep. Stay hydrated. Maintain a gratitude journal or a journal where you can vent. Do anything that moves your body like walking, dancing or swimming. Such grounding exercises will help you center yourself and feel like yourself again.
3. Prioritize other people too
Friendships are as important as relationships. So, just because you have a partner now doesn’t mean you underestimate the value of friendships in your life. Don’t forget to take some time out for people who were always there for you, through your ups and downs. How to find yourself again after losing yourself in a relationship? Hang out with people who make you feel like the truest version of yourself. Take some time out for childhood friends, who love you even at your worst and don’t judge you or make you feel like you have to pretend in order to be accepted by them.
4. Be willing to walk away
In case mutual respect is fundamentally missing and your relationship has become toxic for your mental health, these are signs you need to walk away from a relationship. You have to believe in the possibility that you have the power to create the life you want and you don’t have to settle for anything less than that (and treat it as the new normal). Know that compromising yourself all the time is not okay and be vocal about it, if you continuously notice examples of losing yourself in a relationship.
5. Seek therapy
Therapy is the greatest gift that you can give to yourself. When you talk to a licensed therapist, you feel heard and validated. Finding a release for your thoughts at a therapy session could be a good way to cope up with the fear of losing yourself in a relationship. A therapist can help you identify problems (rooted in childhood trauma) and can even give suitable solutions. Our counselors at Bonobology’s panel are just a click away.
- Losing yourself in a relationship means feeling disconnected from your feelings and not being able to put yourself first
- If your loved ones are worried about you and you are unable to set healthy boundaries, you are losing yourself in a relationship
- To find yourself, take some time out for solo activities and practice grounding exercises that anchor you in the present moment
- Other tips to find yourself include seeking help from a licensed therapist and walking away from your partner if it’s getting too toxic for your mental health
In conclusion, don’t hesitate to put yourself first in your relationship. If you want space, just be assertive and express it to your partner. You can only make your partner happy if you can make yourself happy. Fill your own cup first. Protect your own mental health first. That is what you should do when you realize that you are losing yourself in a relationship.
Yes, if you are losing yourself in a relationship, it is very normal. Even strong and independent people lose their sense of self sometimes and end up being in an enmeshed relationship. That is why it is important to consciously put effort into your relationship with yourself, just like you consistently work hard on your relationship with your partner.
Losing yourself in a relationship feels like forgetting all the multiple identities you have and just giving importance to the identity of being someone’s partner. It feels like not being present in your own life, putting your own needs aside, and changing into a version of yourself that you cannot recognize anymore.