Being in a relationship makes you feel confident, excited, and fulfilled. Whether it’s old or new, being with another person who is compatible and loving can bring a whole new level of meaning to your life. However, what happens when your relationship becomes everything to you?
It’s not uncommon for people to become so attached to their significant other that they lose sight of themselves. They’re tied to their partner in a way that’s unhealthy and problematic. This can lead to a lot of pain during the relationship . . . and after.
So, today, we’re discussing how to be independent in a relationship. It’s best for your mental health, self-esteem, and relationship if each of you maintains your own identity and holds fast to your individual values. So, here’s how to be yourself even when you’re romantically or emotionally linked to another person:
How To Be Independent In A Relationship
Two independent people with autonomy being united is one of the hallmarks of a healthy relationship. However, when falling in love, it can be really easy to let your whole world revolve around your S.O.
Soon, you can become dependent, insecure, and isolated. When this happens, it can mark the downfall of your relationship and your mental health. So, you need to maintain your independence even when your tummy is full of butterflies!
What Does It Mean To Be Independent In A Relationship?
When you’re independent in a romantic relationship, it means that you stay the main character of your own life! You won’t become a side character to support the growth, passions, and emotions of your partner exclusively. You stay focused on your path while sharing the joy of life with another person. Of course, that’s a bit abstract, so we’ll list some practical ways of staying independent later in the post.
Why Being Independent In A Relationship Is Important
You never know if a relationship is forever. And, more than that, you never know if the bliss you feel right now in this relationship is forever. If you compromise your independence, that means compromising your boundaries, values, and goals. Usually, it leaves you with reduced self-worth and no sense of confidence without your partner’s approval and affection.
Without independence, you can find yourself totally without a sense of self after a few months or years in your relationship. This turns your happy relationship into a totally dreadful experience as you descend into a complete identity crisis. Plus, if the relationship ends, you’ll feel like you’re nothing without the other person.
However, you are SO valuable as an individual. You should never be so connected to another that you lose your sense of independence and self-worth. If this is something you usually fall into, don’t worry. You can learn how to be independent in a relationship by listening to this advice from the Him & Her podcast and by practicing these tips below:
How To Keep Your Independence In A Relationship:
Prioritize hobbies that are just yours.
Though having pastimes that you share with your partner can have its benefits, you definitely need to maintain your own hobbies and interests outside of your partner. Having these hobbies will give you a sense of purpose and individuality.
So, make sure you’re always scheduling time to engage in your passions. If you need ideas on how to spend this self-care time and what hobbies to try, listen to the episode of What We Said titled “20 Ways to Spend Time Alone.”
Reflect regularly on your core values.
Whenever you’re in a relationship, it’s a good idea to check in on your core values. It’s easy to little by little compromise your boundaries and beliefs to try to make a relationship work. This is never beneficial, and only leads to heartache, as podcast host Caroline Stanbury in this episode of Divorced Not Dead admits. So, stick to what you believe no matter what!
Hang out with your friends without your partner.
You have more relationships to maintain than just your boyfriend or girlfriend. Your friends and family are an integral part of your healthy relationship. Not only can they support your partnership, but they can identify red flags and help build you up as an individual. Though it’s definitely a good idea to see those you love with your S.O., spend time alone with your social group too.
Stay focused on your goals.
Even when you’re in a long term relationship, stay focused on your own goals. Just because you commit to another person, doesn’t mean you give up on your dream in favor of whatever they’re doing. A loving relationship involves mutual support for one another’s aspirations! So, hold onto your identity by never losing sight of your passions! (Learn more about this in this episode of the Him & Her podcast.)
Set and keep boundaries.
As you form a bond with someone, your boundaries must be clear. Communicate those to your significant other and don’t yield. If you ever feel pushed, take that as your sign to leave or push back, rather than to change your values. These boundaries will always remind you of your worth and help you maintain your independence!
Allow your S.O. to be independent too.
If you’re already a codependent person, you may be compromising your partner’s independence. You could be interfering with your partner’s happiness and individuality by demanding they always be with you, gain your approval, and validate you. Your S.O. needs independence too in order for you to have a healthy relationship.
So, if you feel like you might be the toxic one, don’t feel guilty. Get help from a therapist, or start taking steps to relinquish control and encourage your partner’s independence, while you cultivate your own individuality.
Always maintain your independence in a relationship by staying loyal to yourself.
When you start to lose who you are in a relationship, that’s a big red flag. If you’re in the early stages, act fast and start establishing your own identity again. However, if you’ve been in a relationship for years and you and your partner are completely co-dependent, consider seeing a couples or family therapist to restore your individuality.