How to avoid losing your sense of identity in a romantic relationship? Psychologist suggests tips
Are you losing your individuality in a romantic relationship? A psychologist suggests ten tips on maintaining your sense of identity while staying in a healthy relationship with your significant other.
When we are in a relationship, we often tend to make our lives revolve around that one person. Even our popular culture perpetuates that ideology of attaching yourself to your significant other. It leads to many losing their sense of self, feeling disconnected from who they are, and shaping their personality around their relationship. However, when we have a stable sense of self, we become capable of taking responsibility, having healthy connections, and paying attention to others' opinions and feelings. If you are also wondering how to avoid losing your sense of identity in a romantic relationship, we will help you out. We got in touch with a clinical psychologist from Delhi, Dr Samriddhi Khatri, who shared tips on maintaining individuality in a relationship.
Dr Samriddhi Khatri told Hindustan Times, "It is necessary to have your sense of identity inside and outside of your relationship. It doesn't mean that you are not ready to adjust or bend or are rigid. Moreover, it is healthy for you and your partner and other loved ones that you strike a balance."
She added, "Our popular culture, be it greeting cards, movies or romantic quotations we see on the internet, strongly suggests that you need someone to complete you. But the truth is we are not born incomplete. We are whole individuals. A partner or any other loved one in our life is there to help us grow and enhance our well-being through their companionship. If we live with the idea that somebody will complete us, then the minute they leave or are not around, we will lose our own sense of identity." So, here are some ways you can avoid it. (Also Read: How to improve compatibility with your partner, according to a psychologist)
Prioritise your Me-Time
"Schedule a me-time session in your daily routine where you spend some time alone to enhance your relationship with yourself. It is the first relationship you need to maintain to feel complete. You may do something productive or completely nothing during this time. But learn to be with yourself and comfortable in your company," Dr Khatri said.
Maintaining A Separate Relationship With Your Friends And Family
According to Dr Khatri, "it is great to have your friends and family getting along with your partner or vice versa. However, you must maintain your personal relationships with them the way you had before you met your partner. It shouldn't mean that you hide essential information from your significant other or talk to people when they are not around. But it is healthy to have your individual set of boundaries, interests or discussions with family and friends."
Not Seeking A Sense Of Worth From Your Partner
Dr Khatri remarked, "This is related to the sense of completion we often associate with our partners. We should not seek our sense of worth from our partners. Instead, look for it in things you are good at, your achievements and your personality. Rather than thinking that you are complete because you are with them."
Maintaining Your Interests
Dr Khatri explained, "Your partner doesn't need to share the same interests or do activities with you because you like them. Sometimes, one needs to prioritise things they love and enjoy them in a private space. Often, a person is interested in extreme sports, and their partner loves doing yoga or going on retreats. So, it does not mean that you become critical or force yourself to participate. Instead, you should maintain interest to boost your inner happiness and productivity."
Respecting The Other Person's Interest
"Even if it doesn't make sense to you, you mustn't discourage your partner from engaging in their area of interest and respect their privacy. Of course, if they are involved in unhealthy practices like gambling or binge drinking, one should stop their partner. But when it comes to other interests, one should encourage their partner to pursue them. For instance, don't discourage them from going to a spa session or watching a sport that they enjoy," Dr Khatri added.
Encouraging Your Significant Other To Maintain Their Relationships In A Certain Way
"One should avoid meddling with their significant other's personal relationships and giving their opinions on how they should treat other people because you are in their life. Motivate them to lead their relationships with their experiences and not be influenced by your presence in their lives. And the same goes the other way when similar situations arise," Dr Khatri stated.
Prioritising Your Mental Health And Wellness
Dr Khatri explained, "Do your regular exercises, take your medicines, eat on time and indulge in other things that make you happy according to your time. For instance, your partner likes eating unhealthy food, but that doesn't mean you also have to do it to maintain the relationship. Additionally, it is necessary to keep checking on yourself while taking care of your significant other. Because if you don't prioritise yourself over their needs, you might end up with feelings of burden."
Encouraging Your Significant Other To Maintain Their Health and Wellness
"While you must maintain your health and wellness, you should also encourage your significant other to do the same for themselves. It means helping your partner avoid unhealthy behaviour and patterns," Dr Khatri said.
Maintaining Respectful Boundaries Or Ground Rules Of Relationship
"It doesn't mean rigidity or enforcing laws in a relationship. It just means discussing what should and shouldn't be accepted, maintaining healthy boundaries, having mutual respect, and engaging in respectful discussions around common concerns (like family, living situation or finances). Lastly, one shouldn't be scared of having these discussions as it leads to a healthy relationship and communication," Dr Khatri explained.
Sharing Your Opinions And Accepting Theirs
In the end, Dr Khatri said, "This is a further extension of the previous point. It means being able to share your opinions and accepting what your partner has to say. Sometimes in a relationship, it is necessary to respectfully agree to disagree. So, not coming to a mutual ground and being okay with it is perfectly fine sometimes."