How to Combine Your Lives Without Losing Your Identity
Two of the greatest benefits of a healthy relationship are sharing your interests with someone and learning new things. Being in a relationship shouldn't change who you are. It should add to your personality but never take away from it.
In the early stages of a relationship, we can get so swept up in our new love that we prioritize that relationship over other things we used to love, like hanging out with friends, seeing family, volunteering, or going to the gym. But most people find a balance between their life and their love over time. Remember that your partner was attracted to who you are before they came along, so you don't want to give up what made you "you."
Loss of Identity – What is It?
When you meet someone special, it's natural to want to please that person. But while compromise is necessary to a successful relationship, you should never feel like you have to give up your individuality. This will only lead to resentment down the road.
Many people fear the idea of being alone or losing someone they care about so much that they're willing to do anything they can to hang on to a relationship, even if the relationship is weak and it means losing themselves in the process. To them, any type of relationship is better than none.
Loss of identify usually starts slowly. You may act differently when you're with your partner or hide pieces of your personality you're not sure they'll like. Maybe you start to dress differently, stop watching certain TV shows, or alter your speech pattern. As time goes on, who you are is cast aside in favor of the person you think they want you to be. As you worry that they love the person you've become, not the person you are, you may start to resent your partner and the relationship you initially worked so hard to keep.
When Your Partner Wants a Change
If your partner asks you to change or act differently, don't be afraid to ask them why they want you to change. Will the change better your relationship? More importantly, do you want to make a change? Learning something new that is important to your partner, like trying a new sport or different types of food, is important. Just make sure you are also introducing your partner to things that you like to do and places you like to go. You won't lose sight of who you are by making small concessions here and there, like putting the toilet seat down or switching from Coke to Pepsi, but you should be on the lookout for requests that have you acting differently or have your friends and people you trust telling you that "you've changed" and it isn't for the best.
The Value of Maintaining Individual Interests/Hobbies
Being in a good relationship does not mean that you "complete" each other. You don't need to love to do the same activities or agree on the perfect vacation spot. You need to respect that there are things you love to do together and that you each have your own interests, too. Things bring something to the relationship that you can discuss and appreciate about your partner.
You should never lose who you are in a relationship. In fact, a healthy partnership should add to your identity, bringing out sides of your personality that you never knew you had, and introduce you to things you never knew you would like.
Be yourself. Expect your partner to love you for who you are and be prepared to love them back.