No one will look out for you better than you will look out for yourself. It’s your job to take care of yourself, and you need to remember this before entering a serious relationship.
By Anita Brayer
Do you know anyone who gave up their life for their significant other? Chances are you do. An unhealthy number of people sacrifice a great deal of time, interests, dreams, desires, and capacities for their significant other.
Not only that, but there are also people who refuse to get into a serious relationship simply because they’re afraid of giving up parts of themselves or their lives.
Well, relationships are not all black or white like some people would like you to believe. Getting into a relationship doesn’t mean you have to give yourself up or keep doing everything without any regard for your significant other. There’s a gray area, and we’re here to help you navigate into it.
You are the most important person in your life.
No one will look out for you better than you will look out for yourself. It’s your job to take care of yourself, and you need to remember this before entering a serious relationship. You can’t rely on your significant other to fix your problems or to fill a void in your life. It’s your responsibility to do this.
That being said, when you get into a relationship, you need to understand that you’re sacrificing part of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re sacrificing your free time, your private thoughts and emotions, and maybe some bad habits (like smoking, drinking, or promiscuity). The whole point of getting into a relationship with someone is to give and receive companionship, love, and support. Your significant other should not tear you down, but instead help you be the best person you can ever be.
If you feel that your significant other is stifling your self-expression (by criticizing you, judging you, and trying to morph you into something you’re not), then drop him/her like a hot potato. You deserve someone who will help you flourish as a person.
It’s okay to be selfish… to an extent.
A philosopher named Alan Gewirth once wrote in his book Self-Fulfillment that self-fulfillment was simply “carrying to fruition one’s deepest desires or one’s worthiest capacities.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with listening to yourself, realizing your desires, chasing your dreams, and realizing your potential. However, don’t forget about your significant other. A relationship is a two-way street, after all. Make sure your significant other is comfortable with your choices and actions. If s/he is understandably uncomfortable with something you chose to do or pursue, then you should respect his/her feelings and try to find a good solution for both of you. For example, if you decide to join the army, and your significant other doesn’t want you to, then you can look into joining the National Guard instead.
You should always try to take a reasonable approach to everything. Try to look at the situation through your significant other’s eyes and reach a solution that will work for both of you.
While you should always respect your partner’s feelings and opinions, you should also remember not to lose yourself to your relationship. Never forget who you used to be, and keep doing what you love!
Have your own friends and hobbies.
No one is sadder than a person who lives vicariously through his/her significant other. We all know that one person whose soul is long gone simply because s/he got into a relationship. Don’t let that happen to you! Maintain your own personality by going out with your own friends and dabbling in your own hobbies. Your significant other doesn’t have to share all the same hobbies as you, and if s/he feels otherwise, then you might want to run for the hills.
Allow yourself some “me” time.
It’s perfectly normal to want space from your significant other once in a while. Don’t feel bad for wanting to shut yourself into your bedroom and watch TV all night. However, instead of leaving your significant other, or, even worse, telling him/her to leave you alone, calmly explain to him/her that you need some time to yourself. Make sure you tell him/her that it’s not his/her fault. A loving partner will understand.
Always remember that communication is key.
While diamonds are beautiful and usually win women over, you shouldn’t let flowers and diamonds do the talking for you (or your significant other). Take the time to sit down and communicate with your significant other about any problems you might have with him/her. As long as you and your significant other are on the right page, you both should be OK.
This is an article from Anita Brayer, a blogger, writer for Higher Click and a cat lover. She does some writing for huge brands, like Macy’s, too.