Being yourself should make your relationship better.
We’ve all had that friend: the one who gets into a new relationship and disappears. Suddenly she’s always busy when you need her – and when you do talk to her, it’s like she’s a different person. One half of a couple instead of a whole individual.
But let’s be honest: we’ve all been that friend, too: so deep into a relationship, we lose all perspective. If you’re happy, isn’t that all that matters?
Actually, no. Even if you’re in the greatest relationship of all time, it’s important to still be yourself. You don’t have to like everything he likes, or do everything together. After all, he fell for you because of who you are, right? (Hopefully, anyway.) So turning into someone else doesn’t really make any sense.
Here are 14 signs you could be losing your identity and morphing into a mutant couple monster…
1. You can’t tell the difference between yourself and your partner
Is he the one who started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat while you make dinner together, or was that you? Oh, who cares? You both love it now. Ugh. If you find yourself saying “we” a lot – we love to barbecue, we always to get up early on weekends, we’re trying to cut down on sugar – watch out.
2. You let yourself get talked into doing things
You want to make him as happy as he makes you – so much so that you’re willing to do things you don’t really want to do. Here’s a good litmus test: ask yourself what you’d say to a friend if she told you she was being pressured into [whatever the thing is that you’re doing]. Then be a friend to yourself and take your own advice.
3. Your lovesick antics are annoying your friends
You get a pass for the first couple of weeks you’re in a new relationship, when the butterflies are strong and everything is new and exciting. After that, knock off the giggling and blushing, the baby talk, and the excessive schmoopy hashtagging of all your Instagram posts. We’re all grown ups here.
4. You feel uneasy and you’re not sure why
Maybe everything is going great, but you feel a niggling little doubt somewhere in the back of your consciousness, and it just won’t let you relax. Pay attention to that feeling. It could be the real you, screaming from behind the locked door where you’ve hidden her.
5. You feel out of control
You used to be so together, always on top of everything. Now you’re distracted, always thinking about your relationship, rarely thinking about the rest of your life. As a result, things are falling apart and you’re losing your marbles (and your friends and social life). It might be time to regroup and refocus.
6. You want your partner to tell you who to be
Have you given up making decisions that you always used to make? You’ll go to dinner wherever he wants to go, take a vacation whenever works for him, make career choices he approves of. It’s just easier to let him take the lead and tell you what he wants. That’ll make him happy, right? Wrong. And if it does – run. That’s not the kind of guy you want to build a future with.
7. Your friends find your behavior odd
Your friends who’ve known you way longer than he has are a good touchstone. Do they find your behavior unsettling or alarming? Don’t just write them off as being jealous of your fabulous relationship. Listen to them. They care about you.
8. You don’t know what to do with yourself when you’re not with him
You had a life before you met him, right? Try to think back to what you used to do. What happened to the things you used to enjoy on your own? If you’re moping around when he’s not with you, it’s a bad sign. Get up and live your life.
9. You turn down invitations from your other friends
It’s a terrible feeling when a friend who used to always be down for a night out suddenly turns down every invitation. Don’t do this to your friends. Go to their parties, their art openings, their readings. Don’t disappear from their lives.
10. You suspect your friends would be happy if you broke up
That says it all, doesn’t it? Your friends love you. They have your best interests at heart. They don’t have to be besties with your boyfriend, but if you think your friends would celebrate your breakup, something’s definitely wrong.
11. He’s all you ever talk about
If every other sentence out of your mouth starts with “my boyfriend,” people around you are probably already tuning you out. Pay attention and listen to yourself. Remember when you talked about other stuff? Try doing that again.
12. He’s all you ever think about
A certain amount of dreaminess is permissible during the early part of your relationship; it goes along with the infatuation phase. But if you’re still staring into space thinking about your sweetie after the first month, snap out of it. You have a whole life that doesn’t involve your partner. Think about it.
13. All you want to do is go home and be alone with him
Couples don’t have to stick together at every event and sneak out as soon as possible . If you’re not able to relax and have fun with your other friends because you’re just thinking about going home together, you might need an intervention.
14. You don’t recognize yourself anymore
I always know something is up when I can’t journal anymore. I pick up my notebook and nothing comes. I stare at the page and don’t know what to write. This almost always means I’m hopelessly out of touch with myself, and it’s time to do some serious checking in with myself.
The good news is, it’s never too late to get your identity back. You don’t even necessarily have to break off your relationship to do it, either. Hang out with your friends. Spend some time alone. Go to a party and actually let your SO leave before you do. Get in touch with people who’ve fallen by the wayside.
And remember: if it’s a relationship worth holding on to, then being your whole self will make it even better.
GIFs via giphy.com and tumblr.com.
Comment: Have you ever lost your identity to a relationship?