We all know the golden rule of having a relationship. Don’t ditch your friends because you’ll need them when the honeymoon is over. But friends aren’t the only things that can fall by the wayside when we fall in love. Hobbies and interests, the things that define who we are, can also be sacrificed. Unfortunately, you probably won’t even notice they’re gone until you suddenly find yourself with too much time on your hands and nothing to occupy your mind but what’s happening on Charmed.So why did you stop doing the things that you used to get a kick out of? Maybe you had to drop your yoga classes to fit in around his cricket roster? Perhaps the lure of watching The Bachelor snuggled up on the sofa together was stronger than your desire to improve your backhand? It wasn’t as if you were going to be a professional tennis player, so there was no point in continuing, right? Wrong! Maintaining your own life whether you’re in or out of a relationship is very important. And here’s a tip. Watching him play football does not count as a hobby.

He fell in love with you

Why? Because you were interesting; because you had some mystery about you; because of your personality. The two of you were compatible back when you were your own woman. So there’s no benefit to ditching your own life to spend every waking moment with him. And switching your hobbies for his isn’t a good idea either. Quitting pottery for fly-fishing will only make you resentful in the end, unless of course you like gutting fish.

Open your mind

Back in your school days you might have studied German, woodwork, art and drama all in the one day. After school there was netball or swimming or flute lessons. Every week, both your body and mind had a full workout. In the real world, a typical work day provides you with far less variety. And if all of your personal time is spent just hanging out with your guy, there’s a whole lot of your body and mind that’s not receiving any stimulation. There’s a lot of potential bottled up inside you that’s going to waste. When you do have a variety of interests, you’ll feel much more balanced as a person. And when you’re happy, your relationship can only benefit.

Killing Time

When your beloved disappears for a few days with work or the boys, it’s not too hard to pass the time. Drinks with the girls on Friday night and Saturday afternoon on the sofa watching Grease are great ways to while away the day or even a weekend. But what happens if he disappears for a lot longer, say forever? Once you’ve memorised all the words to Hopelessly Devoted To You you’re going to have a lot of empty time on your hands. While you’ve given up your life, your friends have all got on with theirs. Having your own hobbies and interests at times like these can really help pull you through. If you can maintain a full life, it won’t collapse when he’s no longer in it.

By Louise Pattie

*Louise Pattie is a freelance writer who likes motivating others and enjoys a range

of unfashionable hobbies.