A new relationship can be exciting, passionate and all-encompassing, but when you fall hard for someone it’s important to maintain your sense of self.
Two peas in a pod. Souls united. Bert and Ernie.
Many people have had the experience of merging their entire lives with their partner.
Here’s a common scenario:
You meet an amazing person. You fall in love. You have wild sex. You move in together. You spend every moment of non-work, non-bathroom time together. People refer to you as “Jack and Amy” instead of just Jack. Or Amy. You drop your poker nights with the guys. Or suddenly you stop going out dancing with the girls. You become the inseparable duo. Your own two lives have merged into one.
What’s wrong with this? Nothing. It isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about what works and what creates a healthy, long-lasting connection.
It’s amazing to spend so much fun, sexy, intimate time with the one person you love. And it’s also amazing to be your own person, with your own friends, hobbies, career and interests.
How do you prevent an unhealthy merging from happening? And what is the right balance in diving into a new relationship while maintaining your own sense of self?
1. Have a life of your own before you meet him or her.
One of the best ways to maintain your own identity is to have one to begin with. If you have no hobbies, career direction, opinions, interests or friends before you meet your next partner, that creates a pretty easy vacuum for you to just adopt your partner’s lifestyle. You end up getting shuffled to NASCAR races, baby showers, kickball games and dress shopping. It’s one thing to accompany your partner as a kind gesture. It’s another thing to go along because you have nothing else going on in your life.
The bonus of living your own life is that you will naturally become more attractive to the person you want to meet.
Ask yourself, how desireable would it be to date someone who has no direction, hobbies or interests?
The trick is to create a life that feels wholesome and full all on its own, on your own, first.
2. Create some structured solo time and together time.
A great way to really appreciate someone is to spend some time apart. You will miss them and anticipate the next interaction.
Most importantly, however, you will get the chance to reconnect with yourself. Reboot your soul. Indulge in the things that you love. You’ll likely reunite with your partner feeling nourished, alert and excited to see her or him.
While you embark on your solo time, it’s wise to also plan regular date nights with your partner. These are the occasions where you both unplug from the outside world and dive into each other. Perhaps a picnic. An afternoon of soulful sex. A day-long road trip to a national park. These experiences allow the both of you to become fully present with each other while enjoying an activity you are both interested in.
When a relationship is balanced in this way, it will help to eliminate any feelings of “avoiding” or “rejecting” your partner. Your solo time and partner time become part of your weekly schedule. It’s not a decision that needs to be made in reaction to something that’s going on in the relationship.
3. Keep your friends.
In a new relationship, it can be very tempting (and natural) to dive into your cocoon of sex, love and laughter. That’s inevitable. If you can, be mindful of your existing friendships during this phase. Stay in touch with them. Schedule hangouts. Invite them to meet your new sexy mate. Your friends are the people who knew you before you coupled up. They can be a sounding board when you require honest feedback about your life and your relationship. Your partner cannot be the only one you turn to when you need to talk about your relationship. A third-party perspective is always helpful. And your friends need and want your love, company and support, too.
Remember that you are a beautiful, dynamic soul. And so is your future (or current) partner. Stay connected to yourself and encourage your partner to do the same. You’ll be thankful for both the time apart and the time together.
[image: via fairuz othman on flickr]