July 11, 2022

How To Reclaim Your Identity If You’ve Lost Yourself In a Relationship

Do you feel like you've lost yourself in your relationship?

Do you struggle to be part of a "we" without losing "me"?

Being in a relationship can be joyful, as if you are spending time with your best friend.

But if your life becomes so focused on your relationship that you don't know who you are anymore, you may have lost yourself in your relationship.

Read on to learn how to reclaim your identity if you feel lost in your relationship.

Losing yourself in a relationship can be easy

Although losing oneself can frequently be a subtle and gradual process, there are warning signals to be aware of if you believe you may be giving up too much of your identity for your relationship.

Here are some of the more obvious ones.

  • You put your partner's needs before your own.
  • You compromise your values and romantic ideals to have someone in your life.
  • You feel unhappy about yourself and think your relationship can change that.
  • Your partner makes the decisions that affect you both, big and small.
  • And if your partner is disrespectful, you overlook their behavior.

If you recognize these signs, you've probably lost yourself in your relationship.

Why am I losing myself?

You may be wondering how you lost your identity within a relationship. 

How much of yourself you give up in relationships may depend greatly on your attachment style.

Some people may find it easy to lose their sense of self in a relationship if they tend to get too attached to the other person or look for their sense of worth in the outside world.

Codependency may also play a role.

At the beginning of a relationship, it's natural to want to spend as much time as possible together. However, a lack of balance can lead to codependence.

Codependent people often don't know how to speak up for themselves and may give up their needs to help someone else.

Fear of being abandoned or having your identity called into question is another factor that might cause you to lose your sense of self in a relationship.

And you might lose who you are if you try too hard to please other people.

In other words, you're a "people pleaser."

People-pleasers often have trouble with their identities and a weak sense of who they are.

How do I reclaim my identity?

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to reclaim yourself in your relationship.

Once you have honestly admitted to having lost your identity in your relationship, you are in an excellent place to start reclaiming that identity.

 

The first step to reclaiming yourself is to get to know yourself.

You might have ideas about what you want for your relationship – but what about the things you want purely for yourself?

What are your dreams?

What are your goals?

What are your values? 

  

A second step to reclaiming yourself is to say what's on your mind.

No two people are the same.

You can have a lot of things in common, but there are bound to be differences in how you view your relationship.

Work on developing the courage to respectfully stand up for your opinions when they're different from your partner's.

  

Another step to reclaiming yourself is to spend time apart.

It's healthy to be social without each other. Doing things on your own will help you stay connected and strengthen your sense of self.

This can mean spending time with friends or family without your partner.

Or taking trips apart.

Or taking up a hobby on your own that gives you joy.

Strive to fulfill some of your needs by spending time apart and doing the things you love.

 

Another way to reclaim yourself is to communicate your boundaries with your partner so that they can know what they are and respect them. Boundaries refer to limits that you put in place to protect your well-being.

Your body, your privacy, and your personal space are all examples of physical boundaries.

To set emotional boundaries, you need to know where you end, and your partner begins. If your partner is upset and you feel the same way, you might need to set some limits.

Sexual boundaries are your expectations about how close you can get physically.

Ideas and beliefs are part of intellectual boundaries. You may need a boundary if you feel like you can't talk to your partner about certain things because you think they won't listen to you or will put you down.

Final thoughts.

If there's one thing you should remember about keeping your identity and individuality in your relationship, it's this: your partner fell in love with you, not who you became once you started sacrificing yourself for your relationship.

Is losing yourself just to please your partner worth it?

Want to learn more?

Are you interested in learning more about reclaiming your identity in a relationship? If so, we invite you to join our one-day journey, “How to Reclaim Your Identity If You’ve Lost Yourself in a Relationship,” a therapist-led, step-by-step video course.

For a preview of the journey, click here.

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