Relationships are wonderful but can have their own unique challenges. One of those obstacles that is prevalent in many committed relationships is losing your identity. This sometimes happens when people have been married or living together for a couple of years.
When people first get married or start living together, they are excited about their new life as a couple. They do most everything together, have mutual friends and start creating standards for their household. At some point, one or both starts to feel confined. That’s because they stop doing things they used to enjoy, or stopping getting together with their single friends who used to mean so much to them, or just get so wrapped up in the busyness of life they forget to fulfill their own needs.
This is more common than you think. People get into habits and eventually those habits can lead to a rut or a stale relationship.
This can be dangerous territory for a relationship because one could start blaming their partner. The partner may not even realize there is an issue. Discontent could lead to resentment and, eventually, contempt that will destroy the relationship.
To break the rut cycle, you need to rediscover your own identity and grow as a person. Not only will you find that you are more fulfilled in doing this, but you will also see that you become the person your partner loved when you first met.
There are ways to avoid these types of pitfalls of identity crisis and stale relationships. Specifically, there are five things you can do to regain your identity and remain happy in your relationship.
- See your old friends without your partner. Whether its a shopping day, spa time, bowling night or watching football at a friends house, getting together with those who always have meant something to you is important to both you and them. Allow your spouse or partner to do the same.
This will mean a lot to your friends too. That is especially true for the single friends, who may feel left out of your life since you entered your relationship. Just remember there are new boundaries to set with your friends that you must put into place to protect your partner’s feelings. Those boundaries depend on the individual but typically involve courtesies like letting them know where you’re going, who you are meeting and when you’ll return.
- Complete a long-term project. There may have been something that inspired you once that you have put aside. Pick it back up. Make time for it. You will be surprised how much working on a project regularly will pick up your mood. It will always create a sense of pride in yourself, particularly if it is something new you are learning. You will be proud of your accomplishments and your partner will love seeing you inspired.
- Get away by yourself. Sometimes, you just need a break. That is especially true once children enter your life. It’s okay to take short breaks apart. Sometimes, it works best to take a solo trip if you want to do something, like scuba diving, that your partner has no interest in. Whether its a day trip to hike or a weekend getaway, brief time apart can relieve relationship stress. Plus, you will find that you miss each other.
Again, be sure to establish boundaries on the getaway and let your partner know those boundaries so they understand you both value and seek to protect the relationship. Call your partner occasionally throughout the trip to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Discover yourself. You are always growing and changing. It is good to figure out what is changing about yourself. You should try something new, take a seminar, read more or perhaps meditate.
Once you start finding out new things about yourself, your partner may find you more fascinating with all these new elements and depth to you.
- Develop a new skill or hobby. Learning new things is always fun and is an extension of learning more about yourself. Take a class in something you always wanted to try. Get into a group of hobbyists where you can meet others.
Be sure to share your new hobby with your partner and encourage them to have their own interests as well.
Remember, you can’t change your spouse or partner. Although you can encourage them, they need to rediscover their identity on their own. You need to work on you. Making some small adjustments in your relationship to allow time for yourself will go a long way to making you happier. That will affect your relationship in a positive way.