When we care about someone, we want to show it. But in the process, we can end up losing sight of ourselves.
We become too focused on pleasing our partner, at any cost. And we may not even realize it.
This article will delve into the warning signs that you need to focus on yourself more in your relationship.
It’s important not to lose yourself in your relationship
There’s no doubt that relationships take effort, compromise, and consideration.
But even when you choose to be in a relationship, you need to constantly choose yourself too.
Focusing on yourself isn’t selfish, it’s self-care.
Because you deserve to have personal goals, free time, and clear boundaries.
Otherwise, there is a danger we can focus too much on our partner, and not enough on ourselves. And the irony is, this will end up damaging your relationship as well as yourself.
But the question remains:
How do you know if you are losing yourself in a relationship?
10 warning signs you need to focus on yourself in your relationship
1) You feel like your needs and wants come last
In your relationship pecking order, you feel firmly at the bottom.
Rather than equality, it seems like it’s often your partner’s wants, desires, and wishes that come first.
A lot of your time is spent pandering to their needs.
You bend over backward to try to make sure they are happy.
You might feel afraid of rocking the boat, so you let certain things go even when deep down you know you should probably sight your corner.
2) You find it really difficult to say “no” to your partner
This next warning sign is actually more than being able to say no.
It’s about boundaries in general.
But feeling comfortable and confident in saying no is a part of that.
It’s whether you feel like it’s ok to disappoint your other half or if you feel compelled to do things you’d rather not be doing.
Do you have clear established lines in your relationship that cannot be crossed?
Or do you often feel like you are frequently pushed and cajoled?
If so then it suggests you may have some boundary issues that need addressing.
3) You’ve dropped hobbies and interests that once brought you joy
Particularly in the first flushes of romance, we can become so consumed by someone that we drop a lot of our other priorities.
It’s normal, but we should still be mindful of it.
Your hobbies and interests are a part of your independent identity.
They are an expression of what makes you who you are.
If you quickly give all that up, it diminishes your individuality within your relationship.
What you’re inadvertently doing is building your entire world around one person. And as we’ll see next, that’s always going to end in tears.
4) You have incredibly high expectations of your partner and your relationship
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with standards.
You should have certain expectations of the quality and care you receive in your relationship.
But placing too many demands on your partner or relationship are a warning sign.
Because sadly we can expect relationships to do the impossible. We expect them to make us happy and fulfilled.
Of course, a good relationship will improve your life. But we should never expect it to do the heavy lifting for us.
It’s always up to us to make ourselves happy, and not someone else.
This powerful lesson really hit home for me when I watched, this mind-blowing free video from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê.
In it, he explains how many of us chase love in a toxic and unrealistic way that ends up stabbing us in the back.
One of which is hoping for another person to “complete us” — which is always doomed to fail.
Importantly he also offers a better alternative and the key to creating healthy love that lasts.
So I’d really recommend taking a few minutes to watch that free video.
5) You barely see friends or family anymore
I have a friend who always seems to lose herself whenever she’s in a relationship.
It’s the same old pattern.
She meets a guy, she increasingly spends time with him, and we never see her.
But the intensity of that connection often means that it quickly burns out.
Then low-and-behold she returns to the friends and family she has been neglecting to look for support after her breakups.
The reality is that all-important relationships in your life need nurturing, not just romantic relationships.
When we fail to spend time, energy, and effort on them, they suffer.
If you pretty much never see, chat with, or check in with your friends anymore it’s a flashing warning sign.
Most of us need a variety of close connections in life. We shouldn’t ditch them all as soon as we’re in love.
6) You feel like you are always doing thoughtful things, but it’s not reciprocated
This sign points to an uneven distribution of energy within your relationship.
Perhaps it’s your partner that’s putting in too little effort, but it could be you that is putting in too much.
Because yes, we can put in too much effort!
Effort that we should be channeling into ourselves by spending time looking after our own needs and well-being.
Maybe you would happily spend hours preparing a delicious meal for your other half, yet you live predominantly off junk food.
Perhaps you stay up late helping your partner prepare for a work presentation, but your own career has fallen by the wayside.
Ask if you give more of your time, energy, and effort to your partner than you do yourself.
If so, it’s time to redirect some of that kindness and concern inwards.
7) You cannot begin to imagine a life without your partner
At first, this sounds like an act of true love.
But away from overly romantic notions, the truth is that it points to dependency. And this is dangerous territory.
As we’ve already seen, reliance on your partner for your own happiness is not only unfair but it’s unrealistic too.
It’s undeniably difficult to experience love without attachment.
But if you feel like you would be totally lost without your other half, it suggests you need to build up your own life, independent of them, a little more.
A full life needs to be made up of so much more than just one person.
8) You’ve never really thought about what you want out of life
It’s important for all of us to consider our own values and discover what brings meaning to our life.
Because everyone is different.
Even if you think you know, it’s easy to lose sight of it over time.
That’s why discovering your core values can be a powerful exercise.
It helps us to shape our lives based on what matters most to us — not our partners, our peers, or our parents.
That way we can work towards bigger goals and dreams that are going to fulfill us on a whole other level.
We can think about the plans we make, and whether they are aligned with these values.
This type of personal development helps us to take control of our own destinies.
Far from being selfish, it is only going to improve your relationship when you have other things away from your partner that are important to you.
Otherwise, you might find you end up getting under one another’s feet…
9) You spend all your free time with your other half
When was the last time you had a day to yourself? Or even a few hours?
If you can’t even remember, then it is a warning sign you need to devote more time to yourself.
Maybe you like hanging out 24-7 with your partner in crime. For sure, that’s sweet, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
The bottom line is that we need to have interests outside of our relationship, and we need to spend time away from one another.
It keeps things fresh, helps you avoid becoming codependent, and ensures you have things to talk about.
A relationship living in each other’s pockets will become stale.
10) You’ve let go of your big dreams for the future
As I said at the start of this article, compromise is inevitable in a relationship.
But we should be very weary of throwing away our hopes, dreams, and life goals for anyone.
These big types of sacrifices can be a self-betrayal.
Maybe you were set on going to college, but then you couldn’t imagine leaving your boyfriend or girlfriend behind.
Perhaps you always wanted to see the world, but your other half is more of a homebody.
It’s natural for our dreams to change. But we need to check in and make sure we’re not giving up on things that are really important to us.
Because it could create frustration in your relationship that lingers. You may start to resent your partner if you have to give up on your own dreams in life to be with them.
Improve your relationship with yourself and your relationship with others will become even stronger
It can sound counterintuitive.
How can focusing on yourself make your relationship better?!
But the reality is that two emotionally healthy, happy, and self-reliant people create a far stronger relationship together.
You each bring to the table a well-rounded individual with the skills to take care of yourselves.
That makes for a sexier, more loving, robust, and resilient connection.