A good relationship can bring us out of our shells and make us the person we were always meant to be.
But a bad relationship can send us deeper into ourselves than what’s healthy.
When you love someone, you want to give them the world. But you don’t need to give them your entire world to be in a happy relationship.
If you do, you can end up losing yourself. Which doesn’t feel good anyway. But it’ll also make life so much harder if you ever split up.
Want to save your relationship before it’s too late? Check out these 9 signs you’re giving too much to the person you love (and losing yourself in the process!).
1) You’ve given up your hobbies to spend time with them
It’s normal for your lives to merge when you’ve been dating someone for a long time.
You might watch soccer with them occasionally and they might go on hikes with you. And you might have a shared hobby of going mini golf together.
But what isn’t normal is if your hobbies disappear entirely and get taken over by theirs.
If the times you used to go swim practice or to the gym get replaced with watching them play video games at home – this isn’t good.
Or if, over the years, you’ve given up your hobbies entirely (to the point you don’t even know what your own hobbies are anymore) – this also isn’t good.
Spending time with each other is important when you’re in a healthy relationship. As is making time for one another.
But losing your individuality isn’t – and experts say it can damage the relationship as well as your own mental well-being.
2) You rarely see your friends and family anymore
When you’re giving too much in a relationship, it’s not just your hobbies that disappear. Time spent with your family and friends (without your partner) dramatically decreases, too.
It’s normal to spend a little less time with your friends when you get into a relationship. After all, it’d be weird to see your friends every weekend instead of your partner!
But it shouldn’t disappear entirely. I’ve had friends over the years who, when they get into a relationship, fall off the face of the Earth.
They don’t reply to your text for weeks, they’re never free to meet up, and they always cancel plans at the last minute to spend time with their partner.
Some of them won’t even make plans with their friends unless their partner is out with their friends that night.
Maintaining friendships outside of the relationship prevents codependency. It gives freshness to your relationship, helps you maintain your individuality, and stops you from relying on your partner for everything.
But if you’ve lost this and never see your friends anymore, it could be a sign that you’re giving your partner too much.
3) You don’t go anywhere without them
Can you remember the last time you went anywhere by yourself? Like, actually left the house without your partner and did something you (and only you) wanted to do?
A healthy relationship shouldn’t make you lose all your independence and autonomy. You should still go places by yourself sometimes (and feel OK doing so).
You shouldn’t feel anxious leaving the house or doing things you used to do on your own without them.
And if you do, it’s a clear (and very sad) sign that you’re losing yourself.
4) You let their mood affect yours
When you care about someone (and have high empathy), it’s normal to feel sad when they’re sad. It’s also normal to feel happy when they’re happy.
After all, you love them – and you care about their happiness (and sadness).
But, even so, their mood shouldn’t deeply affect you. If they were upset about losing a game, that shouldn’t throw you off entirely.
We all need to take responsibility for our own emotions. And while you can have empathy, you don’t have to adopt every emotion they have to love them.
5) You’ve changed your style to suit what they like
Another sign you’re giving too much in your relationship is if you choose your style based on their exact preferences.
Like if they like blonde hair (but you don’t) and you dye it blonde. Or if they like girls who wear dresses (but you’re a jeans girl), you wear dresses to keep them happy.
When you love someone, it’s normal to wear things they like. I know my boyfriend remembers when I say I like certain shirts of his and wears them on our dates because he “knows I like this top”.
But he’d never change his style to suit my preferences. In fact, I don’t even have preferences for what he wears! He has his style and I like him for him – not for the color of his hair or what he wears.
If your partner only likes you for “materialistic” things (like your hair or clothes), then this isn’t a relationship based on love.
And giving up the things you want to wear for them isn’t healthy for you, either.
6) You’re always the one compromising or sacrificing
Relationships take compromise and sacrifice. That doesn’t mean you should keep score of how many times you’ve compromised compared to them.
But it does mean there should be a balance. And when the balance is off, you’ll feel it – and it won’t be good.
If you’re always the one compromising on what you want or sacrificing your plans, goals, or ambitions for them – and they aren’t, this isn’t a healthy balance.
It’s a sign that you’re giving more than they are, and it’s causing you to lose yourself.
7) You rely on them for everything
Another sign you’re losing yourself in a relationship is if you rely on them for everything. You need their validation to do even the most basic things.
You can’t decide on an outfit, a haircut, a new job, or even dinner without getting their opinion first.
Yes, it’s normal (and healthy) to rely on your partner. They should provide you with stability and comfort. And, depending on the partnership, it can be normal to rely on them financially or otherwise.
But there’s a difference between relying on them for some things and relying solely on them for everything.
We should get validation from other people as well as our partners. And our partner shouldn’t be the person to lift us up every time we’re down. Or do everything for us all the time.
If that’s what your relationship has turned into, it could be codependent. And you might have lost yourself in it…
8) You feel exhausted after spending time with them
If you’re giving too much to your relationship, it’ll feel exhausting.
I had a friend who, for many years, was going through a tough time. After 20 years of friendship, I had to let it go.
Why? Because all she ever did was talk about herself. She’d never ask how I was or what I was up to. She’d talk at me when I saw her. And she’d only want to meet when she needed a friend – rather than to spend time together.
It was exhausting. And eventually, I realized that she liked our friendship because of what I gave her, not because of who I was.
Bad relationships can become like this, too.
All relationships should involve a bit of give and take. But if you’re dating someone who just takes, takes, takes – leaving you with nothing – this isn’t healthy.
9) You miss the person you used to be
Finally, another sign you’re giving too much of yourself (and losing yourself in the process) is if you miss the person you used to be.
When you think back to the time before you started dating them, you think that you used to be fun, confident, independent, and happy.
But now, you’re not that person anymore. You don’t like the person you’ve become with them, and you miss who you used to be before them.
When a relationship has run its course or veered off track, you might feel like you’ve lost yourself entirely.
You can’t remember the last time you spent time, money, or energy on yourself. Or even the last time you did something alone or with your friends.
I remember feeling this way when a relationship had run its course. I felt like I’d lost the person I once was – and I didn’t feel good about who I was anymore.
I didn’t realize it was because my relationship had turned toxic – but it was.
If you spot the signs early enough, you could save your relationship and stop it from turning codependent.
But if you feel like your partner is the cause of your co-dependency (and isn’t supportive of your need to change things up), this also isn’t good.
And letting go could be the best way to find yourself again – and find yourself a healthier, more balanced relationship.