7 things you should never change about yourself (even if you’re in a relationship)

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In a world that constantly urges us to improve and adapt, it’s easy to lose sight of who we truly are — especially when love is in the picture. 

The allure of a new relationship can be so strong, it might tempt you to morph into someone you’re not. 

But what happens when the lovey-dovey fog lifts? 

I’ve been there, rewriting my personality like it’s a negotiable contract. 

But I’ve come to realize there are some things about ourselves we should never change, not for anyone. 

Here are 7 things you should always hold onto, even when you’re head over heels in love.

1) Your dreams and goals

We all have dreams and goals that light a fire in our souls, whether it’s becoming a published author, launching your own business, or traveling the world. When you’re in a relationship, these aspirations shouldn’t have to take a backseat.

Now, don’t get me wrong — sometimes love helps us refine our dreams or even dream bigger. It’s okay if you willingly decide to adjust your goals to take your partner into account. 

In fact, that can be a beautiful part of being in a loving relationship, as long as they’re equally invested in doing the same for you. 

But I know someone who shelved his ambition of becoming a musician because his partner thought it was “unrealistic.” 

What started as compromise turned into a one-sided sacrifice. His guitars started gathering dust, and with them, a part of his spirit seemed to wilt away.

Remember, a supportive partner will be your biggest cheerleader, not someone who asks you to abandon your dreams. 

Holding onto your goals isn’t just about personal fulfillment; it also affirms your individuality, which is an essential cornerstone of any loving relationship.

2) Your core values

Your core values are the principles that guide your life — like a compass that helps you navigate through decisions and conflicts. 

Whether it’s a strong belief in honesty, a commitment to environmental sustainability, or a dedication to family, these values define who you are at your core. So, in a relationship, it’s essential that these foundational elements aren’t compromised.

Interestingly, being in love can sometimes open your eyes to new values you hadn’t considered before. 

Take the example of a couple I know well — a vegetarian guy and a girl who wasn’t. He never pressured her to change her eating habits, but his commitment to animal welfare sparked her curiosity. 

Over time, she asked questions, did her own research, and eventually chose to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle as well. She wasn’t coerced; her new values grew organically from her own heart, guided by love but not dictated by it.

It’s a beautiful thing when a relationship deepens your understanding of what’s important in life. However, it should always be your choice to adapt or adopt new values. 

The right partner will respect your core principles and never ask you to compromise them. If anything, your shared values — or even the new ones you discover together — should make your bond even stronger.

3) Your independence

Independence is a precious thing. It’s the freedom to make choices, to have your own interests, and to manage your life in a way that makes you fulfilled. 

Being in a relationship should never mean giving up this sense of self-reliance.

However, let’s not forget the flip side. Part of the beauty of love is knowing there’s someone you can lean on, especially when life throws its curveballs. 

When you’re living under the same roof, it wouldn’t make sense to act like two independent tenants sharing a space. It’s both healthy and normal to rely on each other for certain things — be it emotional support or taking turns cooking dinner.

But here’s the important part: there’s a fine line between interdependence and becoming so entangled that you lose yourself

A relationship should never make you feel trapped, or push you into financial dependency, or nurture a co-dependence that leaves you feeling empty when you’re alone.

If you find yourself drifting into that space where you feel like you can’t function without your partner, it’s time to take a step back and reclaim your independence

Trust me, your relationship will be stronger for it — because two self-sufficient people choosing to be together is far more powerful than two people who feel like they have no other option.

4) Your relationships with family and friends

Your relationships with family and friends have been built over years, perhaps even decades. These bonds are a part of who you are, and it’s crucial to maintain them, even when you’re deeply in love with someone else. 

Your partner should never make you choose between them and the other important people in your life.

That said, let’s be real: your partner doesn’t have to be best buddies with every single person you love. They’re in a relationship with you, not your entire social circle. 

It’s entirely possible that they won’t click with some of your friends or family members the way you do, and that’s okay. 

However, if your partner starts pressuring you to cut off ties with certain people, it’s a major red flag that needs addressing. 

Unless the relationship in question is genuinely unhealthy or harmful to you, this kind of demand usually signals deeper issues like jealousy or possessiveness

If this happens, it’s crucial to have an open and honest conversation about their concerns. Are they valid? Or are they rooted in less reasonable emotions? 

Sorting this out can provide valuable insights into your relationship and help you safeguard your important bonds with family and friends.

5) Your belief system

Your belief system, be it religious, spiritual, or atheistic, is deeply woven into the fabric of who you are. It informs your values, your actions, and how you make sense of the world. 

Because it holds such a significant place in your life, altering it for someone else is a risky endeavor that can lead to an existential crisis down the road.

Here, I’m not talking about those situations where you’re introduced to new perspectives and start questioning your own convictions.

I know several people who that’s happened to, both in relationships and while being single, and is also a perfectly valid path of self-discovery.

You may even find that your partner’s views resonate with you on a deep level. 

But if that shift in belief doesn’t come from an authentic place within you, if it feels more like a sacrifice than a natural evolution, it’s likely to create emotional and spiritual turmoil.

The bottom line? Always stay true to what you believe in. Your partner should love you for who you are, and that includes your deeply held beliefs.

6) Your personal boundaries

Your personal boundaries are like the invisible fence that surrounds your emotional well-being. They define what’s acceptable and what’s not in how others interact with you. 

When you enter a relationship, it’s tempting to lower those boundaries in the name of love or compromise. But altering them for someone else’s comfort is a slippery slope that often leads to resentment and loss of self-respect.

Now, you might discover that certain boundaries can flex in a healthy relationship. You’ll learn to tolerate each other’s quirks, and maybe you’ll even change your mind about some things. 

But those changes should be mutual and feel right to you.

Remember, setting boundaries isn’t about shutting out your partner; it’s about creating a healthy emotional environment where both of you can flourish. 

If someone truly cares about you, they’ll respect your boundaries rather than pushing you to change them. So hold the line — your emotional well-being is worth it.

7) Who you are at your core

At the heart of who you are lie your core traits — your humor, your kindness, your knack for telling it like it is. These are the qualities that make you, well, you. 

And these shouldn’t change because of someone else’s preferences or desires. 

A relationship should feel like a home for your authentic self, not a place where you need to don a mask or become a ‘better’ version according to someone else’s standards.

That being said, a loving relationship can be a crucible for personal growth. It might inspire you to be more patient, more forgiving, or more understanding. 

But these should be evolutions of who you already are, not complete overhauls. Your partner should love you for what you are right now, not for what they hope you’ll become.

It can take some soul-searching to discover who you are at your core. But when you find it, hold onto it tight, and never change it for the sake of anyone else. 

The art of balancing personal growth and keeping your identity

Finding the right balance between personal growth and preserving your true self can be tricky, especially in a relationship. 

It’s easy to think that you should change for the person you love, and in some cases, adapting certain habits or perspectives can be healthy and mutually beneficial. 

However, in love, the goal isn’t to morph into someone else’s ideal, but to find someone who appreciates you for who you truly are — quirks, imperfections, and all. 

They should inspire you to grow, yes, but never at the cost of losing your essence.

So as you journey through your relationship, keep these 7 aspects of yourself sacred. 

At the end of the day, it’s your unique identity that’s your greatest gift — not just to your ideal partner, but to the world.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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