In a relationship, don’t neglect yourself
The glow in the beginning of a relationship is alluring. Nurturing the early stages of a relationship is important, but some people take it too far and allow that new relationship glow to blind them. They allow the new relationship to become the main facet of their lives, or even the only one.
Do not make the mistake of neglecting the rest of your life when you find yourself in a relationship, no matter how serious the new union appears to be. The relationship is one meaningful aspect of your life, but is not the only one. Your classes, hobbies and friends still matter. All of the things that have always made you unique still matter. A relationship can be pleasant to have in addition to these things, but it does not take the place of them. A partner cannot do nearly as much to make you a confident and mature person as you can by remembering to live your own life.
This risk is of greatest concern for people inexperienced in relationships. If you’re in college and just now having your first real relationship, it’s very easy to let the new relationship become your entire universe. It’s easy to feel like you have to make up for all of that time you spent single while watching your friends, classmates and acquaintances running around with their significant others.
Resist that temptation. The fact that you haven’t been in a relationship before is something you can’t make up for. You can’t do anything to change it, so all you can do is enjoy the new addition to your life. Being in a relationship can be exciting, and it will be nice to gain experience relating to someone else romantically. But don’t let yourself fall into the idea that a romantic relationship is a magic panacea.
Realistically, it is also important to stay engaged in other aspects of your life because chances are that you will probably not be dating your new significant other for the rest of your life. It’s still early in your life. You are in the process of figuring out who you are and you cannot guarantee that your new love is going to be your lifelong love, but you can guarantee that you will continue to grow and thrive as a person despite whatever happens with your new love.
There is a more important and less cynical consideration to make as well. Even if the relationship does last for many years, it’s not healthy to focus your entire life on one person. After that beginning stage of your infatuation cools off into something more familiar, it becomes much harder to feel satisfied when you focus your entire life upon just one other person. You’ll realize the need to enjoy alone time, and you may struggle to get yourself back into the habit of participating on your old hobbies. You’ll also feel the need to reconnect with other people-people who may be wary to let you back into their lives if you have already spurned them in favor of that shiny new significant other.
You will also be a far more desirable partner if you stay engaged in the rest of your life while in the relationship. You and your partner will have a lot more to talk about if you each have active lives apart from each other. Insisting on spending a healthy amount of time away from your partner should him in the habit of taking advantage of that time to better himself, and you’ll both benefit from the attention you give to keeping your lives strong.
If your partner reacts badly to your desire to maintain some independence by acting either clingy or forbidding, you should have a conversation with her. Find out if her hesitance is because she is insecure or because she is controlling. If she is insecure, there is some possibility that you can assure her that this time apart will make the relationship a healthier one. If you get the feeling that her hesitance stems from an active desire to control you, however, it may be time to end the relationship and move on.
Whether you are single or in a relationship, you deserve the ability to keep your friends, your interests and your hobbies. A new relationship can be a lot of fun and a good relationship can be very edifying, but it is no substitute for being able to live an interesting life on your own terms. As tempting as it may be to let yourself be subsumed into your new relationship, don’t let it happen. Keeping other fulfilling parts of your life in your life will not only provide a safety net if the relationship fades away, but more importantly it will ensure that you remain an interesting and independent individual.
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