There are few things more exciting than a new relationship. It’s essentially a new start, and a series of firsts. You want to spend every single waking moment of every single day with this person. This is all well and good until you start to lose yourself, and can no longer function as an independent individual.
I once knew a couple who were so inseparable to the point where their names were not uttered in isolation to the other. It was always ‘Nick and Gen’ did this. ‘Nick and Gen’ will be here soon. ‘Nick and Gen love this.’ The two of them shared the same friends; the same interests and the same taste in foods; in fact I wouldn't be so surprised to learn that they ended up sharing the same toothbrush as well.
Of course it was harder on ‘Gen’ as she was the one who had adopted all of ‘Nicks’ friends. On one particular girls night out ‘Gen’ faced the panel and admitted to all of ‘Nicks’ girl-friends, who were now her close girl-friends, that she no longer kept in contact with her old friends. She had completely sacrificed her old life for her boyfriend.
When ‘Nick and Gen’ eventually broke up their assets, aka friends, were evenly and fairly divided, just like in any other divorce. The pair really struggled to function as individual units, and both of them jumped straight into new relationships out of habit. It was really awful to witness, and I pledged to myself then and there to never allow myself to get into a similar situation.
There’s an ‘I’ in ‘relationship’
Little do the movies or magazines tell you that there’s actually an ‘I’ in a ‘relationship.’ We’re so conditioned to believe that once in a committed relationship, we’re supposed to do and share everything with the other person. Whilst it’s great that your partner is able to be friendly with your mates, or that you both love French Cuisine - it’s also important to have activities and interests you can pursue on your own. If you find yourself always doing what your partner wants to do, you may end up resenting them for it, and things could turn ugly fairly rapidly.
It’s all about balance
I’m not saying that couples should keep their friends and interests completely and utterly separate. I mean it’s great to share the things we love with the people we love. I’m talking about maintaining a sense of self in a committed relationship, if anything else for personal development and confidence. If things do turn sour, you'll want to have a backup plan and individual projects to pursue.
If you’re feeling a little lost and smothered by your significant others’ world, then try doing things on your own. You take each other out on fancy dates, so why not do the same with yourself. Try taking yourself out to breakfast with a book, or (shock-horror) go to the movies alone. Above all else keep your friends close, and make a conscious effort to plan regular catch-ups. Allow yourself to enjoy things without the other person, and always maintain your personal passion; whether that be trashy cinema, Vampire fiction or action sports.