I think we've all been here before: someone of interest comes along--which if you're like me, isn't that often--and because of that, your daily life is shaken up a bit. Most of your time once dedicated to your friends, family, and/or yourself is now dedicated to you new partner--probably without you even consciously knowing it. You are, however, consciously aware of how annoying it can be when you talk only about your partner to friends, so you try super, super hard not to...but still kind of can't help it because you're too excited.
So, this begs the question of how to maintain a good life balance with someone new in your life, and more importantly, how to maintain a sense of self? Well, here is a list of tips I found on how to not lose yourself when you begin dating someone you really like:
- Spend time with friends -- without your partner. It's great when your significant other and your friends like one another, but your friends don't always want your other half around when they are trying to spend time with you
- Identify hobbies and interests that you don't share -- and keep doing them. You and your significant other are not going to enjoy all the same activities. Don't stop nurturing your pottery skills just because your partner doesn't especially love ceramics. It's important to support each other's interests -- even and maybe especially when they aren't shared.
- Speak up for yourself. While committing to another being is a great thing, giving up your needs and feelings up for that person isn't. Don't compromise or undermine your own desires just because a) you want to give the other person everything they want or b) you're scared that you'll lose him or her if you need something different.
- Map out plans for your future irrespective of your significant other. It's fine to make plans with your partner and even discuss a possible future together, but it's just as important to establish for yourself what you want out of your career and work toward the things you want in your personal life.
- Disconnect electronically. Spending time "apart" while constantly chatting and texting with your partner isn't really taking time for yourself. To retain your sense of who you are, you need to set aside time to do your thing -- work, exercise, read, journal, pursue personal projects, whatever -- without checking in with your partner every five minutes.
- Remember that you don't have to experience everything with him or her.
That movie you've been looking forward to is finally coming out? A friend in another city invited you to visit for a weekend? Have a chance to go skydiving for the first time? It's tempting to invite your partner to come along, but realize that you don't need to experience these things with him or her, especially if it's something you've been wanting to do since long before you met. It's okay to enjoy them by yourself or with friends -- you're not required to share.
- Get inspired. If your partner doesn't motivate you to be the best version of you, it's worth asking whether this is the right relationship for you. If you're well matched, both of you feel free -- and encouraged -- to reach your full potential.
- Be open to new things. Part of maintaining your sense of self is knowing you can try something new without sacrificing your core values and tastes. Give your partner's hobbies and interests a shot at least once. If you enjoy them, great. If not, don't do them again, and be confident in that choice.