Have you ever felt that, despite how “perfect” and “happy” your dating relationship is, you personally are not very happy at all? You may feel stifled in some way–emotionally, socially, creatively, physically. Or you may feel like you aren’t you anymore, that you are a part of a set, a pair, and there’s no going back now.
Sometimes during relationships, we forget to be ourselves. We forget who we were before dating, and it may feel that you have no way to reclaim yourself and your individuality while in a relationship.
Let me say that first: that’s not true, and second: there are ways to be independent while dating someone.
It sounds scary, but trust me, it isn’t. As someone looking back on a long-term relationship where individuality was lost, I can say that if I had preserved my independence alongside my dating life, I probably would be more in touch with myself and possibly still in that relationship. (But Que Sera, Sera.)
While reflecting on my breakup, I came up with five things that you can do to be an independent dating woman.
1. Take yourself on a date once in a while.
It may seem like a weird at first, but taking yourself out and doing something that you like or haven’t done in awhile is a great way to get back in touch with yourself, as well as give you an idea of what to ask your partner for in terms of things you do together. Plus, it allows you to be alone, making your own decisions, even if it is just for a day, or an hour even. It can be anything–exploring the town by yourself, getting your coffee and enjoying it alone, or catching that movie that you really want to see but haven’t yet. Just as long as it’s something that you like and decide on.
2. Get your squad together for a hangout!
Oftentimes, while in relationships, our besties can find themselves pushed to the sidelines, even when there are the best intentions not to. However, hanging out all the time with just your significant other isn’t the best idea, so call on girl power to remind you of your kickass individuality. They usually know you better than yourself, and if your circle is completely separated from your partner’s circle of friends, then you don’t have to worry about being part of a couple– you can just be you, with your own likes and dislikes.
3. Own your talents and passions.
This may technically go along number one, but I think it’s important enough to be separate. If you are amazing at something, don’t let the relationship keep you from doing that! Showcase it, and own up to your wonderful talent and love for it. This may be the one time that you can share something with someone and still take the credit for its awesomeness because of course, you probably want to share the accomplishment with your bae. You can–just don’t forget that you’re the wonder-woman behind it!
4. Set boundaries.
This one is a tad bit different, because, instead of it being something that you independently do, this is something to do with your partner. Dating is a two-way street, and part of dating is communicating with your partner what you want, be it from them or yourself. If you want to be able to grow as a person, let them know and try to establish enough space so that you can do that.
5. Be honest with yourself.
This one is the last one for a reason–because it is the hardest to do. When you find yourself losing your independence to a relationship, it forces you to consider what your priorities are. It forces you to consider certain options and solutions. Maybe going over boundaries again is all you need; maybe you need to take a break from the relationship. Maybe you break up.
True, relationships breakups are hard– but getting yourself back is harder. There are so many things that I haven’t mentioned that you can do to find yourself again if you start to lose it to love:
The first thing you need for any of those things is you.