“Relationships are about two individuals who maintain their own lives and create another one together.” ~Unknown
When I am in relationship I put all of myself into it, and can sometimes neglect my own needs as a result.
I’ve recognized that I’m doing this in my current relationship, and I’ve realized that while it is wonderful to be truly committed, it is important not to lose oneself. This is where healthy boundaries come into play.
A healing practitioner recently reminded me that relationships are excellent opportunities for personal growth.
As someone who was single for almost a decade and has been in a committed relationship for the past year, I realize I’ve had a big opportunity to learn about myself and to grow as a person. My fiancé is my biggest mirror and, through our connection, I have been better able to understand my patterns.
I have observed that I have a strong desire to merge with my partner because it feels blissful to be connected. I crave union, being one with the person who means most to me.
This desire for union and oneness often leads me to a place where my boundaries begin to disappear. I forget to check in with myself about what I need or want before I say yes to my partner’s requests.
For example, there are times when my partner wants to go out on a Friday night to have fun, when I feel that I need a quiet evening at home to rest, relax, and nurture myself.
While I love those moments of union and oneness, and I believe that it is important to be giving and to be of service to my partner, this can become excessive.
I have realized that when I seek to fully merge with my beloved, I can lose my deep connection to my core and what I want as an individual. If I continually do this, I can end up feeling tired, burned out, and grumpy.
My core self is the “me” that has needs, desires, wishes, and dreams as an individual.
When I disconnect from my core self, I find it hard to stay focused on my goals, such as growing my business and doing my own spiritual development work.
My body lets me know that I am disconnecting from myself through physical discomfort and pain. Many times, my whole spine and pelvis will mirror my lack of internal alignment, and I will feel the need to go to the chiropractor because of this.
Relationships require a delicate balance between having clear boundaries and yet not becoming too closed off from the other person.
When we completely merge with our partner, we can actually lose the person that our partner fell in love with. But if we have too many boundaries and are too self-focused, we lose the opportunity to be deeply connected, share greater intimacy, and to give to our partner and the relationship.
So how do we navigate this delicate balance? How do we set boundaries without setting up too many walls? I believe that this is a continual process and evolution.
For me, it takes practice and mindfulness. I need to consistently check in with myself to recognize how I am showing up in the relationship, how I am giving of myself, and whether I am losing myself.
I also have to recognize when I am creating walls between my fiancé and myself, perhaps due to past wounds or fears related to deep intimacy.
In its simplest form, it requires checking in on a daily basis with my core self. What is it that I need for myself today? How do I stay connected to who I am as an individual?
If you find it difficult to say no to others, remember that it takes practice. Practice saying “no” to small things that might feel easier and then build up to the bigger things.
If the person receiving the “no” doesn’t want to listen, remember that it is okay to hold firm to your decision and express your own needs and desires.
And if you’re afraid to hold firm because you don’t want to rock the boat, ask yourself if you really want to be in a relationship where you can’t communicate and honor your own needs.
I have started a new practice each morning. When I first get up, I spend a few minutes standing quietly and connecting to my deeper core self.
I remind myself that I am still Lyn before I am someone’s fiancé, and that I do not want to completely lose myself by merging with my partner.
I find that starting each day with this intention reminds me to stay connected to my core self throughout the day as I make my choices.
Remembering this commitment to myself when my partner requests something and I decide whether to agree helps me know I won’t have to sacrifice my needs to do it. I am honoring the strong and independent woman he fell in love with.
Some other ways that I’ve found to stay open in my relationship without losing myself is taking quiet time each day to meditate, breathe, or otherwise just connect with myself.
It also helps to make sure I’m not only doing activities with my partner while neglecting my own individual interests or my girlfriends. When I remember to fill my own cup up and listen to my inner knowing, it helps me to be a better partner too.
If you struggle with balancing being open to your partner while not losing yourself, know that you are not alone and that it is a continual practice for many of us. With consistent focus on the balance of honoring your partner and relationship while also honoring yourself, it does become easier.
Disappearing woman image via Shutterstock