I remember staring longingly at my best friend and her boyfriend as they kissed and held hands at the local bar. I wanted to be them. And then when it happened for me – surprisingly -- I didn’t.
Sure, I wanted a partner. Of course I wanted to be loved and cherished. But I also liked making my own decisions and focusing on myself. I didn’t want a relationship to get in the way of my independence.
It was too late. For better or for worse, we fell for each other within a span of 3 months and I was spending all my time at his apartment and not at the apartment I shared with 2 roommates. On the one hand, I was happy to be with him and on the other hand, there was something gnawing at me – telling me that I should sleep at home at least 2 nights a week and make more time for girlfriends whenever possible.
This story has a happy ending. We
dated for 2 years, he proposed, and we got married 2 days before Valentine’s Day. But while my friends are supportive and happy for me, if there’s one thing that I could change across the span of the whole relationship, it would be to make sure not to lose myself.
It’s a work in progress and I’m still working on it. I haven’t forgotten my friends and they haven’t forgotten me. I know in times of trouble, they are the ones to turn to. But I do wish at times, that I would have kept a better balance of both.
That’s why I implore you not to do the same. And here are 5 ways how.
1. Don’t Lose Your Identity
If you were a writer, don’t stop writing! If you met friends in photography club, don’t stop going to meetings! I like to salsa dance, which some would say shouldn’t be danced after marriage because it’s a partner dance. But I know my limits. It’s a hobby that is a part of me now and I won’t stop dancing.
2. Focus on Your Career
There will be a time when you will have to focus on family. If that time isn’t here yet, remember your other ambitions, including your career. Setting high goals for yourself will make you feel powerful and happy and you don’t need a husband to do it.
3. Personal Friendships
Making time for friends outside your significant other is a must. Remember, this doesn’t just mean short brunch dates before you get back to your own families (although of course that’s better than nothing.) Vacations, day trips, and sleepovers fall into that category. You’ll feel rejuvenated when you get back to your significant other.
4. Being Alone
My current husband and I live together and we lived together since before we were married. You know what keeps us sane? He watches TV in the living room while I’m on the computer in the bedroom. Or I watch TV while he studies. We do things separately because we enjoy our alone time and when we come back to each other it’s that much more meaningful.
5. Did You Know…
Being independent can keep you from breaking up? An article for Lifehack listed seven ways being independent can actually improve your relationship – including less sharing, saying no, and having separate hobbies.
As Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true.”
Israel; Loves Fashion & Music