7 warning signs you’ve lost your independence in a relationship

The early stages of a relationship often come with warm, fuzzy feelings where you’re eager to please your partner.

You want them around all the time, go along with whatever they want to do, and agree with almost everything they say.

After all, you’d want them to like you enough to stay – for the long term, hopefully!

But where do you draw the line?

Does your life only revolve around your partner and nothing else? Have you neglected everyone else – including yourself?

If you’re worried that you may be losing yourself in the relationship, here are 7 signs to look out for.

1) You’re overly accommodating

Do you find yourself bending over backwards to meet your partner’s needs and wants, at the expense of your own?

This could include constantly doing whatever they like and going along with whatever they say – when you’d rather be doing something else.

While couples are usually encouraged to participate in each other’s hobbies and be generally supportive of each other, this shouldn’t just apply to one person in the relationship.

You should be comfortable enough to say no or disagree if you’re too tired, not interested, or just feel that their views don’t align with yours on a particular issue.

Ultimately, relationships will require both parties to compromise at times. After all, we can’t all agree on the same thing every time.

But your life shouldn’t be a series of compromises just to appease your partner.

Because if this persists, it could result in the next sign.

2) You cannot make independent decisions

Let me start with what a healthy relationship should look like when making major decisions:

  • Both parties are willing to listen to each other’s views.
  • Both parties are agreeable to come to a compromise (without any negative feelings) if the decision doesn’t satisfy all preferences of either party.

Is this representative of your relationship?

Or do you feel anxious when making decisions without consulting your partner? Does making even the smallest of decisions feel difficult when you don’t have their input?

Perhaps you’re only now realizing that the majority – if not all – of the choices you’ve made were solely based on your partner’s needs and preferences.

You’ve been too used to pushing your needs aside.

3) You start losing your identity

Losing yourself in a relationship could also erase your identity, or who you once were previously.

This doesn’t happen overnight.

Very often, you’ll be completely unaware of this change, until perhaps your friends or family point this out.

I’m not saying that people don’t change at all when they get into a relationship; our preferences for certain foods, fashion, or maybe interests may be influenced by our partners.

But if you struggle to define yourself outside of your relationship, or if you can’t clearly distinguish your own values and desires – this is a warning sign that you may have lost your identity.

4) You rarely have ‘me’ time

When was the last time you had time to pursue your own interests? Do you remember the last time you were left alone with your thoughts?

Making time to self-reflect and work on our goals is crucial for self-development. Self-care days are equally important where you do things that you like. This could be checking out a café nearby or watching a movie on your own.

If your life only revolves around your partner, you may start feeling trapped. You start to realize you’re sacrificing your own passions for the sake of the relationship.

Remember the activities that brought you joy and fulfillment, and embark on them on your own!

5) You start to isolate yourself from friends and family

As with all things, having balance is incredibly important.

It’s very normal to have your partner fill up your social schedule, as you’d generally want to spend time nurturing the relationship. It will also mean that you spend less time with people you once hung out with regularly – and that’s okay! We all only have 24 hours in a day.

However, your partner shouldn’t only be the one you’re spending time with.

The other important people in your life who supported you even before this relationship should be prioritized as well.

By making time for them, you ensure that there’s a constant network of support outside your relationship that you can rely on.

Because if you don’t, this might happen eventually.

6) You’re overly reliant on your partner for emotional support

Are you able to cope with your emotions without your partner? Or do you need constant reassurance from them?

Although it’s natural for partners to provide comfort to each other – and usually, they’re the first source we go to for support – excessively relying on them can result in an unhealthy relationship dynamic.

It could lead to a situation where your emotions are heavily influenced by the other party. When they’re upset or angry, regardless of your circumstances, you find yourself feeling distressed as well.

7) You avoid conflict with your partner

Have you ever avoided expressing your opinions when you disagree with your partner? Do you find yourself excusing behaviors that go against your morals?

It’s fine to have differing opinions and constructive discussions, which could potentially strengthen the respect both of you have for each other.

But suppressing your thoughts just to keep the peace is a sign that you may be prioritizing the relationship over yourself.

What’s worse is if you find yourself taking the blame for issues where you’re not at fault.

Bottled-up emotions and feelings will find their way out eventually, and usually in very unpleasant ways.

So, what do I do next?

The first step is to acknowledge where you are, before moving forward to regaining your independence.

Put your foot down and establish boundaries.

Talk to your partner about how you’ve been feeling, schedule in time to pursue your own interests, and seek support from people outside your relationship, like your friends and family.

Final thoughts

Remember, balance is key to maintaining a strong relationship and your individuality.

Relationships are complex and take time to navigate, but if both partners are willing to do the work and support each other, it’ll all be worth it!

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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