Starting a new relationship is an exciting adventure.
You’re learning about and connecting with a new person, you’re discovering mutual interests and new ones you didn’t know about, and you’re trying your hardest to put your best foot forward so that they like you and keep liking you.
With this combination of excitement, interest, and insecurity it is really easy to love yourself to the new relationship.
In attempts to make ourselves seem more appealing and desirable to the other person, we modify who we are to fit who they are or who we think they want us to me.
While this may seem like a good plan for keeping the object of your affection, in the long run it is never going to work.
You want to be with someone who likes you for who you are, because eventually the real you will make an appearance—so you might as well just start there.
The real you will always come out—as it should!—which is why it’s important to maintain your identity in any new relationship so that your partner can actually get to know the real you instead of getting to know the version you think they want and then finding out it wasn’t real at all.
Here are 3 ways to maintain your identity in a new relationship:
It’s okay not to like all the same things.
One way we compromise our identity is to pretend to like everything that our partner likes.
While trying new things is important and great for learning about something you might end up actually liking, trying it and then lying about liking it is not a good start for your relationship.
It’s okay if you don’t like everything that your partner does.
If you try something they enjoy and find that it doesn’t connect with you, that’s totally okay.
Their favorite restaurant doesn’t have to be your favorite.
You both don’t have to love the same comedian.
It’s totally fine to not enjoy extreme biking and not want to spend your weekends doing wheelies.
You should share enough mutual interests that having some different interests as well won’t affect your connection.If you don’t share enough things in common that pretending to like the same things is the only way to feel that connection then they probably aren’t the right partner for you.
Keep your friends.
It’s easy to want to spend all our time with our new partner but you should not sacrifice existing relationships for your new one.
It’s important to still make time for your friends and family.
Not only is it important to make time for them, but it’s important to make time for them that also doesn’t include dragging your new partner along.
Of course, being in a relationship changes dynamics.
You aren’t going to spend as much time with your friends as you did when you were single because you do have an additional person vying for your time now, and obviously you want to include your new partner in social activities because they are important to you and you want to share those moments and life experiences with them, but it’s also important to have solo time with your friends and family who love you and enjoy your company, too.
Don’t ditch them just because you have new company.
Don’t lose sight of your goals.
You have goals and aspirations of what you want to achieve in your life and it is important to hold on to those.
Yes, some may change with a relationship and new ones may emerge but the important ones will remain.
Don’t get distracted, give up, or lose sight of those important goals.
You shouldn’t sacrifice that which you have worked for and will bring you the most happiness just because you are with someone.
A true partner will support you in your goals and want to help you achieve them.
How you achieve them may look different than it did when you were single and it may take longer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have it or are expected to give it up for the other person.
Obviously, some goals like being a bachelor forever you will have to give up if you want to be in a relationship, but others like career goals or travel goals should remain.If you want to backpack across Europe, that dream shouldn’t go away just because you’re in a relationship.
Find out if your partner wants to go with you or if you can make a long distance relationship work for a few weeks.
If you want to have kids one day, don’t sacrifice that because your new partner says they don’t.
If you want to start your own company and make designer clothes for cats, don’t give that up just because you are afraid your new partner will think it’s silly or unattainable.
Compromise is important in relationships, but not at the expense of your happiness.
If you find you and your partner don’t share similar goals and aspirations or stand on opposite sides, then it’s probably not the best relationship for you.
Your identity is what makes you the wonderful person you are.
You don’t want to lose all the things that make you, you just because you have a new relationship.
Your new partner should like you for who you are and if you find you can’t connect without changing yourself to be someone who you think they want, then it’s probably not a relationship with long-term potential.