Falling in love is exciting, and many people dream of meeting their “other halves," the partners who make them feel complete. Yet a truly fulfilling relationship is not the meeting of two half-people but the meeting of two fully developed individuals who understand themselves and complement each other well. If you have been ignoring your own needs in favor of your significant other’s, or have invested so much time in the relationship that it is your only endeavor, it’s time to regain some of your independence.
Protect Your "I" Health
People who have developed codependent relationships often start to think of themselves as part of a “we” while ignoring their sense of “I.” While it’s great that you and your significant other have tons in common, it’s also okay for you to have your own opinions, tastes and interests, according to the post "Stay Independent in Your Relationship" on the website GirlsGuideTo. If you’ve lost your sense of self, try to find it again by returning to the things you truly enjoy, without worrying about your significant other's opinion.
Make New Friends, Keep the Old
One important way to maintain or grow independence in a relationship is to cultivate friendships with people by yourself. This means maintaining the friendships that existed before you were in a couple and continuing to make friends. Not all of your friends need to be “couple friends.” Make a coffee date with someone from work whom you wish you knew better, or call up an old friend and plan a special night. Having your own friends will benefit the relationship because it gives each of you your own space.
On top of making time for other friends, you should be making time for yourself. Araina Bond, writer for “O Magazine,” found that she truly enjoyed having solo adventures after her divorce. You don’t have to be single to make a date with yourself, though. Mark a space on the calendar for something you enjoy doing alone, such as going for a walk, visiting a museum or creating artwork, and then follow through. You’ll be happy to have some space for yourself.
Focus on Your Future
Sometimes sacrifice is necessary for both people in a relationship, but you should never put all of your major goals and needs on the back burner while your significant other pursues life passions. Make sure that your life goals are equally important, and make time to pursue them. A healthy relationship involves two independent individuals with fulfilling lives.
Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.