It’s easy to get caught up in your significant other early into a relationship. You have an unending desire to know every facet of them. What makes them mad? What makes them happy? What makes them sad? You want to share and do everything together to form commonalities in order to somehow create a foundation for your future together.
As your relationship continues to grow and become more intricate, you might one day come to the realization that you have started to see them as a reflection of yourself as you "merge" into a couple.
That “merging” may lead you to feel like you're losing your own sense of self and identity. The story of two becoming one is a beautiful one of commitment, hardships, and perseverance. Eventually, a reciprocal relationship will empower and celebrate your unique sense of self within it. But the road to that ideal is not a straight path and you may start to fear that your unique flame will be extinguished.
Reflect on this: Have you and your partner ever fought over something that turned out completely insignificant a few days later even though it felt like life or death at the moment? The feeling of your partner not agreeing with you can feel devaluing, triggering you to find it vitally important to win the argument so you don't fall into an identity-less abyss.
As the relationship deepens, you may begin to grow resentful of giving up vital parts of yourself, especially if it feels as though those self-sacrifices are necessary in order to better your relationship. I personally struggled with forcing myself to conform to my partner's expectations not because he demanded it but because I thought that it would make him love me more. The truth is that this couldn’t be any more wrong. Through a long period of building healthy communication habits, I learned how love enables one to accept the core traits of their significant others.
Losing myself in my relationship created anxiety, internal tension and even a sense of hopelessness and it threatened my connection to my boyfriend.
Awareness followed by communication can be the first steps you take to reopening your independent identity within the relationship. My hope is that facilitating more direct and healthy communication with your partner will annihilate your extreme desire to conform for love. Relationships can be messy and this isn't easy so I hope that this encourages you to realize that you’re not alone and empowers you to make the first move to a happier, healthier love.