Because of my history, I have trouble maintaining my independence in a relationship. It is something I can acknowledge and reflect, and consider and prevent – only with the help of experience and therapy! I have a tendency to lose myself in relationships, which makes me unhappy and resentful (and not a very nice person).
This is something I am focusing on in my current relationship. I know I need to pursue my passions, live my life fully and be myself fully. Sometimes, this is easy. Sometimes I am so wrapped up in my own life, my responsibilities, my adventures, that it does not phase me. I am not caught up in texting 24/7, in wanting attention all the time, not making wrong choices about how I balance my time (sacrificing my interests for the relationship).
But occasionally, in particular after we get to spend a lot of time together, I can really feel that pull. And it makes sense, really. There is this person out there, who I think is the absolute most wonderful human on the planet. Who loves me and supports me in ways that make me feel amazing. When we are together – we are having fun. We work so well together, how we interact in magical. We believe in each other. Being next to him, having his attention in any capacity, makes me feel joy, love and just plain GOOD. Of course that is addicting!
We are also two single parents raising children, maintaining a household, pursuing our careers and other interests. We live an hour apart. So, we do not have much time for each other, which makes the pull even harder. Sometimes we do not even have time to catch up and chat. It is easy to get SAD and bummed out about this. To focus on the missing him, to wanting more time from him, more attention, etc. and let it consume me. It is easy to wrap this up with the basic loneliness of single parenting. All of that is enough to make you forget your passions, forget the good you do have, and wallow in self pity.
SO. I try to throw myself into my passions – those activities that make me feel alive. I try to focus on living my best life – taking on my parenting, household, life responsibilities to the best ability. This makes me happy, and makes me a better partner. I have my own energy and stories to bring to the relationship, I am successfully living my life. It establishes my independence and the life I have outside of the relationship. This gives me confidence, which pushes the insecurities away – I’m less needy, because I know how competent and awesome I am. I focus on the positives of the relationship, and not the negatives of missing him. I focus on how it feels to know I have someone out there supporting me the way he does, and I let that motivate me. I focus on the activities we do have planned – knowing when that will be, and also knowing how wonderful that will be.
Acknowledging my tendencies and understanding where they came from were key to being able to have a healthy relationship. I cannot recommend therapy enough, for this reason. There really was a light bulb moment for me – and in that moment, I was able to change and move forward (while also recognizing that I am not perfect at it and never will be).