Losing Yourself in a Relationship

In my re-introduction post I noted that I stopped writing SoloSity Gal because I was in a relationship and so I wasn’t single, the basis of the blog. But writing SoloSity Gal wasn’t the only thing I gave up to be with Matt, the now ex-boyfriend.

When I was dating Matt I couldn’t quite recognize who I was. There were bursts of moments when I’d be back to who I was but it was never with Matt. At the time I wasn’t sure why but looking back things are clear: I couldn’t trust him. There were so many things that happened over the course of relationship that kept me from trusting him. I had developed a like for this guy and I kept hoping that just maybe I’d be able to live with his flaws and be able to build a trust with him. But I was not happy.

Not being able to trust my boyfriend, I couldn’t be myself around him. It was more than just the “trust him to be faithful to me” trust. I’m talking about the other forms of trust. I couldn’t trust him not to hurt me because he had done it and quite badly right after I asked him not to. I couldn’t trust him to take care of me or protect me.

Without that trust, I had lost sight of who I was. What happened to that smiley woman who made sarcastic (sometimes inappropriate) jokes and would wildly gesticulate when talking? I was replaced with a woman who felt neglected, wanted some of her boyfriend’s attention but became silent and had given up expressing herself. It wasn’t just my voice I’d given up, I had laid aside my love of writing. When I met Matt my writing program was first in my life. Everything had to wait until my assignments were finished. In my mind I compromised by finishing assignments early so that I could see him on weekends. Then, when the class was finished, I put Matt first. I gave up writing which has always been my therapy and my passion. I stopped taking my class and put my career goal on the back-burner. In fairness to Matt, he didn’t know. I didn’t complained and I didn’t mention that I stopped taking classes for him so that he wouldn’t have to compete with that aspect of my life. I didn’t want to play martyr and at the time I didn’t see it as a sacrifice. I wonder, though, why he never asked what happened to my classes. I stopped making plans on weekends so that I could be with him. If I had dinner plans with my friends, I invited him to come along. I wanted him to feel included in my life.

What did Matt gave up for me? I can’t really say. Maybe he didn’t give up anything for me or maybe he did and never told me like I never told him what I gave up. Well, he said he gave up smoking for me but he’d been thinking about quitting for a while and I guess I was just the catalyst to make that happen. Funny, he’s actually not the first guy to claim to give up smoking for me. He may not have given up anything for me but I think he did try to compromise… at the beginning. He drove into the city to come see me and did all the driving because I don’t drive. That’s the only compromise I can think of.

With my love of writing put aside for a man, I lost myself. Writing is my lifeline, my constant and I no longer had that. I stopped reading as well and cut back on my volunteer work. He occupied my thoughts. His seeming waning-of-interest made me insecure. This article from Pick The Brain, 7 Ways to Tell if You’re Losing Yourself in Your Relationship pretty much described me. I’d become a woman that wanted to be with a man who I knew didn’t care for me the way I wanted to be cared for.

It’s obvious that I shouldn’t have given up my life for Matt. I should have kept my interests and kept doing what I wanted to do. I became a woman who was more focused on a man than herself. I can call myself stupid for forgetting who I was and letting him become the focus of my life but instead I choose to call it a lesson I needed to learn. I won’t be putting my love aside again for someone. If they want to be in my life, then I will compromise and still make time for him but I won’t be stopping my life. As humans, we need someone who encourages us to grow and reach our goals. It’s what I intend to do for my partner and what I expect him to do for me.

To end this post, I’ll say I love the Ernest Hemingway quote that’s used for the featured image for this post (image from The Daily Mind):

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.

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