A lot of people think that the process of losing oneself in a relationship is very obvious—that it always involves things like dressing exactly like the partner, assuming all of his friends, giving up their careers to be a kept woman and disappearing from social media. Most women think, “If I were losing myself in a relationship, I’d know it.” But, by the very nature of losing one’s self, you won’t see it coming when it happens. Losing yourself also means losing some very important things like perspective and feelings of self-worth—all of which you need to have intact to see anything clearly. So, no, you probably won’t see it if you’re losing yourself in a relationship. You just have to know the signs ahead of time—write them down somewhere—so if it ever happens you can take a long hard look in the mirror and say, “It’s happening…” Here are signs you lose yourself in relationships.
You suck at texting your friends back
You’ve started getting a lot of, “Hello?” texts, “Are you alive?” messages and “Alright, guess you don’t want to answer me…” follow-ups. You’re so lost in the relationship you can’t take two seconds to respond to your friends.
A small argument can ruin your week
Fighting with your partner sucks, but it shouldn’t ruin your week. It should destroy your ability to enjoy the things you used to enjoy, like yoga, happy hour, walks on the beach, etc. You’re too consumed with the relationship if that’s happening.
You think a lot before you speak
You find yourself doing a lot of thinking before you speak. You want every sentence to come out perfectly…That’s probably because you’re afraid of losing your partner because you’ve lost yourself, so you never want to accidentally upset him.
You take too many pictures together. TOO many
It’s funny how the people who have the most photos on social media with their significant other also seem to have, well, the most significant others. Putting up 12 photos a day together is usually a sign that you cling desperately to the relationship because it’s all you have left.
Your goals have come to a halt
You’ve stopped attending that night class, going to those networking events, sending out query letters, attending work happy hours and such. You now spend all the free time you used to spend on forwarding your career with your partner.
You only feel present when he’s there
If you’re not with your partner, you cannot focus on the people around you or the thing you are doing. Moments without him just seem like wasted moments. That could be love…but it could also mean that you don’t know how to be happy without your partner anymore.
You can’t remember the last time you did what you wanted to do
Let’s see: last weekend you hiked to that monument he wanted to see and saw the movie he wanted to watch. The weekend before that you visited his old college friend in another town. The weekend before that the two of you worked on his work presentation…
You consult your partner on everything
You compulsively call your partner to ask what sandwich you should order, how much you should cut your hair, what font to use on your resume and just about any minuscule decision you come across. It’s as if you’ve lost the ability to think for yourself.
You won’t make plans without consulting him
Your friend asks you to hang out on Saturday. You know that you don’t have plans on Saturday. But you would first like to make sure that your partner didn’t have something he wanted to do with you Saturday. But, wait: didn’t your friend just call dibs on your Saturday?
The thought of being alone terrifies you
If the thought of being alone terrifies you, then you’ve definitely lost yourself in the relationship. It’s normal to feel very sad at the concept of losing someone you love, but it’s not normal to feel like you wouldn’t know how to function.
Your mom suggests you take some personal time
Hint, hint: maybe if you remove yourself from the relationship for all of ten minutes, reflect on things, and spend time with friends and family you’ll realize that your relationship is unhealthy.
Your friends say things like, “Look who crawled out of her hole.”
This is your friends’ very polite warning that you’re getting close to losing them as a friend entirely since you put your relationship way above them.
And “Can we steal you away for one night?”
This is another polite way your friends will imply that you let your boyfriend completely control your life and your schedule, so much so that they feel like they have to get permission to hang out with you.
You won’t go on a trip without your partner
Travel is still incredibly enriching without a romantic partner. In fact, it can be even more enriching because you’re totally free to do what you want to do. If you won’t go on a trip without your partner, you’re totally lost in the relationship.
You’re very defensive of the relationship
You usually know on a subconscious level that your attachment to this partner has reached unhealthy levels. As a result, you become especially defensive when anyone suggests as much.
You feel a burst of anger and resentment
When you lose yourself in a relationship, you end up making too many compromises. You don’t speak up much, you don’t say what you want or need, and you mostly just lay down to the will of the other person. This will lead you to feel strong and bizarre bursts of anger and resentment.
You align yourself with other lost women
You find yourself drawn to women whose whole lives are their partners. All they talk about is their partners, they plan their lives around their partners, and they run home the second their partner calls.
You say “We” all of the time
So you’ve completely lost a sense of personal identity at this point. It’s okay to say “we” when someone actually asked you something about you and your partner. But if you just say “we” instead of “I” all of the time, that’s scary.
Your wardrobe/taste in food/interests has done a 180
You went from a diehard vegan to a diehard meat eater; you went from wearing mostly jeans and tank tops to wearing pleated pants, expensive blouses, and designer shoes. A lot of people don’t even recognize you anymore.
Every partner has been drastically different
Women who lose themselves in relationships are generally just, well, lost. So their boyfriend choices are rather eclectic—it’s a symptom of the fact that they have no idea who they are. One boyfriend will be the CEO of a financial firm, and the next will be a couch-crasher/life coach/jewelry maker.