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How To Not Lose Yourself In Love

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To lose yourself in a relationship is a recipe for disaster.

You are asking why?

Because a stable personality that is getting its needs met is the precondition for a fulfilling relationship.

Unfortunately losing yourself “in love” can happen faster than you think.

You start a promising relationship, you fall in love, you are happy for six months and then things change, you change.

We want our relationships to thrive and most of us tend to think that one way of achieving this is neglecting our own needs and being eager to please our partner – taking care of their needs rather than our own.

Is this wrong? Do we have to put ourselves first in a relationship?

Not necessarily. A relationship is about giving more than you expect back. But never at the cost of our most important personal needs.

When we neglect our most important personal needs, we lose touch with our true self. The result is neediness, insecurity and unhappiness. We become a “Pleaser”.

In addition, IF a relationship like this should fail  - and this is very likely – we will lose everything.

How can we be sure to fulfill our own needs first?

First of all, we must have a pretty good idea who we are as a person. We have to know ourselves first. This is a very important precondition to unconditional self-love.

Based on this knowledge you can start to make a list of your fundamental personal needs, based on your personality. After this, you can start to express these needs to your partner in a clear, concise, articulate manner. This also includes actively learning how to articulate your own thoughts and feelings towards your partner.

This can lead to problems if your partner is a “Controller”, someone who loves to criticize, to shape us after their own idea of a “perfect” partner.

Here it is important to understand that confrontation need not be a negative thing. On the contrary, if it’s handled well, a healthy confrontation can actually lead to better, more honest communication.

During the research for my new book, I discovered a small poem, (really more like a mantra than a poem), which describes the one thing every relationship needs to survive:

To accept the partner for who they are, we have to accept all the flaws and shortcomings.

You should read it to yourself AND to your partner from time to time.

Unconditionally Me
by Jim Messina

I am who I am
You cannot change me so please do not try
So let up with the criticisms, put downs and attempts to make me fit your “box” for me
Face it, it is easier for you just to accept me as I am than to work at making me who you want me to be
Of course you do not have to agree with what I say or do
Just accept me as the human I am
I am weak, have sinned, failed and have made many mistakes in my life
Hey, that’s what makes me the “unique me” that I am
I will never be perfect, ideal or the “image” you want for me
Accept me for who I am as I accept you for who you are
Let’s have fun together and allow our “real selves” the freedom to be “us”
We can be a team of unconditional mutual love and acceptance if you relax and let it happen

Try to find a balanced combination of taking care of YOUR personal needs as a person, and the mutual needs you have as a relationship. This is the best way to NOT lose yourself in love.

Your friend,
Eddie Corbano

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14 Responses to How To Not Lose Yourself In Love

  1. S. January 14, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    I’m struggling with this a little. My relationship has become a part of my identity and I always find it difficult to go out without my boyfriend or spend time with people without him being there. Right now it’s working fine but I know that there will come a time when he can’t be there and I need to be ready for that time. The difficult part is being independent and acting as one person instead of two people after all this time. A huge part of me doesn’t even want to do it cause he is my best friend and I have the most fun with him.

    It’s also very hard to really define my essential and important needs that I really can’t do without. I want to win myself back as an individual but I’m not sure who that is anymore or how to get her back.

    • Dan May 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      Read books like You Can Heal Your life by Louise Hay. It helps. Reach out to me, we can maybe message and help each other out. :) I’m in a new relationship, and I really want to balance myself to make this work. :)

  2. Cinnadon January 25, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    Oh my gosh, this was me. A pleaser, a giver, a relationship filled with “neediness, insecurity and unhappiness.” My world centered around him, not just from my end but from his too. He was very controlling and everything centered on when he wanted to do things ad what he wanted to do. Sickening. I have (had) a very large garden area that for years I worked on and tended to. Well, when I got into my relationship with this man for two years I neglected the garden. I dont think I planted a single plant or visited a single nursery during that time. I was too wrapped up in the relationship. Wanting to find the right outfit to wear for our next date, or doing fancy shopping trips at swanky delis to impress him with food. I have just gotten out in my garden again this week. What a mess!!!! I look at the plants I neglected and shake my head. It’s been over two years since I pruned some bushes that should have been pruned. Things are overgrown adn dead. Weeds evrywhere. This will be my healing project. This garden. I felt a little bit of my old self coming back when I was out there today planting some new plants. It was a great feeling.

  3. Cinnadon January 25, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    Oh my gosh, this was me. A pleaser, a giver, a relationship filled with “neediness, insecurity and unhappiness.” My world centered around him, not just from my end but from his too. He was very controlling and everything centered on when he wanted to do things ad what he wanted to do. Sickening. I have (had) a very large garden area that for years I worked on and tended to. Well, when I got into my relationship with this man for two years I neglected the garden. I dont think I planted a single plant or visited a single nursery during that time. I was too wrapped up in the relationship. Wanting to find the right outfit to wear for our next date, or doing fancy shopping trips at swanky delis to impress him with food. I have just gotten out in my garden again this week. What a mess!!!! I look at the plants I neglected and shake my head. It’s been over two years since I pruned some bushes that should have been pruned. Things are overgrown adn dead. Weeds evrywhere. This will be my healing project. This garden. I felt a little bit of my old self coming back when I was out there today planting some new plants. It was a great feeling.

  4. Anonymous February 3, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    that’s an awesome poem!

  5. Anonymous February 3, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    that’s an awesome poem!

  6. Prettyinpink2011 February 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    I lost myself not only in my 10 year marriage but with next man I was involved with. I totally could not or would not see the pattern. I was doing the same thing, not taking care of myself and losing myself in him. Ugh, it is so hard to see this when you are in the relationship. I am so glad I found this website because it has given me a greater perspective on how I was hurting myself.

  7. Gutentagkgs April 2, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    How do you find out who you are and what what your personal needs are? I don”t know how.

  8. rye rye April 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    My god I wish I and my wife had read this 3 months ago, hell 6 months ago. We loved each other so much, all we did was try to make the other person happy and in turn we both ended up miserable. She tried to conform into what she thought I wanted, but didn’t realize I feel in love with the person she is. She tried to get me to conform to the person she thought she wanted, without realizing she fell in love with the guy I am. We have been separated for 1 1/2 months now, the first month was nothing but crying and begging on my part, desperation on mine to try and fix what was broken on my end. On her end, she tried desperately to prove how over our relationship was, by saying hurtful things, saying that our relationship wasn’t worth trying to save, removing me and my family from facebook, taking down our wedding pics, drafting a separation agreement. Telling me how sorry she is that she let things get this far, that she is sorry for hurting me. She is just not the same person anymore, I’m not in love with what she has become, maybe that is her intention.

    I considered signing it just to make her happy, but realized how miserable signing that piece of paper would make me. I’m the one displaced from our home, I’m the one who is losing her family, her daughter who I wanted to adopt, my money. It’s unfair to let her govern my life any longer. But I cannot govern hers either.

    I know she wants out, and I have to let her go, knowing that her life is only going to get harder if she keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. And while I want her back, the hardest part is knowing her suffering is far from over, and I can’t do anything to stop it.

    She wants to know when I’m getting my own place, when I’ll sign a new lease, when I’m going to be back in the area. Seeks information that is none of her business anymore. Being nice to me, letting me know she still cares, all that does is make me feel confused.

    God give me strength to move forward towards happiness.

  9. Eddie Corbano June 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Well, that is not so easy to answer.

    In my coaching I call this part “Re-Discovering your True Self”: It’s a process of investigating your strengths and weaknesses, going back to your childhood, finding out and remembering what you’ve always loved to do, how you responded to certain events, what you liked about yourself and what you didn’t.

    Many important things about ourselves had been buried in the process of “survival” since our childhood. Especially in relationship we tend to make compromises and neglect what is so important for us in order to be happy.

    It’s important to uncover these things and embrace them as a part of ourselves. That will bring us a step closer to self-acceptance and self-love.

  10. Melissa May 7, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    Hi all,

    It’s been 34 days of “No Contact” with my ex since he left me.

    Also I used to find meaning and purpose in serving other people (I’m a health professional). I don’t feel like that now. I think that I feel burnt by investing so much in the relationship with my ex because I feel like he’s taken the best I had to offer and left to pursue his own happiness. It makes me feel very gullible and foolish. I feel saying “screw you world” then doing something like going back to uni to study something that has nothing to do with serving others but makes me happy e.g. like mathematics, which I really enjoyed whilst I was at high school. I’ve stopped strict budgeting because I don’t feel like being responsible anymore. I shouldered so much of the responsibility in our relationship and now I’ve lost the companionship and intimacy that we had so I feel like “why bother”.

    Anyway, I don’t always feel like this. Sometimes I feel motivated and optimistic. Just not today.

    Melissa

  11. Patty June 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    This is me. I have been married twenty years this month- and we just separated. My husband had issues with depression after turning 40 and I gave up all my own needs to help with him getting better. Good news- he finally got on medication and is doing great. But now I am a mess. I am insecure and lost because no one needs me anymore. I don’t even know where to start. I have become jealous which is new behavior. The jealousy (which is unfounded) is ruining my marriage. I have low self esteem. I am going to see psychiatrist to see if I can kick this depression and get better. Please say a prayer for me 20 years is a long time to throw away.

  12. Katalina July 28, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    I’m desperately in need of some help! Nearly three years ago, I went through the most horrific break-up. It was a particularly brutal, drawn-out split, that probably lasted about a year of him being unfaithful, battering my self-esteem, and me pretty much on my knees trying to sort it out as I loved him so much. In the end, he dropped me for another woman who he moved in with straight away and he never spoke to me again – very very tough to take after 5 years together and him being the centre of my universe. Obviously in hindsight, I had got it all wrong and had totally lost myself in love, but for a long time I was suicidal and unhappier than I ever imagined a human could be.

    To cut a long story short, thanks to finding this website just after my split, I have spent the last 3 years improving myself, learning to move on, and doing some amazing things in my life, and I became happier than I ever thought possible – I now have an amazing job, lifestyle, friends, family etc and have completely changed as a person. The only thing that has been lacking is another partner – in all this time I have never met anyone. My feelings about my ex have been mixed – a lot of bitterness, anger and sadness, although I work hard to forgive, accept and move on. I have genuinely learnt that I do not need anyone in my life to be happy. I have sadly never shaken the feeling that I am to an extent, not desirable as a partner although I value myself in all other ways.

    Then, six weeks ago, someone walked into my life who completely bowled me over. He chased me, treated me like a princess, flattered me and totally knocked me for six. I fell head over heels, although a little part of me did wonder if it was the feeling of being close to someone and desirable again that was so overwhelming. Anyway, here lies the problem, for the first date or two I was very much, take it or leave it, and was totally my chilled and happy self and we absolutely clicked. Then, I realised how much I liked him/the feeling of being desired and I have completely lost the plot. I can’t think of anything to say for fear I sound weird or boring, I clam up in his company, I am worrying about what I look like constantly, when there are pauses my brain is panicking that he will find me a bore, and the more I panic, the more I can’t think straight. I’m talking nonsense, cracking unfunny jokes, and making myself much too available.

    He is definitely cooling off – from showering me with affection and chasing me like mad, it’s now become the other way round and I am the one chasing him most of the time, but then I’m totally unnatural when I’m with him . It’s breaking my heart that I’m so panicky and lost with it all but the more I try and relax, the more uptight I get. I feel like I’ve totally lost track of who I am, when people say ‘just be you’, I don’t know how that means to be – the joky version? The serious version? The quiet version? I’m driving him away and it’s all so unnecessary – I know I don’t need him to be happy but I so want that feeling of intimacy and closeness to last now I’ve experienced it again – I hadn’t realised just how starved of it or how lonely I had become. Please does anyone have any advice at all? I can’t talk to him about it, he will just think I’m mental and run a mile…any advice hugely appreciated.

    • Dan May 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      The answers are hidden within ourselves. We have to revisit events of the past and re-figure our selves out. Its better if you do this with a friend. And go find videos from the past and look at the colors you like, flavors, activities, and revisit them, retake your path. I’m working on this myself. I think its better if you do it with someone that doesn’t know you much, so that you can tell your stories and take it from there. It’s possibly. I just started a relationship 3 months ago and I’m sooo lost. But I think that its a matter of regaining our path, sustaining momentum and trusting with our eyes closed. This is the way all relationships work its a risk. :) Hope this helps, reply if you would like to chat or message on this. :)

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