As we all know, losing yourself in your relationship isn't seen as a great thing. When you really want your relationship to last, its easy to let things slide or allow your partner to have their way more often than not. In doing so, your needs tend to get pushed aside for your partner's needs. Although this may seem like something people with attachment issues tend to fall into way more often, according to experts, forgetting your worth in your relationship can happen to anyone.
As licensed mental and sexual health therapist Erika Miley, M.Ed., tells Bustle, there is a psychology behind it. This often happens in the early stages of the relationship, especially when you're in the blissful honeymoon period. "Our brain loves new love and we often isolate ourselves, not intentionally, from our lives before the relationship," Miley says.
Research has found that love really is addicting. According to Miley, the human brain loves the feeling of oxytocin coursing through your entire body. "Our biology gives us a great incentive to do this," she says. "This makes not losing yourself on some level pretty difficult. It takes roughly 18 months, give or take, for our bodies to adjust to the levels of oxytocin and see past the 'honeymoon.'"
So for the some people, losing yourself and forgetting your worth in the beginning can be your body's response to new love. Of course, it can be a problem if this causes the relationship dynamic to become unhealthy. You may not realize when it's happening, so here are some signs that you've forgotten your worth in your relationship and how you can turn it around.
1. Your Partner's Goals Have Become Your Goals
"Over the years I’ve worked with many clients struggling to identify their worth and remember what they have to offer their relationship and the world," Miley says. One thing she notices a lot is when one person prioritizes their partner's goals over their own. There's nothing wrong with being a supportive partner. But as Miley says, sometimes we get so focused on care taking that we forget the things that make us unique and valuable too. In order to find a way around this, she suggests implementing a daily routine that's yours and yours alone. It could be meditation, exercise, or even just spending 20 minutes with that cup of coffee on your own. Whatever you do, create time for you.
2. Your Decision Is Usually Based Off Your Partner's Decision
If you find that you say, "I'm good with whatever you want," fairly often, that's a sign you may have forgotten your worth in your relationship. As Heidi McBain, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist tells Bustle, "When you always let your partner make all of the decisions in your relationship, big and small, it can throw the dynamic in your relationship way off."
First, be aware of this dynamic in your relationship, McBain says. "Have a conversation with your partner about this pattern you’ve gotten into, and elicit their help in supporting you as you make more decisions in your relationship," she says.
3. You Make Excuses For Your Partner's Questionable Behavior
If you find yourself making excuses for your partner's "mean" or "controlling" behavior, you may have forgotten your worth in the relationship. "It's important to realize that you don't deserve to be treated that way," psychiatrist Dr. Susan Edelman tells Bustle. "You may need support from your friends and family to figure out how to handle the situation."
4. You Spend A Lot Of Time Doing Things Your Partner Likes Doing
You may be pretty flexible and good with doing whatever your partner likes doing. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you've forgotten which activites you enjoy doing that have nothing to do with your partner, Miley says you may have forgotten your worth. One way to get yourself back is to reconnect with your pre-relationship life. "Reconnect with friends that you had before the relationship that maybe you have lost touch with," she says. From there, you can start finding new activities you really like enjoying.
5. You Try To Avoid Uncomfortable Conversations At Any Cost
It may not seem like it, but arguing with your partner can be healthy. If done correctly, it can help you find ways to effectively communicate with each other and it can even bring you two closer together. But if you'd rather go along with what your partner says because you'd hate for it to become uncomfortable, Dr. Edelman says this can be a sign that you aren't comfortable standing up for yourself and you may even need help from a therapist.
6. You Think Your Partner's Opinions Are "Better" Than Yours
Your partner can be more knowledgeable about a subject than you. But that doesn't mean you can't give your opinion. In a healthy relationship dynamic, you should be able to feel comfortable talking to your partner without fear of being judged. So if your partner asks you for your opinion and you still defer to theirs, McBain says that's a sign you may have forgotten or are diminishing your own worth in your relationship. If this is happening to you, think about why you feel that way. Although not necessary for everyone, McBain says, "Therapy can also be a safe place to explore some of these relationship patterns and learn healthier ways of interacting with your partner."
7. You're Not Quite Sure What The Future Holds For You As An Individual
If you can't picture anything about your future other than being with your partner, you may have forgotten your worth in your relationship. According to Miley, losing a connection to your values and things you're truly passionate about is easy to do when you get so caught up in your relationship. Sure, there are compromises that you are going to have to make when you get into a relationship. But it's something that should be worked out together. You shouldn't put your wants and needs for your life on hold because it doesn't work for your partner's life right now.
"Remember to survive this world and to take care of others, you have to take care of your self first," Miley says.
Healthy relationships should be pretty well-balanced. That means both you and your partner should have your voices heard and your needs met. You deserve to be happy in your relationship, too. Don't forget that.