I wasn’t aware that I was neglecting myself in my relationship. No one told me. I thought it was normal to put all of the needs of my partner before my own. What I have learned is that this is not normal, it is common.
In my past relationships, I did not make myself a priority. I only focused on their needs, how I could make our relationship better, and what I needed to do to make them happy. It is not that these things are not important when dating, it’s that my needs, their efforts, and my happiness are also important. I was lacking self-love in my relationship and I did not even realize it.
I have been asking myself why do we stop taking care of ourselves, listening to ourselves, expressing our needs, and honoring ourselves when we are in a relationship? I wrote more about this in my blog Five Reasons Women Lose Themselves In Relationships. Here are Six Ways To Maintain Your Self-love In Your Relationship:
1. talk to Yourself
Maintaining self-awareness and honesty are important when you are in a relationship because you are spending so much time communicating and connecting with someone else. Don’t stop checking in with yourself and seeing how you’re feeling when you are around the person you are committing to. Making the time to communication with yourself helps you to notice when and why you are feeling what you are, whether good or bad.
2. establish boundaries
Going into any new romantic relationship without boundaries can leave you susceptible for disrespect and violation. Here are some questions to consider before entering a new relationship:
- What do I need in my relationship to feel loved?
- How would I feel supported in my relationship?
- What does a healthy trust and loyalty look like?
- What would make me feel respected in my relationship?
- What are my Red, Orange, and Yellow Flags?
3. Continue spending time with family & friends
Make time for the other relationships in your life. It is easy, especially at the beginning of a new romantic relationship to immediately begin to neglecting your family and friends because you want to spend all your time with the new love in your life. Healthy relationships have a healthy level of time a part. Your friends and family are not only there to be loving and supportive, they are also your accountability. Schedule time with your friends and find the balance for quality time in all your relationships.
4. Take yourself out on dates
Spend quality time with yourself. Get dressed and take yourself somewhere you love without your partner. Some of you may feel uncomfortable going places by yourself, but dating yourself does not have to at a movie or restaurant. You can create time for yourself in your own space at home. Here are some self-love dates you can choose to put on your calendar for some quality time with yourself:
- a picnic in the park or in your house
- go to a movie
- take yourself on a lunch date
- go for a day walk or hike
- close your bedroom door and spend some time getting to know your body 😉
- fill up the bathtub with bubbles, light candles, and just soak
5. Stay connected with your passions
Continue focusing on your goals and dreams. Don’t push them to the back burner just because you are in a relationship. Focus on what you love. It’s attractive to see someone’s passion for their work and that dedication to yourself is an essential part of self-love. You can be committed to your partner and committed to yourself at the same time; both can coexist.
6. Make self-care your priority
There are Six Ways To Take Care Of Yourself. The best part about self-care is that there is no speed limit. The goal is not to be perfect, it is to be mindful. By focusing on your individual Self-care Plan and creating an intentional list of needs for your mind, body, and soul, you can strengthen your relationship with your partner. You were an individual before you were a couple. Self-care is not selfish, it is choosing to make yourself as much of a priority as you do your relationship.
Your self-love matters whether you are married, dating or single. The relationship that you have with yourself is your most important relationship and you are the only person that can love you the way that you need to be loved. Your partner is an addition to your happiness, not the reason.
Published by The Heart Advocate
Ta'lor L. Pinkston created The Heart Advocate to help individuals choose self-love as a coping skill for mental health and healing. The Heart Advocate facilitates workshops, provides virtual one-on-one Self-love Therapy sessions and programs, and manages Healing Over Everything (H.O.E.), a support group and virtual safe-space for anyone 18+. The Heart Advocate takes self-love with her every where she goes by speaking across Pittsburgh, PA and on social media about defying beauty standards, self-hate, fear, self-doubt, and shame. The Heart Advocate seeks to eliminate the stigma around therapy and mental health, specifically for BIPOC individuals through advocacy and normalizing mental health on social media.
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