Rediscover What You Love
I recently started a new romantic relationship.
It’s not something I had planned on or even expected, especially since I just moved to a new city a little over two months ago.
I’m not complaining by any means. I really care about my significant other and we have a lot of fun together. But I definitely took my time in the early stages of us hanging out—I didn’t want to rush anything.
I mean, what’s the rush anyway? I’m young, I just moved to a new and exciting place, the world has so many options and opportunities if you’re not attached to someone.
All this being said, when you meet someone special, someone who you really get along with and can actually talk to, everything else goes flying out the door. We’re having a great time together—as any couple in the “honeymoon phase” does. My favorite thing is that we cook together, pretty good food too! That, going out to eat and exploring the city are always fun experiences.
What I’m making an effort to do now that I’m with someone is too make time for myself.
One of my biggest fears is that when I’m in a relationship with someone, my independence will eventually become compromised. It’s so easy to spend all of your free time with the person you’re dating. Before you know it, you may become dependent on that person, in a way that takes something special away from the relationship you have with yourself.
I always seem to fall into this trap, especially in the beginning stages of when I’m dating someone.
Here are some of my tips for staying independent while in a romantic relationship. And don’t worry, it’s something you have to continue to work on—it’s not an “all at once” sort of transition.
Make a List!
This may seem overly simplified, but making a list of all of the activities and passions that you have will help you so much! Write down all of the things that you can do by yourself—eating out at your favorite restaurant, going for a run or reading a book at a coffee shop.
Sure, there are the things that you and your significant other love to do, but having a separation between those activities and what you like to do solo is super important.
I recently realized I like going to the movies alone in my free time. I usually see a matinee at this local indie theater in Philadelphia once a month. It’s always a treat: I have a nice walk there, I get a popcorn all to myself and I get to really focus on something I love! Don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling up on the couch with my boyfriend to watch movies too, but the experience of the theater is all my own.
Hang Out With Friends
This is something that might come as second nature to a lot of you. But you’d be surprised how often people let their friendships fall to the wayside once they start dating someone.
I’ve been a culprit of this. When I was in college, I lived with my best friends and felt like I was drifting away from them once I started dating my boyfriend. It can be almost too easy to neglect older relationships once you start putting a lot of attention on a newer one.
Since my best friends live farther away, I usually text or call them when I have big news. We have a group chat that we text each other on to share funny stories or something that reminds us of the others. It’s not the same as catching up over a cup of coffee, but you still have to put the effort into your platonic relationships as much as your romantic ones!
So make time to call, text or hang out with your besties.
They’ll probably want to know how your life is going, and it always feels good to catch up. I’d recommend definitely talking about your new relationship, but try to steer the focus on things that you and your friend like talking about—outside of romantic endeavors. It will really cement how close you are as friends!
Communicate with Your Significant Other
This might be the most important tip I have. You want to make sure that you and your partner have open communication all of the time, and especially if you’re looking to have more independence.
Tell them that you want to spend more time doing the things that make you happy and that you’re still excited to spend time together doing the activities you love. Whatever sort of phrasing you come up with, you should be honest!
Taking time for yourself is not a selfish thing, in fact, it will probably strengthen the relationship you have internally and your romantic one too. You might even encourage your partner to follow in your footsteps!