Want to know a surefire way to ruin a relationship and become absolutely miserable? Neglect all of your needs and desires. Immerse yourself in everything your partner likes and be completely agreeable. If you’re upset don’t bring it up, just let it simmer directly beneath the surface. Then after a few months or years ponder the reasons why you’ve lost a sense of who you even are as a person. What’s a great way to avoid this?
Put. Yourself. First.
It is NOT selfish. It is not narcissistic. It is vital to your success and well-being.
If you aren’t stern about your wants and needs then your self-care will fall by the wayside. It’s so easy to want to stay in bed and cuddle in the early days of your relationship. Who cares if you miss a few weeks of workout classes? Your friends will understand that you’ve bailed on them the past seven times… or not.
Even though I know it’s tempting to fall into the bliss of new love and forget about everything else, don’t do it! You’ll thank me later, I promise.
Here are some things you can do to put yourself first and still be respectful and gracious in your relationship.
Don’t change your routine
I like to work out in the mornings. Some nights I won’t stay at my boyfriend's condo (we still have separate places) because I know that I won’t get up in the morning and make my class. When I do spend the night I make sure that he knows I need to go to bed early and respect my time. Yes, relationships are about compromise but you should still do the things that you need for your mind, body, and soul.
Be on the same level of how much you invest
Are you constantly cooking dinner, driving to them, doing them favors, and not getting anything in return? Relationships are a two-way street. Yes at times they will ebb and flow but for the majority of the time, you should be getting your needs met. Set a precedent that if you cook dinner, they clean the dishes. If you’re always spending the night at their house make sure they have the things you need to be comfortable.
Don’t keep putting off plans with friends
You are going to need your friends throughout life regardless of your relationship. One person cannot be the sole reason for your existence. It’s not healthy and it’s not sustainable. And if things don’t work out with Prince Charming you’re going to need a shoulder to cry on. Don’t burn your bridges and continue to cultivate healthy friendships. They’ve been a saving grace for me more times than I can count.
Unless you actually want to, don’t change your style
I have dated two men who have commented on my clothes. One was a guy in college that mentioned I didn’t wear designer jeans. I was poor and working as a waitress, no shit sherlock. I also dated a narcissist that constantly tried to get me to wear things that were absolutely horrendous in my eyes. One time we were in a store and he picked up a poncho thing that had crazy red and black designs on it and said I would be so much hotter if I wore it. That’s fine and all but I wasn’t trying to change him when he looked like a bum so why did he have any business telling me what to wear?
Communicate what your needs are
An ex once asked me how he could give me what I wanted if I didn’t speak up with what my needs were. His point has always stuck with me and it’s something I do now. If I really want to try a new restaurant, I speak up. If I’m unhappy about something and it’s bugging me I awkwardly speak up. No one is a mind reader and instead of wasting emotional energy being mad that your partner isn’t psychic, please say something!
If things don’t work out it’s okay
Look, I’ve been there. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking one person holds the key to our eternal happiness. I hate to break it to you, but they don’t and that’s so much pressure to put on another human. It’s okay to be heartbroken but if you keep up with self-care, nurture relationships outside of your romantic one, and treat yourself with kindness it’s going to be okay. Although it can be the hardest thing to do, the person we need to love the most is ourselves.