losing yourself in a relationship

Losing Yourself in a Relationship: 25 Ways to Recognize it and Stop it

Losing yourself in a relationship can be one of the most devastating experiences anyone or any relationship can go through. Of course losing yourself in a relationship creates deep pain for you. Yet most don’t realize the very thoughts and actions that caused you to lose yourself were simultaneously, bit-by-bit, moment-by-moment, destroying the relationship that likely meant so much to you. If it hadn’t meant so much to you, you would not have been willing to give yourself up for it. 

Losing yourself in a relationship means abandoning yourself and giving up on what actually matters to you. We lose ourselves because we give up on our own personal needs, wants, and desires in favor of the one we feel we love. Losing ourselves happens ultimately because we’re afraid that if we stay true to ourselves, we’ll lose the relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

As humans, our connection with others does matter. We can’t live without it. However, we often lose sight of the fact – because life doesn’t teach us this – that our relationship with ourselves counts too. In fact, when it comes to the quality of romantic relationships, or truly any relationship, our relationship with ourselves not only matters, it actually matters more.

Signs of losing yourself in a relationship

Since we are starting to see its far reaching and damaging effects, it’s important that we quickly and easily recognize the signs of losing yourself in a relationship. When you can see those signs, you can stop the process before it causes real damage to you or your relationship. 

The 25 most common signs of losing yourself in a relationship:

  1. You rarely do many of the things you used to do when you were single, like going to the gym, meditating, hiking, and enjoying hobbies.
  2. You find it very uncomfortable to be away from your partner for long. 
  3. You focus on “we” over “me” consistently.
  4. You say yes to doing things you really don’t want to do. 
  5. You say things are fine when they are not or you sweep upsets under the rug.
  6. When there is a challenge or upset, you’re typically the first one to try to resolve it and make changes. 
  7. You no longer have your own dreams. 
  8. You rarely, if ever, prioritize yourself.
  9. You are the King or Queen of compromise. 
  10. Whenever you’re in relationship, your time with friends takes a back seat. 
  11. You pay more attention to your partner’s happiness than to your own.
  12. You frequently look for your partner’s approval.
  13. You doubt yourself when your opinion differs from your partner’s.
  14. You make up excuses for their behavior, even when that behavior hurts you. 
  15. You feel anxious anytime your partner takes time or space for themselves. 
  16. You frequently find yourself apologizing first because you can’t stand the feeling of separation.
  17. You find setting boundaries challenging or you’re not even really sure what boundaries mean. 
  18. You question your lovability, worth, or value if your partner isn’t constantly validating you. 
  19. You’re afraid they’ll leave if you don’t do things the “right” way. 
  20. You’re resigned to having sex on their schedule and in their way, regardless of your desires. 
  21. When asked, “What do you want to do?” you commonly reply, “What do you want to do?”
  22. You go to the kinds of movies or the types of restaurants your partner likes much more often than you choose the ones you really like. 
  23. You feel resentment, bitterness, or in the worst case contempt for your partner. 
  24. It’s been so long since you paid attention to your own needs, that when someone asks what makes you happy, you can’t remember any more. 
  25. You wonder if you might be better off single. 

As you reflect on this list of signs of losing yourself in a relationship, the words co-dependency or enmeshment might come to mind. Rightfully so. We can’t be codependent without losing ourselves. We can’t be enmeshed without giving up who we are. 

How to stop losing yourself in a relationship

Now that we clearly know that losing yourself in a relationship requires you to abandon you – to abandon your own truth, abandon your own needs, abandon your own self-care – we need a powerful antidote. 

It’s simple but not usually easy. To stop losing yourself, you need to build a relationship with you, and honor it.  

As you begin to walk the path of soul love, you’ll discover that the strength of the relationship with you determines or limits the strength of your relationship with another.

The strength of your relationship with you determines the strength, or weakness, of every other relationship, especially an intimate relationship. 

Joanna Shakti

It’s so fundamentally important to lasting love that those in our Soul Love program series have to start out discovering in the first phase of the journey what it means to have a relationship with themself. As you may have heard the adage, “You can’t love another until you love yourself.” Yet, what does loving yourself really mean? 

Loving yourself looks just like you imagine loving someone else looks. You get to know that person. You learn their needs, their likes and dislikes, their preferences. You care about their dreams, wanting them to come true. You get to know their boundaries and you practice honoring them. Loving yourself is just that simple. 

There’s actually a practical step-by-step process you can follow to not just understand, but to experience real self-love. The Diamond of Sacred You teaching we offer in the Ecstatic Authenticity phase of Soul Love shows us the exact way to climb out of the hole, the abyss, of self-abandonment as well as how to find yourself after losing yourself in relationship. 

But before we get to those steps, let’s get real about one of the most common reasons people don’t take these critical actions and why they keep repeating the cycle of losing themselves in relationship after relationship. 


The fear of knowing you. 

Having the courage to stop giving yourself up

We’ve said, and you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise, no one likes the feeling of losing yourself in a relationship but when we suggest having a relationship with you and honoring it, most people want to not just turn, but run, the other direction. 

Not only are we so programmed to put others first, the habit of putting others first means we don’t have to take real inventory of ourselves. 

Here’s the paradox. You don’t want to lose yourself and you want to be loved for who you truly are, but you don’t want to spend time getting to know who you truly are. Why? Because, if you are like most, you’re afraid you won’t like what you find.

Yet, if you’re not willing to look, if you’re not willing to find out who you genuinely are, if you’re not willing to admit and reveal the wholly authentic you, the good and the not so good parts, you will never be able to trust love. And that means you’ll never actually feel loved. That, in turn, perpetuates the continual cycle of self-abandonment (and the way it harms relationships) as you lose yourself over and over again. 

Why is it the very person you don’t want to lose, you also don’t want to get to know?

How to find yourself after losing yourself in a relationship

So, if you want to learn how to get yourself back after losing yourself in a relationship, you have to first ask yourself if you have the courage to get to know you.

As you’ve heard before, ecstatic relationships, soulmate relationships, are not for the faint of heart. While they offer deep rewards, while they awaken the greatest experiences of love we can know as a human being, while they bring us the greatest joys, those pleasures are only available when we first find the willingness to meet our fears and find our authenticity. 

True love arises and is felt because we summon the presence and courage to meet ourselves and each other unconditionally. But before we can get to mutual unconditional love, we have to start with simplifying seeing and acknowledging ourselves

The Diamond of Sacred You gives us the entire road map to having a healthy relationship with ourself and it starts like this…. 

  • Know thyself – Get to know you, what you need, what makes you happy, what your boundaries are, what your dreams are made of. 
  • Value thyself – Remove every barrier that stands in the way of you knowing your worth and how deserving you are.
  • Trust thyself – Build a relationship where you trust your inner knowing and believe that you do know what’s best for you.
  • Express thyself – Honoring you asks that you also require others to honor you and in order for them to honor you, they must know you.
  • Honor thyself – You speak and take action that aligns with your inner knowing of you. And if another person doesn’t respect that, then you are willing to establish and maintain boundaries that do honor you. 

If you don’t know how to avoid losing yourself in a relationship, you will never find nor experience the kind of love your heart and soul seek. You cannot experience divine union through self-abandonment, enmeshment, or co-dependence. 

In the words of Kahil Gibran, “… even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”  Partnership requires two independent and distinct beings who choose interdependence with each other. 

And in case you’re worried about not finding real love as yourself. Rest assured. When you have an authentically intimate (and we don’t mean sexual here) relationship with you, when you drop the persona that you thought would get you love, and you show up as the real you, you will be the most attractive you have ever been, to the right people.

If someone is not attracted to you, as you genuinely are, then they cannot possibly be your soulmate. When you stop losing yourself in a relationship, you find your soul Love. 

Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all. 

You too, are invited…

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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  1. Amy Musiker on September 22, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    thank you for this

  2. Jim Vining on January 21, 2024 at 3:40 pm

    What a harrowing but helpful list. Dear Ex – can I have a do-over? This a great gauge for who not to be.

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