I’ve lost two very close friends in the last two years. Not to a disease, sudden death or an unanticipated relocation, like you might think. No, I lost these friends to something I never expected would drive a wedge between us:
I still love these women and want the best for them, but the sad truth is I don’t know who they are anymore. Along the way, they’ve chosen to abandon themselves in the midst of their relationships.
It’s an all too familiar scene. Girl meets boy — or boy meets girl; the two become a couple. Couple spends the majority of their time together. Couple isolates themselves from the outside world. Couple becomes dependent on one another, which often leads to unhealthy personality changes.
As a woman who is in a devoted relationships of almost 3 1/2 years, I understand being in love and wanting to spend a lot of time with your significant other.
But since when did having a significant other mean you should have to completely change who you are? Or neglect setting aside time for yourself and your friends?
I’m not proud to admit it, but one of my favorite songs in high school was “I’m Only Me When I’m With You,” by Taylor Swift. Let’s just say, at the time, I wasn’t paying attention to what the lyrics were saying.
There’s a disturbing problem with these lyrics; and I think it captures what I fear has happened to many who are in relationships and what I’m talking about today.
… I’m only up when you’re not down.
Don’t wanna fly if you’re still on the ground …
And I’m only me
Who I wanna be
Well, I’m only me when I’m with you
Have we forgotten that there are two “Is” in “relationship?”
Consider those two “Is” as standing for two separate individuals, joined together by a shared admiration, but beautifully different in their own way. This is what a relationship should be.
On the other hand, changing ourselves or finding our identities in another human being can be very dangerous. Ultimately, we can risk losing sight of who we are and what we value.
The moment we start to think that we are incomplete or inferior without another person is the moment we lose ourselves.
I truly believe that no matter how in love a couple is, for a relationship to be healthy, they should still respect and acknowledge each other as uniquely independent people. Sometimes that means spending less time with one another, or a reorganization of priorities, but in my experience, it makes the relationship that much more wholesome.
What about you? What do you think is important in a healthy relationship?
Have you lost a friend once they got a boyfriend/girlfriend? How did you feel?