Losing yourself in love: Love feels great. Being in a loving relationship makes us happy. But it also fills our hearts with fear, insecurity and jealousy.
As you fall deeper in love with the One, you increasingly become afraid of losing them. So to make sure they stay, you lose yourself in the relationship.
We become a whole new person that we can’t even recognize ourselves. We become someone our partners can’t recognize either. Becoming inauthentic is an excellent recipe for a toxic relationship and an unfulfilled life.
“Never lose yourself while trying to hold on to someone who doesn’t care about losing you.” – unknown
The Joy & Terror Of Losing Yourself in Love and Relationships
Ah, to fall in love… the spell… the fireworks.. the endorphins…the sex.. the fullness we feel with the One.
How sweet it is to be in love with you.
You complete me.
I am someone else with you.
The escape from self infuses us with euphoria and joy like no other. Poets, romantics, and dreamers have written about it for centuries.
In you, I see me.
In you, I am infinite.
In you, all is possible.
The urge to merge, to be with no other, to dive deep into love. It is truly one of life’s most pleasurable states. We seek it, crave it, and want it badly.
We open our hearts, trust, and jump into love’s incantation.
And then in time, we want more. To be in the spell daily, to live it 24/7, to fully enter the dream of what life can be like together.
We move in together, we go to sleep together, wake up together, share meals together. We make our lives together.
And it’s good. We are attentive, loving, and feel the sweetness of love.
But then agitations creep in. Judgments surface. Annoyances. Doubts. Concerns. The joy of losing our self in the other diminishes. It begins to feel burdensome.
Life on the relationship road feels narrow, constricted, claustrophobic.
And this is where I see clients in my office, saying things like…
“I don’t know who I am with her anymore.”
“Where I begin and where he ends… is no longer clear.”
“It’s like we’re in this fog and we can’t see each other.”
The recurring theme is … I’ve lost who I am with my partner and I’m scared.
It is here where we are no longer thinking about our own thoughts or having our own feelings. We feel like who we are has been co-opted by our partner.
She never lets me choose my own sweetener.
He hates it when I go out with my girlfriends.
The days go by and we wonder, How did I get here?
So, what happened? How did we get there?
Somewhere in the romantic journey, we gave up thinking for ourselves and having our own feelings. In-love-ness demanded we become someone other than our self.
In falling in love, we sculpted our behavior to meet the desires of our partner. We wanted to make the One happy. We wanted the spell of love to last.
We ascribe to what I call “relational obedience.”
A tight-lipped container that says – Act this way so that you can keep things going smoothly. Don’t rock the boat.
Through relational obedience, we attempt to keep our relationship alive. But it is merely an attempt to hang on, to keep the “us” together.
In this state, we are in our limbic system, fight or flight, primal fear; we don’t feel safe. We are fighting off the threat of losing our tribe of two.
Our partner may use it unconsciously against us to enforce relational obedience – to try to change you into someone you are not, someone he or she seeks you to be.
“The more time you waste trying to be what others want you to be, the more you lose yourself.” – unknown
Love cannot grow and prosper when one or both partners are sidestepping one another. And in time, blame and projection begin.
You never let me make my own decisions.
I always yield to you.
You don’t see me in the way I want to be seen.
If one were fully honest, he or she would say instead…