Not too long ago, I posted about living with my boyfriend. Ever since my big move in March, things have been going wonderfully and John and I have adjusted to life together seamlessly. The day after we returned from our trip to St. Augustine, however, something interesting happened. I needed to hit the mall in pursuit of a new dress for an upcoming birthday party, and when John gave his anything but enthusiastic response when asked if he’d like to tag along, I announced that I’d go by myself. Alone. Alone as in, first time we’ve ever chosen to part ways besides going to work since we’ve moved in together alone.
When I realized this I said something along the lines of “wow, weird…this is the first time I’ll be going somewhere without you coming too.” John shrugged his shoulders and pointed out that we go to work alone every single day and it was no big deal. I went on my merry way and shopped for a few hours then returned home excited to see what John had been up to as well as share my totally interesting story about how it took me 20 minutes to find a parking space and I almost got rained on. Even better, I’d purchased a dress without John as a witness so I got to model it and twirl around until his attention turned back to our enormous television (he is getting better at this “multi-tasking” thing).
So, what did I learn from this whole experience? In all honestly, I remembered how easy it can be to become a “we” in a relationship and forget about you. Relationships and falling in love are exciting things, and it’s only natural for us to want to devote 100% of our time to a significant other and put ourselves on the back burner a little bit. I know I’m guilty as charged and I’d be surprised to encounter anyone who hasn’t ever put themselves second to a relationship. When you’re in love, it’s so easy to put yourself on hold and focus on your partner, but what makes a relationship really amazing is when you can focus on the relationship you have with yourself, too.
I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone who appreciates my independent side and encourages me to do my own thing, and it actually makes our relationship all the more healthier when we take time to ourselves. You see, we need that time to ourselves, or else we don’t allow any room for growth (which we do a whole lot of in our twenties). It’s okay to part ways every once in a while because relationships (especially ones involving living together) require that breathing room every now and again. I’ve learned being in a relationship doesn’t have to mean losing your sense of self, and while there’s plenty of room for we, there’s enough room for I, too.