It’s only after 6-7 months of being out of my previous relationship that I started to regain a sense of self. I stopped pushing away the things I’d been interested in since I was young ( Anime, Gaming, Competitive Sports and just being free and independent enough to do what i want) and they became my focus again. I became my focus again.
I feel like as women we’re taught that we should cater to a man to make sure he’s happy, especially African women. I remember being at a young age and the importance of being able to ” look after the house” when my Mum or Grandma were away being pushed onto my sister and I. We were basically miniature versions of my Mum and while there might not be anything particularly wrong with that my little brother never had that expectation put onto him.
This I feel has long term effects that I’ve carried around into my relationships. I always feel like I have to be strong supportive in every way and by all means never ever can I appear needy.
One of the biggest realisations I had after my break up was that there were certain things; violations, that i allowed my ex to commit but i forgave them because I didn’t expect him to have his shit together but i never gave myself the same break.
The combination of being expected to be well rounded and perfect both at home and at school AND my extra curricula’s has lead me to unhealthily fixate on being the ”perfect girlfriend” in the same way that i fixate on my exams and showing my friends and family that I love and care for them. I’m human so what tends to happen is that somethings suffers. The Universe can’t give you everything a balance has to be maintained. Back then it was my Uni life that suffered (I barely scrapped a 2:1 in my second year).
I wasn’t aware that i lost myself in my last relationship but i thought that being aware post break-up would mean i would recognise the signs quicker and act on them. I can pinpoint the exact moment that I started to lose myself with my ex:
We were sat in the living room at my student accommodation that he practically lived with me at and I started to notice how little he contributed to the relationship in terms of money and just general helpfulness around the place. Yeah sure he had stresses in his life but so did I and I still had high expectations of myself. However, instead of calling him out on it my words to him were something along the lines of “All I want from you is 50/50, I don’t have any expectations of you.” I did this because i was hyperaware of the fact that he was going through stuff so i focused on his issues and let my concerns fall to the side.
This time round I realised in real time that i’ve started to do things that will have me thinking ”WTF dude?” In retrospect. Keeping my priorities in check is gonna be a full-time job if I want to maintain the trajectory that’ll lead to my happiness.
So for anyone else that feels that they lose themselves in the pursuit of love I’ve come up with a list of a few signs that might mean you’ve lost yourself in your relationship.
1. You’ve Lost Touch With Your Goals/ Have No Energy To Pursue Them
RED FLAG– don’t forget you’re as important as they are and if they downplay your goals then LEAVE PLS PLS
2. You’re Overly Concerned With Pleasing Them And Forget About Your own Wants And Needs
this seems so obvious but you’d be surprised at how much love can turn you into a people pleaser- GUARANTEED 100% will breed resentment
3. You Stay Because You Feel Like You Cant Do Better – Letting The “What If’s” Guide You
You’re miserable but you keep thinking ”What if theres nothing out there better for me” , “What if this is a mistake”
” In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take” – Anonymous
4. Weight Gain/Weight Loss – Any sort of drastic appearance change
You don’t know who you are anymore so why bother to make an effort , you don’t care so you forget to eat or you eat to fill the void. You seek temporary reliefs shopping, binge watching Netflix to make you feel temporarily happy. This ones dangerous because this could point to early signs of depression. Self care is a difficult thing to undertake its not just face-masks and bubble baths (although that’s a good starting point) Don’t forger to treat yourself and remember that you’re worthy
5. You Find Yourself Questioning If This Is It?
The second this thought enters your mind you really need to take a step back and reconsider. A lot of my Mums divorced friends tell me that the worst thing that they did was to settle. They knew that they wanted more but because they ignored reason 3, they found themselves 3 kids deep years down the line unable to recognise themselves. (Talk to your elders they have answers to questions that you wouldn’t think to have ).
If this question pops into your head you’re not angry or resentful you’re disappointed and mostly at yourself because whoever said you accept the love you think you deserve hit the nail on its head and now, you realise that you’ve been allowing yourself to accept a love that’s unworthy of who you are or who you’re trying to be
If you see yourself in this then maybe its time for a tender wake up call, stop neglecting your needs do what you want and if whoever you’re with can’t support that.
LEAVE RUN FOR LE HILLS