I don’t want to curse your new union before it’s possibly even got off the ground, but the truth of the matter is this—relationships come and go in life. But you must learn how to focus on yourself in a relationship in order to protect against the possibility that it might not work out.
I know, I know. I’m being all negative, but it’s never a bad thing to keep time aside for yourself. Not only does this help you to keep developing and learning, but it also means that in the worst case scenario that things don’t work out, you haven’t thrown 100% of your time into something which hit a dead end.
[Read: 12 healthy relationship expectations that define a good love life]
How to focus on yourself in a relationship
When you first meet someone you click with, it’s easy to throw all caution to the wind and invest 100% of your time in your growing relationship. Of course, you want to get to know your new beau as well as you possibly can. You want to share experiences and basically spend all your time with them. When you’re away from them, you get butterflies—not in a good way.
You might want to invest all of your time in the budding relationship but don’t invest more than half. Now, I want your relationship to last, honestly, I do. But, I don’t believe any relationship is healthy if you don’t focus on yourself at the same time as your partner. Of course, they should be doing the same thing.
You learn to be a better and more attentive partner by being happy and grounded in who you are. The only way you can do that is by learning how to focus on yourself in a relationship. Trust me, it will enhance the time you spend together.
[Read: Why you need to get off your white horse and save yourself first]
#1 Maintain your friendships. Biggest error you can make in a relationship? Leaving your friends behind and focusing on your relationship. Your friends were there before. If things go wrong, they’ll be there after. However, if you don’t pay them time and attention in-between, perhaps they will wonder whether the friendship is as important to you as it is to them.
Make time for your friends. Make sure that this is a regular thing. Don’t cancel nights out and dinner dates because you want to spend time with your beau. They’ll still be there when you get home. Also, when you are spending time with your friends, don’t spend all night on your phone texting your partner or talk about them non-stop! Be who you were before. Deep down, that’s who you still are.
Friends are important. Don’t throw them to one side just because you’ve found someone to spend alone time with. [Read: How to be a good friend and follow the BFF code]
#2 Keep doing whatever you love. Again, it’s easy to forget yourself. Suddenly, the things you used to do before you met your partner might suddenly go by the wayside. Big mistake. Your hobbies and the things you love to do are part of who you are. When you stop doing them, you’re suppressing your own enjoyment! If you love to read, keep on reading. If you love to draw, keep on drawing. Hell, if you love to bake bread at 3am on a regular basis, keep on baking!
Giving up on the things you love will only come back to bite you on the behind at a later date and it’s one of the main ways to guarantee success when learning how to focus on yourself in a relationship. [Read: How to make sure you stay independent when you start dating someone new]
#3 Make sure you have alone time. Before you met your beau, you no doubt spent a little time on your own. You wouldn’t be with your friends 24/7. This alone time meant doing the things you enjoy, watching Netflix, and just chilling the hell out. Alone time is important for grounding and relaxation, so don’t stop doing it just because you’ve coupled up.
Spending time alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely, it means you enjoy your own company and that makes you a stronger and more well-rounded person. [Read: 13 needy signs you’re way too available for your partner]
#4 Keep looking for new things to do and learn. If you were single or casually dating, you’d still take up new hobbies, learn new skills, and even try new outfits just for the hell of it. Don’t suddenly stop looking out for new things to try, do, and learn, just because you’re now part of a twosome. If you do that, you’re losing part of yourself. You’re halting your own self-development and enjoyment.
If your new partner is worth the fuss, they’ll support you when you want to learn a new skill, take up a new evening class, or basically try something you’ve never tried before. If they try and stop you doing it or make you want to not do it for yourself, that’s a huge red flag. When learning how to focus on yourself in a relationship, just keep on trying something new. [Read: Why you should run if you see these relationship red flags]
#5 Always focus on health. You might want to spend all day lounging in bed and watching Netflix with your partner. Let’s be honest, it’s not the way to stay healthy! Keep on eating healthily. Cook together to make sure you both do this, and keep on with your exercise regime. If you didn’t have one before, now is the time to start!
The early part of any relationship is packed with evenings out, meals out, comfort eating, and generally risking letting yourself go a little because you’re comfortable. Don’t do it! [Read: Are you losing yourself to impress your new partner?]
#6 Do things for you, just because. Keep on looking for things to do and learn, but you should also do things just for you, for the sake of it too. Of course, balance this up with couple time and seeing your friends and family, but if you want to lay in bed on a Sunday and read alone, go for it. Learning how to focus on yourself in a relationship means putting yourself first occasionally. It’s very easy to focus on your partner and nothing else. It’s never going to help you develop an equally balanced and healthy relationship.
So, if you want to drink coffee and watch the world go by, if you want to soak in a hot bath for more than an hour, or if you want to watch reruns of Friends for the hell of it, go for it! [Read: Are you codependent? 14 signs you’re way too clingy and overstepping boundaries]
#7 Remember the goals you had. When you meet someone new, it feels like your whole world has turned on its axis. It’s a crazy time. It’s easy to stop working towards your goals in response. Don’t let this happen. If you were working towards something before, keep working towards it now. You’ll kick yourself in the future if you don’t, whether the relationship works out or not. [Read: How to manage your expectations in a relationship]
#8 Stick to your boundaries. What are you comfortable and uncomfortable with? What is a red flag for you? Setting boundaries in a relationship is vital. However, it’s equally as vital, if not more so, to ensure that you stick to them. By doing this, you avoid losing yourself and you protect yourself against being taken advantage of.
How to focus on yourself in a relationship? Make sure you’re only doing the things you’re comfortable with and that nobody is crossing any red lines.
[Read: How to set boundaries in a relationship for a healthy love life]
Learning how to focus on yourself in a relationship means being true to yourself, while balancing time with friends, family, and your partner. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s always worth it in the end.
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