Keeping Your Own Life After Meeting Someone Who Changes It

It’s all too easy to jump into a relationship faster than is healthy, which I used to have a tendency to do. The phrase “love is blind” characterized my first serious relationship in my early twenties. As I’ve written before, this former boyfriend and I met by total chance, started dating quickly thereafter, and fell in love … fast.

He showed me the love and care that I so desperately craved. Before I knew it, I had put all my eggs in the basket that was our relationship and our future together. I started neglecting other things in my life and putting my own desires and individuality on the back burner. I lost myself—I forgot what I really wanted and needed out of a relationship, letting my life and his become interwoven too quickly.

The biggest problem, though, was that I jumped in faster than he did. I was revealing my true self, letting him in emotionally, and being vocal about how I thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.

I was looking toward a future with us together, so I would prioritize spending time with him over anyone else. And on the many occasions when I wasn’t his first priority and hardly got to see him, I would convince myself that he had good reasons for putting his hobbies before me.

I could have used that time apart to reflect on whether this was the life I wanted to live. I could have used that time to invest in my other friendships and let them speak some sense into the mess. But for the most part, I spent any alone time I had still worrying about us, rather than focusing on what I wanted and needed.

We both jumped into that relationship fast, yet we were on totally different pages about what we thought dating should look like and where we thought our future was headed. He knew we were on different pages, but I was in the dark. Like I said, love can be utterly blind.

I saw what I wanted to see in him, and I think that was a big part of why I was so easily able to ignore the red flags in our relationship. I became so enmeshed in his life, in our lives together, that I forgot how to be just Morgan.

It wasn’t until we broke up and I got some distance from the situation that I saw everything with clear eyes. I thought he was approaching the relationship with the same level of transparency, but found out after we broke up how little I truly knew him. He wasn’t ready for marriage like I was, even though he said he was. He was an expert at concealing some of the characteristics that he knew I wasn’t looking for in a partner. Around me, he was the picture perfect boyfriend and said everything I wanted to hear. Around everyone, else he was more vulgar and didn’t live like the man I thought he was.

Healing and finding myself again wasn’t a fast process. In fact, it was downright painful, as I continued to hold on to the belief that we were still meant to end up together. For months, I thought I was growing as a person and patiently waiting with the intent of getting back together with him, a stronger and healthier couple. 

Somewhere during the process of waiting for him to come back, I realized I didn’t want him to. Growing as a person helped me to see that this man was not someone I would ever want to spend the rest of my life with. And I vowed to myself to never again compromise who I was or what I was looking for in a relationship, as I had wasted the last year doing. My relationships since then have looked a lot different.

With my current boyfriend, I still love spending time with him and miss him when he’s not around. The difference is that I don’t obsess about that absence like I used to. Sometimes he needs to watch football with the guys and sometimes I need a 3-hour coffee date with my best friend. And that’s okay! We know we’re still there for each other, even when we’re not together.

To avoid the “love is blind” effect, we have regular conversations about us individually and as a couple—discussing where we want this relationship to go in the future. We often check in with each other to make sure we’ve resolved any conflicts, talked through any misunderstandings—and, jokingly, to check if we’re still as in love as we were the day before.

Yes, his presence in my life has definitely changed things. My priorities have shifted around, and the way I spend my time is different as we make sure to see each other often so that we can build our relationship. But thankfully we both understand that time for ourselves and maintaining our individuality is good. I’ve learned that a relationship at this stage doesn’t just have to be about “us” yet. It can be about him, myself, and us.

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