Prioritizing self-love while dating or in a serious relationship is important. However, for some making themselves a priority is challenging. I’ve spent a large chunk of my life putting others before myself and giving everyone else the love I needed to be giving myself. I’d give my all until I had nothing left to give and even when I wasn’t happy with myself, I did my best to make sure the person I was with was happy.
I wasn’t taught about the importance of self-love growing up. I didn’t know the relationship I have with myself is most important so I focused on finding love in others. Being a 20-something-year-old and navigating the journey of self-love is hard especially when I didn’t have anyone to teach me about it. My lack of self-love led to me depending on my partners to make me happy. I didn’t feel whole by myself so I looked at others to complete me. In my last relationship, I tried to work on loving myself but I found it challenging to do so while being committed to someone. I don’t think it’s impossible to learn to love yourself while dating, but you probably shouldn’t be dating if you don’t love yourself at all.
Right now, I’m in a space of learning to love myself and while I thought I was ready to date, I realized I’m not. I made the decision a few months ago to delete my dating apps and I’m now dating myself. Before I get involved with someone else again, I need to ensure I have a healthy relationship with myself. Which leads me to my next point: How do you prioritize self-love while you’re in a relationship?
How to Love Yourself First While in a Relationship
Set boundaries. Discuss your boundaries with your partner. Talk about what boundaries are important to you and why. Don’t be afraid to enforce your boundaries.
Make time for your passions. It’s good to share interests with your partner but it’s also important to have your own hobbies. Sometimes when we’re involved with someone, we can get caught up in doing everything with them. Making time for what you love allows you to maintain a sense of independence. Go on that hike you’ve been wanting to do, start writing your book, fall in love with painting or dancing again. Continue to make time for what you love.
Schedule alone time. Alone time is important regardless of your relationship status. Spending time alone allows you to connect with yourself. Alone time is healthy. Remember, you don’t have to spend all your time with your significant other.
Stop expecting your partner to make you happy. I’m learning that happiness comes from within. Oftentimes we attach happiness to a certain person or thing when truthfully it’s an inside job. If you’re entering a relationship expecting your partner to make you happy, you will eventually be disappointed. Your partner should add to your happiness, not be the sole reason for it.
Maintain friendships. Having relationships outside of the one with your partner can be a great feeling. Create time to talk to your friends whether it’s going out together or talking on the phone.
Take care of yourself. Continue to take care of your overall well-being. If you find that you’re neglecting yourself for someone take a moment to assess why that is and how you can focus on yourself more.
Keep working on yourself. Continue to do the work to heal and become your higher self.
Once I’m ready to put myself out there and start dating again, I know I’ll ensure I’m prioritizing self-love. I never want to be in a situation where I lose my sense of self again.