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By Damilola Faustino

You are in a relationship and everything revolves around your partner. You want to make sure you meet his or her needs, but you’re also unconsciously always thinking of ways to make him or her happy. You genuinely like striving to be the perfect partner. But while you’re submerging yourself in the life of this other person, you may not be making your own the priority it should be. So, how do you find the balance between giving to your partner and holding onto yourself in the process? Here are ways date someone without losing yourself.

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Spend time with friends without your partner

It’s great when your significant other and your friends like one another, but the fact is your friends don’t always want your other half around when they are trying to spend time with you. The way you interact with your friends when your boyfriend or girlfriend tags along is necessarily different — and less intimate — than when you show up solo alone.

Do not ignore other important relationships

If you have plans with family or your best friends, don’t postpone it at the last minute to stay in with your significant other. A good relationship will definitely withstand you taking the time to honor commitments to people outside it.

Know interests and skills that you don’t share

You and your significant other are not going to enjoy all the same activities. Don’t stop nurturing your pottery skills just because your partner doesn’t especially love ceramics. It’s important to support each other’s interests — even and maybe especially when they aren’t shared.

Never become too dependent

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to taking care of yourself and your own feelings. It’s easy to look to your partner to shelter you from the world and distract you when everything else is not working out, but continue to fight your own battles.

What are your future plans?

It’s fine to make plans with your partner and even discuss a possible future together, but it’s just as important to establish for yourself what you want out of your career and work toward the things you want in your personal life. Spend some time charting short-term and long-term goals that have nothing to do with your significant other.

Be open to new things

Part of maintaining your sense of self is knowing you can try something new without compromising your core values and tastes. Give your partner’s hobbies and interests a shot at least once. If you enjoy them, great. If not, don’t do them.

Don’t talk to each other all the time

If you’re in constant contact with your partner throughout the day, what are you going to talk about when you actually see each other? Leave some topics for when you meet up for dinner or come back home to each other or talk on the phone at night.

Read also: How To Deal With A Paranoid Partner

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