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Sex + Relationships

5 Ways to Reconnect with Yourself While Being in a Long Term Relationship

Over the last year and a half, our ideas of intimacy in both romantic and platonic relationships have revolutionized. It is safe to say that the cocktail of COVID-induced anxiety and lockdowns have forced people to stray from hook-up culture and consider long term relationships. And personally, I see no harm in that! Long term relationships can be truly amazing because it can offer you comfort and stability over time, which is great! However, with time, it is easy to start feeling like your relationship may be holding you back. Here are 5 ways to reconnect with yourself while you’re in a committed and long term relationship!

Do things without your partner

As predictable as this recommendation is, it truly is a timeless one. Do not stop doing the things you love just because you’re in a relationship! Never abandon the parts of your life that exhilarate you and make you feel alive just because you fear that your partner may not enjoy it as much as you do. Spoiler alert, couples aren’t supposed to like all of the same things or partake in the same activities all the time! On a sunny day, consider visiting that cute macaroon store by yourself if you feel like it. On a rainy one, snuggle up with your family on FaceTime and watch a movie together. Over the weekend, go book those bungee jumping passes with your girls. Read that book you’ve been putting off and consider hitting the gym! More often than not, the glow a woman has from being truly happy with and by herself is unmatched.

Do things that scare you

Sometimes we get so comfortable in our relationships that we start to feel as though the relationship is holding us back. In reality, it is not the relationship holding us back but rather the comfort from being in one that is. You can still do unprecedented things while in a relationship! You just have to get out of your comfort zone. If you’ve always wanted to take a semester to study abroad, do it. The right partner for you at this point of your life will show support for your ambition and praise your successes.

The paradox of choice

In psychology, the paradox of choice stipulates that while we might believe that being presented with multiple options actually makes it easier to choose one that we are happy with, and thus increases personal satisfaction. However, having an abundance of options actually requires more effort to make a decision and can leave us feeling exhausted. When in a relationship, it is easy to slip into the mindset that you are holding yourself back by being with just one person. Having casual sex, although sometimes invigorating and fun, may not actually be what helps you reconnect with yourself. All attraction to other people does is teach you what side of you they brought out. The hypersexuality of feminism can be really damaging to some women and to some women’s sense of self-esteem. Of course, there are exceptions to this principle, as there is with everything in life, but my personal take is that you can reconnect with yourself while being monogamous. I believe that all relationships do is teach you about yourself. So analyze your patterns in your current relationship, and ask yourself questions about your own behavior and your partner’s. Honor and appreciate yourself for being loyal to another while being loyal to your own growth.

Reflect on your choice of partners

We usually pick partners whose personalities are opposite to us because they tend to mirror backsides of ourselves that are under-developed. For this reason, consider using your relationship to teach you about your shadows and your demons rather than dismissing every problem as an incompatibility with the relationship. For lack of better words, love yourself!

Remember the process

You are going to lose and find yourself multiple times in life. Just because you’re in your 20s doesn’t mean your search for self will end in success in your 30s. Likewise, being in a relationship doesn’t directly translate to you being lost, just like being single doesn’t reflect that you’ve been found. You most definitely can find yourself in any walk of life, if you commit to putting in the work to do so.

Good luck, besties!

Kirtana is a 4th year student at SFU pursuing an honours degree in Communication and a minor in Business. She is interested in corporate brand strategy and the data-driven research behind marketing. Outside of school and work, she is an adrenaline and nature junkie. Her favourite travel experience so far has been bungee jumping in Whistler, B.C! Reach out to her via LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kirtanamenonn/
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