Losing Yourself in a Relationship
Do you find yourself losing yourself in a relationship? Sacrificing your needs and who you are to please your partner?
Are you growing steadily less confident and more frustrated in your relationship… and you just can’t help yourself?
It’s so easy to do this. Like SO easy. And it’s a slippery slope for men and women!
It feels really good to finally not be so alone in the world that you lean into that comfort, joy, and pleasure.
But… if you lean too far you’ll lose your footing and then everybody falls down!
So, let’s explore exactly how and why we lose our sense of self in a relationship so that you can know the exact steps to find yourself again (and insurance that you always will).
There’s no blame, no “weakness,” no judgment. But there is insight, hormones, and practical steps.
So if you suspect YOU might be losing yourself in a relationship, listen up.
Hi Lauren, Thanks so much for the free course, I learned so much! In relationships, I struggle with losing my sense of self. I worry too much about pleasing my partner instead of pleasing myself. I think it’s my lack of appreciation and my blaming/critical body language that’s actually holding me up. The more I watch myself, the more I realize I do it. Can you help me?
– Dee Dee
Losing Yourself in a Relationship
Men and women both can lose themselves in a relationship. But we do it in different ways. And the solutions are different as well.
Let’s take them one at a time.
Men lose themselves in relationships in a very specific way.
For men, they can get addicted to pleasing their partner (but not in a good way!):
I often say that with a new approach a woman can get her partner to become addicted to pleasing her. This is a playful way to say, he’ll want to do it and get great pleasure from it so it’s easy to get the love you want. But as with everything, this can go out of balance and a man can lose himself.
Let me explain:
1. Men can get addicted to the testosterone cocktail they get from pleasing their partner and get addicted to the person they want to be for their partner— always available, always the hero, always the one with the fix — rather than being true to themselves. This isn’t sustainable.
2. Men only experience that testosterone high when they’re successful AND when they have enough testosterone to release in the first place. Men need to take time apart from the relationship and relationship hormones (like estrogen, which inhibits testosterone production) in order to rebuild testosterone.
3. A man needs to flex his independence in order to get the chemical pay off from pleasing his partner. When he doesn’t do this and he loses himself in the interdependent dynamic that can feel so good, he gets further and further out of balance, and onto his feminine side — in an unbalanced way.
This usually manifests as being extra indulgent with his emotions and the attention he gets from them. He gets more and more insecure, defensive, and hyper-emotional. Boosting his self-esteem and masculinity becomes WAY too big of a job description for his partner to ever live up to.
This is a common way that men can lose themselves in a relationship.
And I want to share this for men but also for women. Because it’s vital we all:
1. Understand that men lose themselves in relationships as well as women. It’s not a “female thing.” It’s just more common for women because most men have a built in reflex to pull away to their cave and take me-time to rebuild their testosterone which solves this. However, more and more men these days are losing this reflex and relationships are suffering.
2. Men and women need to recognize the warning signs in their relationship and change the pattern STAT. The good news is, I’ll show you how to do that in this blog post.
For women, we can get addicted to giving in a relationship.
1. It feels good to be “needed.” If they need us, they won’t leave us. That’s the belief at play here. And a belief we need to bust through in order to have a healthy relationship. We’ll get there in a moment.
2. When we have enough oxytocin, giving feels good. Think about releasing oxytocin in an orgasm...it feels really good. Well, giving can also release oxytocin and has its own feel-good result.
3. However, giving only gives us a chemical payoff when we have enough oxytocin to release. When that well runs dry, we’re like a junkie who keeps going back for more even though we can’t get the same high from it. It’s the memory of the high we’re chasing, hoping to finally scratch the itch and feel fulfilled again… like we were in the beginning.
Combine this with our limiting belief around being needed and oy vey, you’re losing yourself in a relationship!
Why What Worked in the Beginning Doesn’t Work Anymore (Aka: Why You Can’t Stop Yourself from Sabotaging This)
In the beginning men and women naturally take time together and time apart. They live separately and they go on dates to connect. There is a natural ebb and flow.
This ensures that a man is rebuilding his testosterone on a regular basis so he doesn’t lose himself in the relationship.
In the beginning, a woman is filled to the brim with oxytocin. Why?
Because anticipating getting your needs met — whether those needs are romantic or practical — stimulates the production of oxytocin.
Every time you think:
- He could be the one
- He’s picking me up tonight
- He might kiss me tonight
- I get to show him off to my friends
....you’re loading up on a feel-good hormone.
And he doesn’t actually have to do much in order for you to feel this way!
The more imaginative you are about him and all the needs he’ll meet, the more you’re doping up on oxytocin.
He can be, in reality, incredibly passive and you can feel fulfilled. For a time. During that time, giving to him feels really good because you have the oxytocin to spend!
But at some point, you’re going to start to notice that he’s not meeting your needs (you haven’t actually given him a chance but that’s another lesson!) and giving — aka the “high” your chasing — loses its power.
Let me put your heart at ease: You can’t “mind over matter” this. That’s like spinning in a hamster wheel and you’re going to exhaust yourself. You need to make different, smarter choices in order to find fulfillment again. I’ll show you how.
The Belief You Need to Be Needed
Women often have this belief and it gets in the way.
You *think* you need to be needed — everything in you is telling you that because your limbic system has created that belief for survival. If you’re needed by the community, and you make yourself useful, they won’t kick you out into the forest to fight off the bears by yourself.
This is the primitive monkey brain at work.
But here’s the thing:
Relationships these days aren’t about survival. You’ll survive without a man. You can provide for yourself. You have opportunities for immense independence and capability. You do not need a man for survival. For the majority of us, that’s not the world we live in. If it was, financial support and physical protection would be all we needed to be happy and fulfilled.
Screw monogamy, partnership, mutual support and soul mate connection and growth… We’re monkey’s and we need to survive!!
That was sarcasm. Because we need so much more these days.
Which means you have to override your monkey brain and start thinking with your prefrontal cortex. You need to stop working from instinct and start making conscious choices based on getting smart about men, women, and relationships.
Wanna know why you’re stuck in blaming and critical body language instead of appreciation and fulfillment?
Because you can’t mind-over-matter the chemical cocktail in your body!
You can’t keep giving — showing him how indispensable and irreplaceable you are so he’ll need you — and expect it to keep working for you.
You’re going to need him to start giving more to you so that you can load up on oxytocin.
You’re also going to have to flex your own independent muscles to remind yourself that it’s your job to make yourself happy and it’s his job to make you happier.
How to Find Yourself Again (and Again and Again)
For Men: Take more me-time. By connecting with yourself regularly outside the relationship, and resting, you’ll find yourself again.
Take 30 minutes to watch a game of sports after work on a comfy couch. Take an hour to sit in front of a fire and do nothing. Mow the lawn listening to a podcast about politics or sports. Go out to drinks with your male friends and relax. Make yourself do this regularly until you find yourself again and you reconnect with your:
- Hormonal balance
- Calm, cool, and collected center
- Attraction for your partner
- Sex drive
- Instinct to pull away when you need it
For more practical tips on how to rebuild testosterone and connect with your most powerful sense of self, check out Beyond Mars and Venus.
For Women: Take more me-time. By connecting with yourself and finding ways to make yourself happy outside the relationship, you get your feet under you, boost your confidence, and re-establish a sense of self.
Take 30 minutes to…
Oh, how I wish it could be this simple.
Yes, me-time self-care makes a big difference but if you find that:
- Listing to a podcast on loving yourself
- Taking a bath with candles because you know you *should*
- Doing yoga every morning and taking deep loving breaths
- Scrolling through self-empowerment memes on FB and IG
- Taking a tantric sex goddess course in Bali
- Learning your love languages
...Are still not changing this for you, and you’re still losing yourself in your relationships or feeling unsatisfied, unappreciative, and critical and you just can’t help it…
That’s okay. And it makes sense.
Because these solutions, while fantastic tools, are incomplete.
They might work for momentary inspiration or relief but long term? We fall right back into our patterns.
We don't just need me-time, self-care, or relationship tips. We need a cyclical system that supports our unique hormonal balance, our fluid needs, our relationships, and ourselves. And since it didn’t exist, I created it! It’s called the You-We-Me-Time™ system and it’s THE formula for women to create a fulfilling relationship.
You’ll learn how to play with me-time, we-time, and you-time in order for you to feel your best, receive and give love in a sustainable way and get your needs met so you feel satisfied!
You can still apply your love languages, your yoga, and your tantric sex exercises, and by all means, keep listening to Brene Brown on boundaries! *Love her!*
But with the You-We-Me-Time™ system, you’ll know where to use these tools, when to use them, and what perspectives to hold so they really work for you and your relationship(s).
You’ll also learn communication advice that you just can’t get outside of MarsVenus.
With just 1 hour a week for 6 weeks, you’re going to find yourself in a completely different space than you are today.
90% of my students say that they wish they had taken the course years ago for all the pain, suffering, and wasted energy they would’ve saved.
Sure, men have it easier with their blog homework today — Go take a nap and read a book! — but after you apply the You-We-Me-Time™ system, you can say goodbye to the hamster wheel and embrace a cycle that doesn’t just work, it builds momentum over time so you can lean back and enjoy your life and relationships… confident, fulfilled, and full of Your Self!
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