When you’ve coupled up, sometimes a huge shift takes place. All of a sudden, his interests become yours. Group night with the girls suddenly takes a backseat since you’ve made plans to hang out with his family that Friday night. Even worse, you start feeling like you’re not really an individual—you’re just one-half of “us.” While sometimes these things make you feel secure, you NEED to maintain a life outside of your relationship.
If you break up, you’ll be starting back at zero. Okay, so you shouldn’t focus on the pessimistic reality of your happy relationship ending, but it’s time to get real. If things change, you’ll be left trying to repair all of the relationships and hobbies that you previously cast aside. And, since you’ll probably be devastated, it’ll be even harder to dig out of that rut and get back to where you left off.
It’s important to have control over your own life. If you’ve stopped doing your own thing because he’s not fond of it, that’s a red flag. Unless there’s some big safety concern, he should allow you to live your own life the way you want to live it. After all, you probably had hobbies before the relationship—they can’t have been deal breakers if the two of you decided to get serious. Make sure you’re the person making the decisions in your life.
You might start feeling a little resentful. Listen, if you try to convince yourself that you love action movies when you really love romantic comedies, you’re going to get pretty stressed after missing out on all your favorites at the theater. Either see if he’ll compromise or promise yourself that you’ll check them out with your buddies. No matter what, you’re your own person with your own taste. Even if he doesn’t agree with that taste, it doesn’t mean he’s right.
You don’t want to shut out your friends. Know that situation where someone gets a boyfriend and disappears off the face of the earth? Don’t be that person. That person is subliminally telling their buddies that they’re not a priority. True friends can last a lifetime, so if your core group includes people you imagine getting older with, you want to make sure that these relationships are properly nurtured.
Your hobbies will make you a more well-rounded person. Know who the interesting person at the party is? The person who has things going on. By taking on new activities, you have more things to talk about with others—including your boyfriend.
It’s healthy for the relationship itself. Everyone needs space sometimes. Even if you’re attached at the hip with your guy, a little bit of breathing room will help make your love flourish. Ever hear of the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? It’s true.
You’ll think up way more interesting date ideas. Dinner and a movie have been done a billion times before, but if you’re into yoga, teaching your guy a few poses might be a fun weekend afternoon. Even if he isn’t into it, he’ll appreciate the fact that you’re thinking outside the box. Plus, he’ll probably be more into the idea of you taking Saturday morning classes solo.
You’ll be expanding your friend group. If you’re interested in drawing, a once-a-week art class will make you even more knowledgeable. It’s also a good way to expand your friend group a bit. Even though it’s great to share friends with your boyfriend, sometimes it’s nice to have your own people. If music is your thing, having a specific group you go to concerts with will make things way more enjoyable. It’s much better than bringing your boyfriend, who just isn’t into the band.
You’ll be a lot happier. Good couples compliment each other—they aren’t identical copies of each other. While certain aspects should sink up (like, you should both be on the same page regarding political issues and the topic of future children) nobody should date their twin. Exploring your own hobbies, and doing things apart, will keep the relationship fresh and make you feel a lot less trapped.
It’s important to remember who you were before the relationship. As humans, we’re all works in progress. Every decision we made lead us to where we are today. Dropping interests in favor of a guy, or simply not carving out enough time to work on those interests, will make you lose track of who you really are. If you enjoyed doing your makeup before dating but feel pressured to keep a fresh face for your boyfriend, make sure to doll up every once in awhile for you. Your identity is the most important thing you have, so make sure it doesn’t get lost in the dating shuffle.