I Followed My Boyfriend’s Dreams And Lost Myself

I’ve always been a supportive girlfriend, but I took that way too far with my last ex. Even though I had goals and ambitions of my own, I ended up following my boyfriend’s dreams instead of mine and I seriously regret it.

  1. I gave too much of a good thing. I thought it was up to me to support my boyfriend’s dreams. That’s what a good partner does, after all. But I didn’t realize I was perhaps being too supportive for my own good.
  2. I was treating his dreams as if they were my own. His goal was to start his own business and move overseas, and it was almost like I thought that I had to act like his dreams were mine. I was ready to make sacrifices to make them happen for him, even to the point of living somewhere I didn’t see myself in the future. Bad move.
  3. It was all about him. The sad thing was that everything in the relationship ended up being about him and what he wanted. I was allowing myself to be his follower instead of his partner, which is total BS.
  4. I wanted to have a successful relationship. My focus was to have a great relationship. I wanted to be the person he confided in and had by his side through it all. That’s fine and well, but I somehow thought that I had to prioritize my boyfriend’s wants and needs in order to make our relationship successful. So not true! I also hoped that by keeping him happy, he’d keep me around. It was stupid.
  5. I neglected my needs. What about what I wanted and needed? I was spending so much time listening to my boyfriend’s plans and going along with them that they were making my personal needs and dreams evaporate.
  6. He wanted me to work for him. Being supportive by helping him start his business, which took up so much of my spare time, wasn’t enough. He then suggested that I become his personal assistant at his new company.
  7. I hit my limit. This was just too much. I realized that I didn’t want to be my boyfriend’s personal assistant. I didn’t want to work for him, I wanted to work for myself. I didn’t want to dedicate so much of my time to his career and dreams to the point where my 9 to 5 was going to be something I didn’t want to do. Enough was enough.
  8. I couldn’t lose myself anymore. His suggestion that I work for him made me see that if I accepted it, I would lose more and more of myself. I’d already stopped focusing as much on what I wanted from life, and now I’d be stuck in a career that I really didn’t want to be in. What the hell for? A successful relationship shouldn’t have depended on me doing everything my boyfriend wanted.
  9. He tried to change my mind. I told him I wanted to focus on my own career instead of work for him and he tried to persuade me to change my mind and work for him. It was a debate that went on and on. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, which was frustrating. He said it would be great for our relationship to be able to work together, but that wasn’t my thing. I had to stop putting his ideas and wants first, so I was sticking to my guns. Finally.
  10. He didn’t support me. I’d spent so many weeks and months supporting this guy, but now that I wanted to do my own thing and focus on my dreams, he didn’t even care. In fact, he tried to bring me down all the time. To him, my ideas and dreams were silly and childish. He’d criticize them and make me feel like shit. Whenever I failed or experienced a setback, he’d tell me that I should’ve just worked for him. It was so unfair.
  11. Time to support myself for a change. I’m really the only one I have. It sounds sad, but it’s unfortunately true. This experience taught me that I have to look out for myself and support my goals in life because no one else is guaranteed to have my back. But even if my boyfriend had been the most supportive and wonderful person, I still shouldn’t have dedicated so much of myself to his dreams. I need to make myself a priority in my life. It’s not selfish – rather, it’s about loving myself, and I sadly hadn’t done enough of that in the past.
  12. It’s also about boundariesThe most important thing I learned from this relationship was to have more boundaries. I had to make sure that I wasn’t giving too much of myself and that I wasn’t putting all my resources into my boyfriend. I had to save most of my time and energy for my life instead of allowing it to fall by the wayside. I mean, come on – I wasn’t put on this earth to be someone’s assistant or sidekick!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.