Here at Modern Filipina, we offer a lot of love advice. We’ve all been in and out of relationships, good and bad, and we’re happy to share our learned knowledge with readers. After all, you can learn from your own mistakes, but sometimes it’s nice to learn from the mistakes of someone else and not have to go through that particular heartbreak yourself.
With all the love advice that we offer, though, there’s one thing that we, as Modern Filipinas, all strive to keep in mind: being in a relationship should never mean having to give up your independence or compromise on the integrity of who you are. It can be too easy to lose parts of ourselves when we are in a relationship, but there are lots of small ways to ensure that it doesn’t happen. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re in a relationship so that you don’t forget to always be your own woman, not just someone else’s partner.
1. Have independent hobbies.
Usually, we gravitate toward men who share similar interests as ours when we are dating. The foundation of many relationships is based on similar hobbies and likes or dislikes. It’s wonderful to share interests with your beau, but it’s still important to have some hobbies that are independent of him. Surely, you can think of something you enjoy doing that he maybe doesn’t, or something that is really just an individual hobby anyway. Consider taking a women-only yoga or dance class, setting aside a few hours each week to read a good book, or immersing yourself in some volunteer work–without your guy being involved. It helps you to maintain your own sense of self and individuality, even while you’re in a relationship.
2. Spend time with other people.
Just as it’s important to have exclusive hobbies, it’s also healthy to spend time with friends apart from each other. Whether you share the same group of friends, or have friends of your own, make sure to set aside time out with them, while leaving your man at home (or out with his own friends). People are often like sponges–we tend to absorb a little of the personalities of the people we are with, and we act a little bit differently around certain people than we do with others. For this reason, it’s important to spend time with more than just your romantic partner, lest you forget all the other aspects of your personality that shine when you’re with other people.
3. Travel on your own.
Traveling solo has so many benefits, and it’s a great thing to do even if you’re in a relationship. When you travel, you are given a unique opportunity to get to know yourself on a new level. It’s one of the best activities to test the limits of your independence, as well. Traveling alone requires a lot of planning and forethought, as well as adaptability and confidence. You’re forced to rely on yourself to get where you need to go, and the best part is that everything is up to you: you don’t have to stop and rest just because your boyfriend is too hungry already even though you’re not, and you don’t have to allocate budget for anything that’s not important to you alone. It also gives you amazing chances to meet new people that you’d never have met otherwise, and it’s something that everyone should experience, regardless whether they are in a relationship or not.
4. Have your own space, even if you live together.
When you live together, you and your man are kinda forced to be in each other’s faces all the time. As much as I love my husband, I admit there are times when I’m sick of being cooped up in the same room with him and I just want a little bit of privacy. That’s why it’s important to maintain your own individual spaces, even if you live together. If you’re lucky enough to have unused rooms, you could each set up your den areas. If you’re more constrained on space though, like we are, designate certain areas for your alone time. Perhaps you can have the couch/living room area while he hangs out in the bedroom, or vice versa. Make sure you’re not breathing in each other’s air all the time, and can get away when you need to.
5. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself.
It is of utmost importance to stand up for yourself, especially when in a relationship, in order to maintain your individuality and still be your own woman. No matter how shy or compromising you are, never be afraid to speak up when you’re not okay with something. It’s easier said than done; no one wants to rock the boat by starting an argument over something petty, but sometimes it needs to be done, and you need to recognize those situations. It’s okay to say no sometimes, it’s okay to have your own opinion, and it’s okay to argue sometimes, too. You can’t be your own woman if you’re not willing to fight for it.
Always remember that even though you’re part of a couple, you’re still an individual. It’s important to maintain your own sense of self while in a relationship; relationships that are too co-dependent aren’t healthy and will be far more devastating in the event of a possible breakup. Don’t be one of those girls who completely loses themselves in a relationship–you’re a Modern Filipina, so be proud to stand on your own!