Relationships. We always see the good side of them. Having someone to share your time and bed with, the beginning of what could potentially be forever, and excitement. Yet, do we ever really talk about the elephant in the room? The death of your single self.

I’m not saying that you have to completely lose yourself when getting into a relationship, but things do change. Take your morning routine for example. You either have someone waking up next to you or someone who you are going to have to text good morning. Even for the most laid back couple, ‘I’ tends to become ‘we’ (even when it is unintentional). In a relationship, how much of your single self should you be willing to leave behind?

It seems like an underlying question. Personally, myself in a relationship and me out of one is not the same person. In all honesty, my single self seems to be more relaxed. She can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She is alone most of the time reading a good book or sitting at a coffee shop typing up an article. The best part? She is totally okay with that. My single girl self has no one to answer to but herself and loves it.

But myself in a relationship?

The girl I am in a relationship is different. She understands that there is now another person who she needs to consider. Someone who is going to want to spend time with her and know everything about her. It is not that the single girl does not like this side, she just is not used to it or an expert on relationships. The solution you might ask? Finding a balance.

No one needs to be with his or her significant other every day, let alone all the time. Having space and each other’s own friends is very healthy for a relationship. I have found personally that distance truly makes the heart grow fonder, and having different hobbies and dreams is a plus rather than a negative.

The idea of a relationship is two people getting to know each other, not BECOMING each other. You do not need to like the same things, constantly be around the same people, etc. It is not healthy. The saying: “dating to marry” is great, but do not forget that you are still dating and not married.

I think that is the main issue with today’s relationships. Girls are so consumed by the idea of getting married. It seems like everywhere I look on Instagram and Facebook someone is getting engaged every day. However, for those of us who are not at that stage in our life, it seems like we need to catch up.

The best thing to do? Act like a married couple.

Except it is not. Your boyfriend is not your husband. There is the likelihood that that may happen in the future, but right now he is your boyfriend. Just your boyfriend, and in the best cases your best friend. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and him. The best way for a dating relationship to last is to date the guy, not force yourself to act as if you are married to him.

With all this in mind, it makes me think back to my single self. Why do I have to leave the independent woman I am behind? I can still go out with my girlfriends, do my own thing, and be in a relationship. A relationship is one part of you, it should not BECOME the identity of who you are. The right guy will not only understand that but appreciate this side of you.

So be true to yourself. You can love and still love who you are. Do not let every part of your single self-slip away. She is fun and deserves to be let out from time to time.