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Whose Dreams Should You Pursue in a Relationship?

Happiness is having a dream you cannot let go of and a partner who would never ask you to. –Robert Brault

As our lovely guest poster recently noted, it’s incredibly easy to lose your identity in a relationship.  Often, part of being in love means that the other person is your world, and you want nothing more than to build an awesome life with them.

Chris and I started this process.  After he unexpectedly found himself out of work for a couple months, we scurried about for half a year, attempting to start businesses that would enable the travel-filled lifestyle we both crave.

We’ve been working diligently to bring our shared vision to life… But it hasn’t led to shared satisfaction.

Granted, this is partly because we’ve only seen minimal entrepreneurial success so far.  But the greater factor is that we allowed our individual goals and dreams to fall by the wayside.  While we’re proud of our effort and persistence business-wise, too much focus in this area has caused our lives—and relationship—to fall out of balance.

We allowed our health to decline, put personal interests on the back burner, and lost sight of our individual dreams and goals.  This created an ongoing source of unhappiness for the both of us.  We weren’t unhappy with each other, but we weren’t happy with ourselves.  And THAT was impacting our relationship negatively.

We no longer felt like the awesome person the other had fallen in love with, and thus no longer acted like the awesome person the other had fallen in love with.

So, as Chris discussed in his last post, we had a serious, game-changing talk last weekend.  We’re still working as a team to transform our shared lifestyle vision into a reality, but we will no longer do so at the expense of our personal well-being.

Instead, we’ve begun to hold ourselves and each other accountable to live DAILY by our first commandment for relationship happiness: [Make every effort to know yourself.] Be true to yourself and never lose yourself.

There’s an unspoken risk in doing this.  In the midst of pursuing one’s personal dreams, there is always the possibility that you may grow in a separate direction from your partner.

But not remaining true to yourself poses even bigger risks.  Stifling your own personal growth can cause unhappiness, depression, or frustration.  Sometimes, without you even noticing, it can cause anger or resentment toward your partner because you’ve subconsciously correlated your lack of fulfillment with your partner.  And that’s just bad news.

It’s actually less risky to the relationship to simply pursue your own goals and interests; whether or not the relationship lasts, you’ll feel happy and fulfilled within yourself.  And, while it’s certainly possible that personal growth might lead to the relationship’s end, what’s more likely is that the relationship will actually improve.

When you’re the best person you can be, you have so much more to offer in a relationship: a healthy emotional state, a higher capacity for love and empathy, and your own unique brand of awesomeness.

So that’s where Chris and I are in our relationship right now – Backing off from too much “we” and reclaiming our own dreams.  We’re still figuring out the right balance between “us” and “me”, but I can tell you this: we’re starting to feel better already :)

A quick sidenote: Since we’re currently going through some big changes (including moving, a new job prospect, lifestyle changes, and personal development) we’ll post once or so per week for the next month or two.  And, as Chris mentioned, our posts will have a more “real”, personal touch from here on out.

Creating a life together is key to any long-term relationship, but it’s important to follow your own dreams, too.


Categories: General News, In A Relationship
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