“I have been in this relationship so long and given so much that I am not sure who I really am anymore! Who am I? I try to recall who I thought I was before I became lost. I don’t recall a precise picture of myself yet I know I was somebody. Now, now I feel lost. Lost in a sea of responsibilities and a myriad of roles. I remember when we first met that I was so full of life, I had so many dreams and aspirations, yet it wasn’t too long into our relationship that I began to morph like a chameleon to fit into our relationship, to do things that made you happy which I thought at the time made “us” happy. Where have all my old friends gone? I remember, you didn’t want me hanging out with them; you were concerned that they were single and may expect me to act single and others you just didn’t care for. So your friends became my friends.
I spent a lot time and effort building my world around you, working to please you, working towards having a harmonious relationship. I failed to realize that I was doing most of the giving and that I was changing to please you while you continued to live your life with very little change. Years went by and we had children and I donned the hat of Mother/Father. What I failed to admit at the time was that I was already a Mother/Father. I was a parent to you. I did the cooking, the laundry and I cleaned the house. I worked, paid the bills, kept the car’s going, did the yard work. I did all of this while you lived your life, me ever faithful by your side, unknowingly slipping away. Myself, my identity ever so quietly fading into an abyss until I got to the point where I could no longer remember that person whom I truly am, the person whom you met and fell in love with, the person who you couldn’t wait to be with and hated to leave.
I search in the mirror as I look into my own eyes for the person whom I once knew. I look in your eyes hoping to catch a reflection of my former self, yet there is nothing in your eyes but apathy for the person you now see.
You say I am not the person you fell in love with and I know you are right. How can you recognize me when I can no longer recognize myself?
I am lost! The tears flow in morning for the person I once was. Countless nights I cry myself to sleep for all that I lost as I built my world around you, around us.
As I awaken, I do not blame you, oh sure I may want to however I know the truth is that I made choices that I thought were right ones at the moment which I now know were choices which in the end put distance between us rather than bringing us closer.
I know you now long for the me that you met and fell in love with. I struggle on how I could be that person again. I feel like screaming when I come to the realization that I can never be that person again, that person is lost.”
The above is a dreadful, lonely place where many people in long term relationships find themselves. It is a sad story indeed. It is sad because this person did what at the time seemed to be the right things to do to build a loving and peaceful relationship only to find out that giving and loving does not mean that we should give our authentic self-up. As we mature we understand that anyone who truly loves us would never ask or expect that we give our authentic self-up to satisfy the other person in the relationship.
Long term relationships are wonderful and beautiful as long as both people know how to give without giving up their authentic self.
In any relationship, it is important to remember to “thy own self be true” and to be wary of the little changes that you make, for we do not change or become lost in relationship overnight, the changes we make are normally small and chip away at who we are ever so slowly.
Be in love, love with all of your heart, be true to yourself and understand that two “individuals” can still be a couple who enjoy a full loving long term relationship.