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Maintaining Self-Care in a Romantic Relationship

Maintaining Self-Care in a Romantic Relationship

By: Raeanna Thompson

It’s the szn of love, besties! We’re sipping champagne to Certified Lover Boy while we celebrate the spirit of all love that surrounds us. If you’re boo’d up, this one’s for you. If not, this is still for you (who knows who you’ll meet tomorrow)! Even when you’re involved with someone romantically, taking care of yourself should always be the priority. It may sound selfish at first, but trust us when we say it’s absolutely necessary. We’ve said it once and we’ll keep reiterating, self-care shouldn’t be optional. So when you find yourself getting caught up in “we” time, we’re here to help you focus more on “me” time and filling up your own cup. 

Self-Love While In Love

Self-love is an everlasting journey we embark upon the moment we decide to commit to taking care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. We all show love to ourselves in different ways; one might be fulfilled with buying themselves flowers, while indulging in a good book is enough for someone else. In a time where the modern woman is constantly busy with work, family, and intimate relationships, self-love is not a practice up for compromise. The self-love journey can be challenging. Part of this can stem from the subconscious comparisons we make between ourselves and followers on social media. This is when it is important to note that we cannot equate our personal worth to achievements or financial reward that we see in our lifetime. Loving yourself is about much more than what you have gained or the projects you are working on, despite what our capitalistic society may say.

Proper self-love can be the foundation of a healthy relationship. When you make a promise to honor and respect yourself, this will then manifest in your relationships. Two people who focus on filling their individual cups, make for a more mature relationship that reflects the couple’s self-esteem.

The concept of self-love is far from monolithic; it can look different for everyone, yet hold similar aspects. bell hooks considered love to be a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust. Are you partaking in your self-care routine consistently? Are you committed to growing in all ways? How well do you know yourself? Do you take accountability for your actions? Do you respect yourself? Do you trust your intuition? A common act of self-love you see from individuals in a relationship may consist of someone removing themself from the partnership when they no longer feel respected or are seeking more. It takes a strong sense of self to leave a situation that is no longer serving you! People who embody healthy self-love create their own happiness when they understand that there isn’t anyone who can make you happier than yourself. 

A Battle With Codependency

Acts of codependency can be very common in romantic relationships, many of those not even recognizing the issue. Codependency can have quite a few definitions; the Oxford Languages definition we like to refer to considers the term codependent to be “a person with an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of an illness or addiction.” In a codependent relationship, there is usually one person who acts as the giver and another person who acts as the taker. This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships either! You may see codependency in friendships and even with familial relationships. This can be where boundaries are essential for the sanity of both parties in a relationship. 

Codependency can be an instance of a lack of self-love within an individual. Constantly searching for validation from others can be a never-ending cycle of seeking fulfillment in the wrong places. It can be easy to fall into codependency, especially for couples who live together and the amplification of the pandemic. Trust us, we get how quickly one can become completely absorbed in their relationship, especially during the honeymoon phases. It may seem sweet and loving in the beginning, but there is such a thing as becoming too involved with one another. Communicating with your partner the need to have autonomy has the potential to lead to a healthier relationship. Becoming dependent on someone else can limit the individuality between the both of you. So when you find yourself becoming susceptible to codependent traits like people-pleasing, substance abuse, poor communication skills, etc., take a moment to step back and evaluate the relationship you and your partner currently have.

Ways to Self-Care

We wouldn’t be your self-care BFFs if we didn’t provide you with ways to pamper yourself when you need it most. You should love your partners and absolutely cherish the relationship you have cultivated amongst each other, but sometimes it’s critical to recharge and take time to yourself. When you are actively practicing your self-care, you’ll be able to show up in the relationship as your best self. Consider that a win-win! Here’s some ways to love on yourself a little extra when you’ve been busy romantically.

  • Find a New Hobby: Hobby searching wasn’t just a task for quarantine! Sometimes we may get so wrapped in the motions of our life, we forget to continue to explore new parts of ourselves. Finding a new passion to indulge in can be a great way for you to find autonomy outside of your partner. 

  • Spending Time With Your Friends: Don’t become the friend that completely abandons their friendships by becoming too consumed with your intimate relationship. Experiencing romantic love is beautiful, but friendship and sisterhood should still remain to be an integral part of your community. Your chosen circle has the potential to motivate you, as well as to provide support in different areas of your life. Don’t underestimate the value of a quality friend!

  • Enjoy a Spa Day: A spa day can be the perfect time for you to relax, recharge, and unwind. The increase in serotonin and dopamine that a good spa visit can provide is a superb way to spend your “me” time. Take this time now to schedule your next spa appointment for your next day off. A deep tissue massage or hydrojelly facial is just the pampering you need (and deserve). And there's also a special kind of magic to an at-home-spa day. Make your own magic, boo!

  • Choose to take care of yourself, especially during cuffing szn. If you are blessed enough to have a partner who is like your best friend, we know this may sound difficult. Ms. Carrie Bradshaw taught us well when she said “Maybe we should see each other less and then we can miss each other more.” All relationships are different, and some may even be capable of spending vast amounts of time together without conflict. But don’t forget to sustain your identity and continue to plant your seeds outside of your partnership.

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