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How to love your partner without losing yourself

Love is one of the most enigmatic and profound experiences in life. Often love is associated with the idea of total union or fusion with the other, which does not leave much room for individuality. How often, looking back at the beginning of a relationship, we wonder if somewhere along the way we might have lost a part of ourselves? The question is how to be a part of the “We” of the relationship without losing “Me”. In other words, how can we maintain a healthy, balanced relationship, which provides space for individual development as well as togetherness.

Let us have a closer look at what happens when we fall in love. Research shows that the experience of romantic love is supported by nature to bring two people together to create new life. The whole body and brain chemistry works in such a way that it produces strong feelings of longing and joy of being together.  On the psychological level, the experience of falling in love also resonates with our first childhood experience of being loved. The baby is in a state of fusion with the mother and she fulfils all of his needs. We often look for an equivalent to this in our adult life and somehow believe that there is this perfect someone who will fulfil our every need.

In Art Of Love, the American psychoanalyst Erick Fromm says that most efforts to love are destined to fail, unless the person actively works on developing his or her individual potential and personality.’ So how do you do this? Here are some tips:

  • Keep your hobbies and interests even if you cannot share them with your partner. Encourage your partner to do the same.
  • Stay in touch with your friends.
  • Keep your communication genuine and make sure you have quality time together beyond the everyday practical conversation.
  • Learn different ways of staying in touch with yourself. Set some me-time for self-care.
  • Embrace similarities that you share with your partner as well as differences.
  • Understand that arguments and disagreements make part of a healthy relationship. It is also important to learn how to argue in a way that does not hurt the couple relationship.
  • Remember that even if you have been together for a long time, there is still plenty to discover about each other. Show both your partner and yourself the same respect and compassion that you would offer to any other human being.
  • Look at the relationship as a journey of self- discovery and opportunity to grow, rather than a perfect union.
  • Keep in mind that our childhood experiences in our own family have a strong influence on how we are in our relationship in our adult life. These process often operates out of our awareness. If you feel that you are experiencing difficulty and pain in the relationship and all your attempts to improve the situation are failing, seek professional help.
Liya Aquilina

About Liya Aquilina

Liya has Masters Degree in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the University of Birmingham, a post-graduate Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the G.P.T.I.M. and a Bachelor in Psychology and Communications from the University of Malta. She has been practising as a Psychotherapist since 2010. Liya enjoys working with clients of diverse cultures and backgrounds. She particularly enjoys working with both couples and individuals who are working through relationship dynamics, such as communication challenges, marital satisfaction, intimacy, trust, infidelity, and conflict resolution. 

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1. TherapyPacks come in bundles of 5 or 10 sessions. Prices of bundles:

  • 5 sessions – €270 – must be utilised within 3 months from date of purchase
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2. Bundles are not transferable. This means they cannot be used by, or gifted to, anyone else but the person whose name is listed as the TherapyPacks bundle holder.

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