How To Remain Yourself In A Relationship And Not Dissolve In Your Loved One: Advice From A Psychologist

4 Principles of a strong bond in which you are happy, having the right to personal boundaries

The phrase “You are everything to me” is an indicator of not the most healthy relationship. Everything needs a balance without distortions. Metaphorically speaking, relationships are not just a pair dance, but a constant development of coordination, a search for a golden mean.

If you want to enjoy the smoothness of movements, learn to dance together harmoniously, relying on your own sense of rhythm and the technique that your partner uses. Trust in this dance does not cancel personal responsibility for your movements, but the success of the whole number is built from the balance of both, depending on whether you support each other or, on the contrary, unbalance.

How to remain yourself in a relationship and not dissolve in your loved one: advice from a psychologist

Relations do not add up if one of the partners believes that it is enough for him / her to fulfill his (even very virtuoso) steps. Successful pairing also doesn’t mean that your partner has to imitate you or meekly obey instructions like: “This is my dance space, and this is yours” (remember the scene from Dirty Dancing?).

But if a partner says that he wants to completely dissolve in you, or expects this from you, this is a red flag. Either leave, or explain to him that merging in a relationship is not very good, and show him how to do it.


Two basic drives rule every human being: the desire for autonomy (preservation of personal space) and attachment (the desire to be with someone else). Growing up in a psychologically healthy environment provides the right understanding of how to keep the balance of these drives, entering into relationships without losing individuality.

Excessive intimacy, until complete dissolution in a partner, leads to an unhealthy emotional symbiosis – an attachment disorder in which there is no place for oneself and personal space. On the other hand, too much distance in a relationship can lead to an abyss between partners, up to complete alienation and loneliness together (Americans have a suitable term – “invisible divorce”).

Whether you’re doing yoga, riding a bike, or climbing a mountainside, you’ve probably realized that balance is a fickle state. Balance is a constant concern, which, nevertheless, should not be a burden, requiring love, patience, as well as conscious intention and a certain enthusiasm. And, of course, open communication – without a frank dialogue, the couple will not dance much.

As clinical psychologist and family therapist writes in his book The Passionate Marriage, “Giving up identity in order to be together is just as damaging in the long run as giving up relationships in order to maintain identity. In both cases, you either lose yourself or the chance for a happy relationship.”

The skill of balancing autonomy and attachment is called differentiation and means the ability to keep your own “I” in a relationship in order to become an even more whole person next to a loved one. A situation similar to the romantic description of two halves, but directly opposite to the notorious “dissolution”, when you lose yourself in a partner, completely obeying his interests.


The aforementioned “dissolution” occurs, the rejection of individuality. The other extreme: nothing happens, relationships are built purely on the basis of calculation (material or other practical way – let’s say both want to emigrate to New Zealand, and in a couple it’s easier).

Why are we drawn to the idea of ​​dissolving into others? First, it is an unhealthy but very common relationship model. And secondly, its use does not require work on oneself and does not force one to improve the set of qualities necessary for an independent happy life of an adult. This is how co-dependence is pumped, the essence of which is in the desire to realize them through a partner, hanging on him the responsibility for his own and general family happiness and feeding on his energy.

Why not dissolve in a partner? To avoid becoming an emotional parasite. Emotional underdevelopment occurs when a person uses the infantile mechanism of self-regulation, natural for a child, but inappropriate for an adult. Normally, a mature person should be able to work on himself in an unpleasant situation in order to calm down and pull himself together without external help. A child’s path to calm always requires the intervention of a third person – mom, dad, friend, fiancé, husband are required to drop everything and calm, praise, stroke their heads. Dissolution is an insidious thing, because the “dissolved” always needs a partner more than a partner needs him, and lives in constant fear of losing a source of social and emotional “feeding”.

In addition, incorrect self-regulation inevitably leads to melancholy, depression, panic attacks, which harms the general condition, triggering psychosomatic processes. Sooner or later, the body will respond to chronic frustration with physical ailments.

4 points of balance, which hold a balanced relationship, where you do not need to dissolve

1. Feeling of my own “I”. Feeling like a whole, self-sufficient, strong person with an understanding of the set of values ​​that determine the meaning of your life. You are true to your interests and principles, even when others impose their opinions and teach you wisdom. However, you don’t have to always be right – you can take someone’s point of view and admit when someone was offended, but not “collapse”.

2. The skill of emotional self-regulation. See the paragraph above on emotional parasites and try not to join them. If the description reminds you of your problem, acknowledge it and start developing the functionality of a mature personality so as not to live “through a partner”, losing yourself and the chance to achieve balance in feelings.

3. Adequate response. You accept the fact that your partner can think in a format different from yours, and their truth is just as, in general, subjective as your own. An adequate response to the opinion or behavior of a partner implies a willingness to listen, understand and share your opinion.

4. Devotion and patience. This is the concept of mastery, the “black belt” of relationships. It is impossible to master anything without dedication, commitment, understanding, and willingness to endure. Dedication allows you to achieve goals, stand up for yourself and your loved one even when you don’t really want to, experience failures together, overcome quarrels and quarrels. Commitment has nothing to do with acceptance of violence or mistreatment – it is a sincere acceptance of certain discomfort in the name of individual growth and relationship development.