The Biggest Relationship Mistake We can Make (& How to Do it Differently).

Love yourself.

Until recently, I never realized that all of my previous relationships have had this one thing in common. It’s the smoking gun that is bound to doom any relationship.

We’ve all been there a time or three before.

I see it happening around me constantly. With friends, with coworkers, that cute couple in my favorite coffee shop.

We don’t all yet know that it can kill even the best of relationships. And when I see it happening, I can pretty much guarantee that the relationship will be unhealthy and ultimately fail.

Most of us will destroy a few relationships this way before we get it. But once it clicks, we are ready for “the one,” or whatever it is we are all after.

It looks something like this:

We meet the person of our dreams (or so we thought). We fall head over heels and madly in love with said person. I’m talking googley eyes, racing heart, cheesy smile you get when you receive a text from them—the whole shebang.

We slowly stop seeing our friends, opting instead to spend time with our newfound obsession. We stop going to our favorite yoga class, and start skipping that daily morning run in exchange for a little morning sex (I mean hey, exercise is exercise).

Meditation slowly slips away in favor of spending a night in with them, even if the night only consists of netflix, couch snuggles and frozen pizza.

Before we know it, our lives look completely different as a result of our new relationship.

We’ve lost ourselves to it.

Once this happens, it can be nearly impossible to find ourselves again while remaining in the same relationship. Patterns are established and the energy of the relationship has been set. We slowly begin to resent our loved one because we have given up so much of our own life and have poured every ounce of energy into theirs: their friends, their hobbies, their routine.

At least, that’s been my experience…sound familiar?

When this occurs, the energy of the relationship is off balance. One person is giving too much, while the other is taking too much. It’s uneven. And unhealthy. It’s so easy to fall into the role of the “parent” or “teacher,” which is not what any of us want or deserve.

It’s really not much fun either.

So after a few failed attempts, an immense amount of pain, fighting and tears, I can honestly say that I finally get it.

I’ve finally found myself again and I’m not letting her go this time.

Of course I am very grateful for the experiences of each and every one of these relationships. I grew exponentially as a person with each one. I learned multiple new lessons both within the relationships themselves and especially in the break-ups. Obviously in the break-ups. I truly know what I want in a partner this time around.

I know how I want my life to feel and who I want to be in this crazy, intoxicating world.

And so, my biggest take-away: don’t lose yourself.

Don’t give up on your dreams and your life just to fit nicely into someone else’s.

When we are centered within ourselves, truly connected to who we are and what we want out of this thing we call life, we can attract someone who is coming from the same place. Someone that can meet us in the middle. This is a person that can hold their own, that has their own life, friends and hobbies— and celebrates the fact that you do, too.

Isn’t that a nice thought?

This time around, I’m not settling. I’m not giving up the joys in my life that I get from seemingly small things. I will take the time to take care of myself. I will be responsible for my own happiness.

I will continue living my life.

And I’m not settling for someone who is unwilling to do the same for themselves.

When we stay true to who we are, we can have anything that we want in this life.

We all deserve to live the life we have imagined.

And it’s out there—I promise.

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