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Does anyone else feel like they have lost their identity after a breakup? I think this is fairly common. I'm just curious how to find it again. I had dated my ex for so long that the person I used to be no longer exists and I don't really see going back to that person since I have matured and changed over the years. Now I find that I no longer really know who I am. This is an issue when dating new people because people want people that have a unique personality/style. I don't think I have that anymore and want to figure out how to get it back. I recently lost someone new because of this. Advice is appreciated.

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Does anyone else feel like they have lost their identity after a breakup? I think this is fairly common. I'm just curious how to find it again. I had dated my ex for so long that the person I used to be no longer exists and I don't really see going back to that person since I have matured and changed over the years. Now I find that I no longer really know who I am. This is an issue when dating new people because people want people that have a unique personality/style. I don't think I have that anymore and want to figure out how to get it back. I recently lost someone new because of this. Advice is appreciated

 

^

^ this is so text book, i have just done the same thing.

 

tell ya what, yes you do lose what you were.

 

but you do find after a period of being on your own, you find yourself going back to your old ways to a degree, but a lot wiser.

 

i went out with a women who was fab at first.

 

now i was on top of my game, back to how i used to be, happy, positive and not a hint of cynicism.

got with her, it was fab, all my happiness i gave to her and more, then the worm turned and after a year she was sectioned under the mental health act, for borderline personality disorder.and drove me into the ground!!!

 

i ended up finishing it (its a long story) and tried to rebuild my life and get back to who i was. now i know i wont go back to who i really was and wanted to be, but im near as damned it!

 

so yes it does happen, but you need to get back into gear and familiarise yourself to who you were.

 

hope this helps.

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after coming out of a LTR as you did, i imagine it will take a while.

 

i so identified with my ex.. our lives (and assets) were so entwined and our dreams were also my dreams that i find it hard to go into reverse and set a new course.

 

not only that, everyone knows you as a couple. to identify as a single person is going to have to take time.. ugh, sometimes i wish i was already there because the process is too painful.

 

your breakup wasn't that long ago... are you sure you are up for dating already.. are you being fair to yourself... or the person you are dating??

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i cannot answer for longdist but i certainly found it hard trusting and i did the worst thing ever, try to compare the new partner and expected it to be the same, what a prat i was.

 

lesson learned!

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Yeah, the relationship was 4-1/2 years. It has been 5 months since the breakup, and I would have thought I would return to myself by this point.

 

I guess I did entwine my dreams and life with my ex. I basically built my career plans to be close to her. I am trying to go in reverse and set a new course. However, I've come so far down this course that I'm not sure if there is another course I want. I feel like I'm going where the wind takes me now.

 

My breakup wasn't too long ago (5 months). I guess I'm not really dating anyone as of today. The girl broke things off. I feel like I am ready for dating, as I feel more about this other girl than I do about my ex. I guess that could be temporary. I don't know if I'm being fair to myself or the ones I have tried dating since my break with my ex. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just dating to try to get over my ex quicker. I guess there is no real way to know for sure. I feel like I'm over my ex. Unfortunately, I do compare new girls with my ex, but also realize that some of things I liked about my ex, I learned to like and it wasn't instantaneous. So I figure the same is true about the flaws I see in new girls. I do definitely find it harder to trust now.

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Nope, I guess because I'm so independent that I never lost myself inside the relationship. In fact, my life didn't change hardly at all when he left, despite 5 years together. Just no one to hug and kiss anymore, so to speak.

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^^^^^

 

well cotuner & dreamwarrior... you are people to aspire to!

 

i imagine there is a fine line between independence and commitment in a relationship.

 

longdist, i did the same thing.. i made a decision to go to school that was partially based on my ex and our long term goals. reconciling this has been tough given the split. glad to hear that you feel you are over your ex.. hope i can say that after 5 months.

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dont get into the pattern of dating so soon to get over the ex. you will be chasing your tail, and not going forward. take time out familiarise yourself with your life before and you should be on your way mate. 4+ years is a long time just to shake after 5 months, dont kid yourself, you will mope for a while then you will begin to feel better and more!

the hackneyed saying "time is a great healer" and it is so true.

so chin up, back straight and focus whats ahead! thats the natural direction we walk, so follow in mind!

believe, it does get better!

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Actually no, I felt like I regained my identity after the break up. Looking back at my relationship I see that I became somebody I was not, in order to please or "compromise" with my ex. Which of course only lead to the failure of the relationship.

 

How to get that identity back? Do the things you enjoy. I feel better than ever these days, even though I still think about my ex she does not have power over me anymore.

 

I remember somebody on ENA said something along the lines of: if you sacrifice your self respect/dignity upon the altar of love ... something bad happens lol! Sorry, don't remember the whole line.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. They are helpful. I guess my compromise with my ex is the main reason I became someone I'm not. I think this is the same reason she may have fallen out of love with me. I wasn't the same person she started dating. It is a lesson learned. Don't be someone you're not. I've definitely learned some things about what to sacrifice and what not to sacrifice for love. In some instance I don't feel like I sacrificed nearly enough. In other instances, such as my personality/self, was sacrificed (somewhat unknowingly).

 

I have started to do things I enjoy. Sometimes it can be difficult, because my group of friends is very disimilar to who I think I am inside. However, I'm a little stuck with this group at least for about a year (hard to explain). I've been working on meeting people outside of my usual group.

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I don't think it's lack of identity you are suffering from, but rather that you are still not fully healed and ready to date again.

 

Every person is unique......you are you, regardless of whether you were in a relationship or not. The person you just met doesn't know what you were like before your relationship or during, so the only thing they can go on now is what you are projecting. If you are still not over your ex, then you won't be projecting an open and healed person. People will pick up on this.

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Yeh I agree with atelis. You sound like you're suffering from the loss of your ex, so you don't really know who you are anymore because it's always been "we" or "us"... trying to break free of thinking and doing as a couple...

 

But this will pass in time. Just keep working on yourself.

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You know, I can't say that I have!

 

My ex made it sound like "we" lost ourselves in our relationship...that somehow our coupledom stole his sense of identity. If that's the case, I say he didn't have much of an identity to begin with. I think it had more to do with fear of englufment on his part.

 

I NEVER EVER discouraged him from having friends, from participating in school activities, NOTHING. He was the way he was BEFORE the break-up, and now he went back to that person AFTER the break-up.

 

After 4 months, I know now that I am not responsible for him "losing himself" as he put it. I never held him back...though he may have seen me that way. But that was HIS perception, not mine. I don't have committment issues.

 

While I was with him, I still went out with my girl friends. I still took time for my hobbies. If he didn't do enough of those things, it was up to HIM to communicate them to me.

 

I think it's too easy to blame things on "losing yourself." In your case, maybe you sincerely did. I think I'm just reacting from the slight anger/annoyance I still am getting over regarding my ex.

 

He did what he wanted to the point of selfishness...that's why he was so irresponsible. Now he wants even MORE freedom, to "find" himself.

 

If a person wants something in the relationship, they should speak up.

 

I think it's not an issue of a missing identity, I think it's a problem with asserting your wants and needs, and also communication. We should be able to do what we need and talk about it in a mature way with our partner. But if we don't, we get walked all over and resentful because we feel like "they" somehow "kept us" from our identity.

 

You don't need permission to be yourself, I say, just do it! I wish my partner would have "been himself"...without having to leave to prove he's a "big boy now."

 

I also think it's related to victim mentality. When my ex broke up with me, he was depressed because he thought "everyone" was utaking advantage of him/demanding things from him. Who's fault was that? HIS OWN. He's the one who volunteered to help his boss with all her chores for years on end. She THOUGHT he WANTED to do them...he INSISTED! Now he's all resentful and angry. Well that's HIS problem.

 

Like I say, the key is to assert your wants without blaming someone else for not meeting them, which is what I feel my ex did. The only thing he asserted was the end of our relationship. Bet that felt really powerful!

 

Sorry if this doesn't help. I have a pretty touchy view of the identity issue.

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A lot of couples get so wrapped up with each other, there is nothing else in their lives. My ex had nothing but me, he is floundering and totally lost now that I am gone. And we did not even live together!!

 

I learned after my first relationship ended that relationships work best when the people retain the essence of who they are. Anytime I start slipping into being swallowed by the relationship, inevitably I feel unhappy and it's a sign to back up. The guys I have dated tell me the same thing - when I stay essentially true to myself, I am happier, more fun to be around, and retain the things they loved about me. When I focus on "us", I get unhappy, nitpicky, BORED, and all sorts of other negative traits. So did my ex.

 

It's why all the relationship gurus talk about having a life outside the relationship.

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This is why you hear me making such a big point about engulfment and abandonment on these boards, because it is a real issue and the most common reason for relationships breaking up.

 

Unless people are prepared to take more responsibility for their own psycholigical issues, they will keep making the same mistakes over and over.

 

Your abandonment issues triggered his engulfment issues and vice versa. People need to be more aware of their issues so that they can manage their behaviour better whenever their fears are triggered in a relationship.

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Like I say, the key is to assert your wants without blaming someone else for not meeting them, which is what I feel my ex did. The only thing he asserted was the end of our relationship. Bet that felt really powerful!

 

Sorry if this doesn't help. I have a pretty touchy view of the identity issue.

To address this... I am not intending to blame my ex for this. I blame myself for this. This was my first LTR. I didn't realize it was going to happen and didn't realize it was happening. I have some other issues of why it happened. I'm working on a PhD, which causes me to live a pretty secluded life. It's hard to have an identity that doesn't match with anyone you work or see from day to day. So you start to lose it. Also, it was nothing my ex did that cause me to "lose my identitiy." It was me.

 

I also totally agree that communication would have helped in so many ways. That is pretty much the secret ingredient to any successful relationship, no matter what the possible problems are.

 

It's why all the relationship gurus talk about having a life outside the relationship.

 

Lesson learned now. I wish I would have read these forums or looked into reading on healthy relationships while I was actually in one that had potential. Now I have to regain myself before I can keep myself in a new relationship.

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