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I have now been single for the longest period of time that I have ever been single, since that time I started dating, at fourteen years of age. It’s interesting and different, and it’s fun to complain about it with other single people. I don’t mind it at all, and I think it’s quite healthy. In fact, it’s self imposed for one very good reason.

I don’t know who I am anymore.

At one time I had a pretty good idea of the person I was becoming. That point was right after puberty, and right before dating my first boyfriend. I knew I liked wearing a lot of silver rings, and that I definitely didn’t like shaving my legs. As much as I could know about myself at fourteen, I knew. Then I met him and it was all confused in my mind. We’d watch MTV in his room before school. We went to the park. I shaved. At the time I was in heaven, but looking back, did I love those things, or did I love having a boyfriend?

It’s not unusual to pick up on the likes and dislikes of significant others and friends, especially in the beginning. You trade ideas and learn new things. Through this process we grow and mature. We explore options that we never knew were out there, which is a good thing. But lurking in this wonderland of sharing, there lies a danger, often seen in young couples. The danger of losing oneself.

It happens more often in women then in men, who tend to be more set in their routines and less flexible about trying new things in relationships. Women tend to accommodate their men more often, for whatever reason, and so will join them in any and all pursuits. And yet the opposite is not true. This is not by any means a psychological fact, merely something that I have observed in relationships around me, and in myself.

This losing of oneself in favor of the integration of the other’s self happens for many reasons. Sometimes it’s to impress the other person. Within groups of friends, people may pretend to be more interested in a certain activity to remain in good standing with that group. In love relationships, there may be motivation to participate in the SO’s interests for the purposes of spending time together or to express dedication within the relationship.

This is not undesirable to a point. As I said before, it can lead to self-discovery. The problem arises when the other person/people are not willing to do the same or self-discovery ceases in favor of adoption of the full set of characteristics of the other individual/s. And I think this is what happened to me.

So, I remain single, and I find out again what I like and what I don’t like, and what I will or will not put up with. I think that a big mistake that people make is jumping from relationship to relationship without taking some time out between to relearn themselves. Each time they lose a little more of themselves, until they become this conglomeration of characteristics gleaned from various SOs. I will not let that happen to me again, ever.