11 things you should never sacrifice for a relationship, according to psychology

Tina Fey by Tina Fey | March 18, 2024, 11:21 am

There’s a bold line between love and self-sacrifice.

In the realm of relationships, it’s essential to balance what we’re willing to give and what we should retain for ourselves.

Delving headfirst into love can sometimes blur this balance, leading us to forsake things we shouldn’t. According to psychology, there are specific aspects we should never let go of in the name of love.

This is where I come in, to shed some light on these non-negotiables.

Here’s a list of 11 things you should never sacrifice for a relationship, no matter how head over heels you might be.

Trust me, it’s worth sticking around for.

1) Personal identity

Love they say, is a beautiful thing. It’s shared moments, laughs, dreams, and even compromises.

But here’s the catch – compromise should never mean losing yourself.

Psychology is crystal clear on this one. Your identity – your values, interests, hobbies, your personal space and time – these are sacred.

While a relationship involves adapting and growing together, it should never demand you to surrender who you are. Nor should it require you to totally morph into a version of yourself that you can hardly recognize.

A healthy relationship celebrates individuality as much as togetherness. So hold onto who you are.

Because at the end of the day, you’re not just a partner or lover – you’re you. And that’s something worth preserving.

2) Dreams and aspirations

Let me take you a bit down my memory lane.

I once dated someone who didn’t see the value in my career. They wanted me to focus more on our relationship and less on my work. Now, don’t get me wrong, balance is critical, but the scales should never tip so far one way that your dreams get shoved off the edge.

There I was, faced with a choice – my passion or my partner. It was excruciating. But psychology nudged me in the right direction.

Our dreams and aspirations are what give us purpose, a sense of direction. They’re a part of who we are and often, where we’re headed. To abandon them for a relationship is not just self-sacrifice, it’s self-sabotage.

Long story short – I chose my dreams. It was bittersweet at first, but looking back now, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

If you find yourself at such crossroads, take it from me – never sacrifice your dreams for a relationship. It’s a price too steep to pay, as Justin Brown explains in his video below.

YouTube video

3) Physical health

Our bodies are our temples, and maintaining them should be a priority, not an option. And guess what? Psychology agrees.

Chronic stress, lack of sleep, poor diet – sometimes, relationships can take a toll on our physical health. And it’s easy to overlook this in the throes of love.

However, research shows that poor physical health can lead to decreased mental health and vice versa. It’s a vicious cycle that can result in a host of health problems, from heart disease to depression.

Whether it’s regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, or routine check-ups, don’t let your relationship stand in the way of your physical well-being.

Because when it comes to your health, compromise isn’t on the menu.

4) Self-esteem

Hold your head high, because your self-esteem should never be on the chopping block for a relationship.

We all have our moments of doubt, but when your relationship starts to erode your self-confidence consistently, it’s time to step back and reassess.

You see, self-esteem is incredibly vital. It’s the backbone of our mental health. And psychology underscores this fact.

A relationship should be a safe space where you feel valued and appreciated for who you are, not an arena where you’re constantly belittled or undermined.

A relationship that doesn’t build you up but instead tears you down isn’t worth the sacrifice. Your self-esteem is a treasure – guard it with all your might.

5) Your core values

Values are like a compass. They guide us on our path, help us make decisions, and essentially, define who we are.

In a relationship, it’s natural to have differences. But altering or abandoning your core values to please your partner or maintain harmony isn’t the way to go.

Psychology asserts that our values are fundamental to our identity. They’re deeply ingrained and pivotal to our sense of self.

A relationship should respect these values, not attempt to change them. So, whether it’s your beliefs, your principles, or your morals – stand firm.

Because a love that asks you to compromise what you stand for is not love at all. It’s control. And that’s a sacrifice no one should ever make.

6) Your happiness

This one hits close to home, doesn’t it?

Happiness. It’s what we all strive for, the ultimate goal. But sometimes, we lose sight of our own joy in our quest to make others happy.

Here’s the thing – your happiness matters. It’s not just a feel-good factor; it’s a necessity. Psychology backs this up, highlighting the importance of happiness for our overall well-being.

In a relationship, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the other person that you forget to cater to your own happiness. You might find yourself making choices that please your partner but leave you feeling unfulfilled or even miserable.

But love shouldn’t cost you your joy. Your happiness should never be on the line.

So listen to your heart, follow your bliss and remember – you deserve a relationship that adds to your happiness, not one that subtracts from it.

7) Your relationship with family and friends

It was a sunny afternoon when I received a call that would change my life. My best friend, who I hadn’t spoken to in months because of a relationship that consumed all my time, was moving away.

The hard truth hit me then – in the process of nurturing a romantic relationship, I had neglected the other important relationships in my life.

Psychology tells us that our network of family and friends is crucial for our mental and emotional well-being. They are our support system, our sounding board, and often, our lifeline.

A relationship that isolates you from your loved ones or forces you to sever ties isn’t healthy. It’s a red flag.

So no matter how enamored you are, don’t let your relationship cost you the people who’ve been there for you. Because some bonds, once broken, are hard to mend.

8) Your peace of mind

Peace of mind is a precious commodity in this chaotic world. It’s your sanctuary, your safe haven.

It’s normal for relationships to have their ups and downs, but when turmoil becomes the norm rather than the exception, it’s a cause for concern.

Psychology underlines the importance of mental peace for our overall well-being. A relationship that constantly puts you in distress, causing anxiety or fear, is harmful.

A loving relationship should bring comfort and tranquility, not constant unrest.

So, guard your mental peace fiercely. It’s not just your right; it’s your need. Don’t let any relationship rob you of it.

9) Your self-respect

At the heart of it all, there’s one thing that should never, ever be sacrificed for a relationship – your self-respect.

Psychology emphasizes that self-respect is fundamental to our sense of worth and dignity. It’s the foundation on which we build our relationships and make our choices.

A relationship that demands you to lower your self-respect, to tolerate disrespect or abuse, is toxic. It’s not love; it’s manipulation.

No one should ever have to endure such a relationship. Self-respect isn’t negotiable. It’s not a bargaining chip. It’s the line in the sand.

So, hold onto your self-respect with both hands. You are deserving of love and respect, and anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t deserve a place in your life.

10) Financial independence

Money matters are often tricky in relationships.

But one thing is clear – your financial independence is crucial.

It’s not just about being able to pay your own bills; it’s about the freedom and self-esteem that come with financial self-sufficiency.

Psychology emphasizes the importance of maintaining financial independence for personal empowerment and security.

When you have control over your finances, you have more choices and less dependency in a relationship.

Whether it’s maintaining a separate bank account or having a job, keep your financial independence intact. It’s key to your autonomy and sense of self.

11) Personal Goals and Passions

Your personal goals and passions are the fire that keeps your spirit alive.

They’re what make you uniquely you. Surrendering these for the sake of a relationship can lead to resentment and a loss of identity.

A study in psychology suggests that maintaining your personal interests and pursuing your goals contributes significantly to a sense of personal fulfillment and happiness.

A relationship should encourage you to pursue your passions, not hinder them.

So, whether it’s painting, writing, hiking, or any other pursuit that lights you up, never give up on what you love for a relationship. Your passions are a vital part of your being.

Final thought: It’s about balance

At the heart of it all, maintaining a healthy relationship while preserving your individuality, is a delicate act of balance.

Psychology emphasizes that self-sacrifice in a relationship should not equate to self-loss. It’s about mutual respect, understanding, and growth, not about one person eroding to ‘fit’ into the other’s mold.

It’s like a dance, where each partner moves in rhythm with the other, yet retains their unique style and grace.

Remember, every relationship is a two-way street. It should enhance your life, not diminish it. It should add colors to your canvas, not erase them.

So as you navigate the intricate landscape of love and relationships, hold on to these truths. Remember the things that should never be sacrificed.

After all, love is about becoming the best version of ourselves together. Not losing ourselves in the process.

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