Ellen M. Lerner
3 min readFeb 28, 2024


Why it seems that some people tend to lose themselves in their relationships

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I feel that perhaps they were not whole to begin with.

Many people’s identity depends upon if they have a partner or not. It can go further…if this partner has money, looks usually play a huge part, many impermanent things…and then there are those who, at times, give off the impression they have this perfect life…the perfect home, 2.5 kids, you know…the ‘American Dream…’

So, if they did not feel whole to begin with, if they find themselves in a romantic relationship, they tend put all of their hopes, dreams, expectations and especially their identity into this person. They lose themselves because they never really ‘had’ themselves in the first place (if that makes any sense?)

I have always felt (and I think this has so much to do with my amazing parents and what I witnessed growing up) that if you need another person in order to feel complete, you are setting yourself up for one disastrous fall.

In order for a relationship to be a truly successful one, you need two healthy people who are secure within themselves. They really don’t need much of anything. That doesn’t mean that it is not normal and natural to want to have a partner to share your life with. But if you feel that something is missing within you, no one and nothing is ever going to fill that hole. Only you can fill it.

A person is not supposed to magically come along and make everything perfect. You should never need a person to make your life complete. You should feel complete all on your own. A person should enhance your life. Not define it.

If you do not feel secure within yourself, I promise you…you will never feel secure within the relationship. Because no one can make your life complete. You need to do that on your own. Then you will be ready (provided you find a healthy partner who is on the same page that you are) that is when you will have a true partnership. Real love. Not because you need it, but because you were open and ready for a person to share an already happy life with.

Here are just a few things that I have always believed constitutes a healthy relationship….

1.) Knowing what you like and what matters to you

2.) Asking for what you want, rather than always deferring to his/her wants

3.) Spending time with your own friends and family

4.) Pursuing your goals and always staying true to your values

5.) Making time for your hobbies and interests

6.) Saying “no” when something really doesn’t work or feel good or right to you

7.) Spending time by yourself

8.) Loving someone because of just that…you love and accept them for exactly who they are

9.) Figuring yourself out. Knowing yourself. Knowing what you truly want from a partner

10.) Staying true to your values and finding a person who shares those values right along with you. You can be drastically different in most ways, but if your values are not the same, the relationship is doomed to fail.

Loving someone and needing someone are two very different things. Knowing the difference and applying this to your relationship is vital.
Never forget or let go of your beliefs because it will appease the other. Always remember who you are and never change for someone else…for anyone, and in turn, you hope your partner feels exactly the same.

Take your time. Enjoy getting to know yourself and learning about yourself. There’s no rush. When you are ready, hopefully you will know. My Mom always said that real love comes along when you are least expecting it. As long as you have a good idea as to who you are and what you are looking for out of life and a partner, that unexpected surprise could be a beautiful, fulfilling, lifelong love that each and every one of us deserves, and hopefully finds one day when we are truly ready.

Photo via unsplash



Ellen M. Lerner

My name is Ellen. I am a Composer. A Pianist and Vocalist. A Student. A Writer and most of all...I'm a Survivor.