Relationships. Whether you’ve just entered a summer romance that you hope will become something long-term, or you’ve been with your special someone for a while now, relationships can feel amazing and overwhelming all at the same time.
You want to spend every second with this person.
You’re wanting to constantly call or text them.
You want every moment you’re apart to go by just that much faster.
Let me tell you. I get it.
Something to Think About
Ever heard the saying, “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”? This also applies to relationships.
You are your own person. You have your own hobbies, friends, goals, schoolwork, family, and everything else. While it’s normal to include your partner in some of those elements of your life, they shouldn’t become the main character in your life (and neither should you in theirs). Above all, the most important thing, ALWAYS, is being happy with yourself.
I’ve noticed that people have a tendency to metamorphose themselves into their partner. And at first, that can feel good.
But then, a shift happens.
I want to go ahead and preface that some shifts are normal. People get comfortable. When we first meet someone, it’s exciting and new. And then, not so much.
Here’s the thing. Sometimes one or both partners will hit that point before they want to. This can lead to something I like to call hyperfocus.
(Quick note: I didn’t come up with this term. Dating coach Jenn Burton invented it and talks a lot about it on her podcast “Single, Smart, Female”. If you’re of the age to listen to mature content, I highly recommend you give it a try).
This is the point when you’re so wrapped up in someone that everything else feels off.
With dating, the shift is your signal to slow down.
Or, if you’ve already started to slow down, it’s your signal to know that you’re doing nothing wrong in wanting some boundaries.
How Do I Know I’ve Hit Hyperfocus?
- You feel increasingly anxious the longer you don’t see or talk to your partner.
- You haven’t been on top of your work, school, chores, or any other obligations you have. You’re probably just doing enough to get by, but you haven’t genuinely been invested in what you were doing in a while.
- Your eating and sleeping have been affected.
- You feel TIRED. You’re more sluggish than usual, and performing tasks that used to be easy is way more difficult.
- Your friends miss you! Either they’ve directly told you this or, if you think back over the past month, you’ve seen/talked to them significantly less (or not at all).
- Every one of your conversations revolves around your significant other.
- You’re over-analyzing your conversations with your significant other. Whether it’s through text messages (“they didn’t use a heart emoji like they normally do!”) or in person (“they normally hug me when they first see me… why didn’t they hug me?!)
So What Can I Do?
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!!!!
Here’s the thing. I know a lot of women who get scared of setting boundaries because they fear losing their S.O. They think things like:
- What if they get offended that I want some alone time?
- Will they get bored with me?
- What if giving them space makes them realize they don’t want to be with me… or worse… that they want to be with someone else?
And these are valid concerns. The thing is, if they’re the person who you’re really supposed to be with, they won’t go anywhere. Not really. They might start filling their life up with more of their own interests/friends/family (and perhaps not feel the need to include you in those things as often), but them having a vibrant life outside of you and their relationship with you DOES NOT mean that they like you any less.
They might actually begin to like you more for giving them that freedom to explore other things without fear of losing you.
Of course, different people have different standards and circumstances, so boundaries are very personal and individualized. Here are a few I’ve learned to set for myself when I feel like I’m slipping into hyperfocus.
- I give myself a cut off time from talking to them/seeing them.
- I step up self care. If I haven’t been exercising, eating healthy, washing my face, cleaning my space, paying attention to my work, etc., I start doing those things again. I don’t let myself get distracted by my S.O. until I get my own things done.
- And yes, sometimes this has meant putting my phone in another room until I finish whatever I need to do.
- I make plans with my friends and family. At least one afternoon or night out of my week, instead of seeing my S.O., I allow myself to do something different with somebody else.
- I date myself first, carving out time to be alone with my thoughts and hobbies.
- I check in with my emotions and cease activities that don’t feel like something I’m ready for or wanting. Intimacy and attachment are highly linked, and if I engage in activities I’m not ready for yet, it’s easy for hyperfocus to set in.
Essentially, I tend to what I’ve been neglecting. Whether that’s my job, my friends and family, my hobbies, or my emotions.
I promise you’ll both have more fun and build a stronger connection with one another with boundaries in place. The other person might appreciate you more for taking care of yourself and not leaning into them to take care of your needs. Being able to recognize that you need space for self care and better boundaries is a sign of maturity. And only with this kind of maturity can your relationships grow and flourish.
As always, take a deep breath and know that it’s all going to be okay. As someone who’s been there many times, I can reassure you of that.
Check out more relationship articles by GirlSpring contributors!