Any relationship guru will tell you compromise is the key to making things work. It's all about standing strong on your own, and even stronger together. It's about making the odd sacrifice so the person you love will be truly happy.
That's all well and good if you find yourself able to create the right balance: the perfect match where you're both happy, with the desirable number of sacrifices made to give each of you what you want.
It all sounds pretty simple. It's just what you do when you are in love: Isn't it?
In reality, that "perfect" balance of trying to make both yourself and the one you love happy is actually pretty difficult to achieve.
Try too hard to do what's best for yourself, and you run the risk of not doing enough for your partner. Focus too much on making someone else happy, and you could easily lose yourself in the process.
It's a constant battle... and you might not be able to win, no matter how hard you try.
In the beginning, it's easy. Everything's new and exciting. You're open to change that is for the better, which makes the odd sacrifice here or there go unnoticed.
You see nothing but the good in your partner, and you are willing to do whatever it takes to make him or her happy as a result.
Then, before long, the changes don't come as easy. It's not like there's anything wrong with the relationship as such: You've just reached the point where the cracks in the compromise begin to show.
You grow tired of giving too much. You begin to feel the burden of being under-appreciated, and you reach a point of exhaustion from never putting yourself first. It becomes clear you have molded to the shape of your partner, and lost yourself in doing so.
Now, you've forgotten how to put yourself first. You convince yourself you are happy with how things are. You tell yourself always thinking of what will benefit someone else is just how to keep hold of a relationship.
So, you start to hide the things your partner might not like. You stop cooking the dinners he or she isn't too fond of and stop dressing in the clothes you know he or she doesn't love.
And, the worst bit? You aren't even aware you're doing it. You go about living the life someone else wants you to live, but you're completely unaware.
You could easily carry on like this. Your partner makes the odd compromise for you, and being with someone makes you feel comfortable enough to let go of your independence.
But before long, something clicks. The part of yourself you've been ignoring for the good of your relationship makes a noise.
It tells you it isn't worth it. It says if you carry on, you will continue to lose parts of yourself until there's nothing left. It forces you to realize your self-worth.
And then, suddenly, it becomes impossible to ignore.
It might be true you can't live entirely for yourself and still make a relationship work. There are bound to be times when you have to give something up to benefit someone else.
And this is absolutely fine, if it's best for the both of you.
But sometimes, changing yourself won't make a relationship work. There comes a point where you have to ask yourself, "Will the change make me happier?"
Will it add to your life, or offer you something bigger and better?
If you can confidently say the change is as much for you as it is for your partner, then chances are, it's the right thing to do.
It's just an adjustment your relationship needs.
But if there's the tiniest doubt in your mind that encourages you to resist your choice, hold back or fear regret, then trust your gut.
Put yourself first, and refuse to make a change that isn't in your best interest.
Yes, it might end your relationship. It may even make you feel selfish, or fill you with guilt.
But in the long run, you will be saved from losing yourself in the process of building someone else.