Bae Talk

Five tips for a better you in your relationship

Romantic couple holding hands in a field
How important is it to maintain your identity, keep your friends and fight for your values in a relationship?

Sometimes when getting into a relationship, we just always want to keep our partners happy so we get into this thing where we want to be everything our partner wants us to be that we forget who we really are and what it is that we stand for.

Connect had a QnA with Michelle Andrews, a clinical psychologist who practises in Private Practice in Johannesburg, about relationships, the importance of maintaining your identity and standing up for your values when they are compromised.

Q: For someone going into a relationship, how important is it to be mentally prepared to deal with a new person in your life?

A: Moving from the position of an individual to an individual within a relationship is an adjustment. While maintaining a sense of individuality is important, so is ensuring that one holds their partner in mind.
Young african couple sitting on floor of new home with coffee and being happy with life success of property investment
Young couple sitting on floor being happy
Q: How important is it not to isolate yourself from other friends when entering a relationship?
A: Individuation within a relationship is healthy, therefore having friendships as a couple and friendships as individuals is great. 
Q: As much as one would find in important to be who their partner wants them to be, how important is it to stay being themselves and holding their ground in situations where they feel their values and morals are tested?
A: It’s not about being right in confrontations but rather about being real/authentic. Identity formation is a developmental task that, according to theorists, is mastered in adolescence. A secure sense of self i.e.. knowing who you are and what you stand for has the potential to enrich a relationship. It is important to note that one’s sense of self will always be in a slight degree of flux as one grows and changes.
Sad couple having a conflict and relationship problems
Sad couple having a conflict and relationship problems
Q: What is the one thing you would say couples need to remember when dealing with the other’s emotions?
A: Seek to understand the other as fully as possible. Their feelings may not make sense to one, their stance may not fit ones own frame of reference, therefore necessitating inquiry with an authentic curiosity. Validate your partner’s feelings, thereby communicating your understanding and acceptance of their position.
If you are looking for more information you can find Michelle Andrews on her website at

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About the author

Ofentse Maphari