February is all about romance, but also important for maintaining your own identity

February 15, 2022 CONRIC PR

February is the month of love, and seeing the decorations, cards and candy will bring your thoughts about relationships to the surface, even if just for a moment. These feelings may be good, bad, or both, but they will instantly have you evaluating your current situation and your beliefs about love. With over 15 years of medical experience, Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP, reminds us that whether single, dating or married, maintaining our own identity is imperative to long term happiness.

“We see it all the time, people get lost in a new relationship and their priorities are completely taken over by focusing too much on their partner. We also see a loss of identity when couples become parents. They focus so much on raising children that they lose sight of themselves and each other,” explains Dr. Mel.

Regardless of relationship status, it’s important we maintain our friendships, family connections, hobbies and time alone. We can sometimes put all of our time and focus into others and then lose sight of ourselves.

Often, singles who get into a new relationship push these interests to the side and over focus on their new partner. In the long run, this will leave you feeling disappointed and lonely because it is impossible to maintain and, in the process, you are denying yourself and your own feelings and wants to please someone else.

“The opposite typically occurs for couples who focus all their energy and attention on their children. It’s important to take time as a couple, otherwise, when the children leave home, you are left as roommates, distant strangers,” explained Dr. Mel. “I see it time and time again, how couples grow apart because they develop separate lives – him focusing on work and her focusing on the kids. Over time, both failing to make an effort to connect, and also building resentment.”

Romantic relationships can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life if we are able to be vulnerable and trust our partner so that both individual’s needs are being met in a space where it feels safe to do so. It is important to acknowledge your partner and nurture your connection while also maintaining your own identity within the relationship.

“We need to show our partners how much they mean to us and that their needs, wants and happiness matter,” said Dr. Mel. “It needs to be an intentional effort for both parties and you need to make it happen no matter how busy you are.”

Dr. Mel suggests checking in with your partner daily to see how things are going and how they are doing. If there is something nice you can do, make an effort to reach out.

“You can’t just be present. You have to really be there for your partner. When’s the last time you did something nice for each other?” said Dr. Mel. “My husband knows I get so busy at work I can forget to take lunch. Sometimes he orders food or will bring lunch to surprise me and show he cares and is here to support me.”

You can also try reconnecting in nostalgic ways by incorporating something unique that only means something to the both of you and your relationship. This could be an item, a song, a location, or anything that holds meaning for just the two of you.

“There’s a lot of anxiety for couples going through this because they feel like something’s wrong with them,” explains Dr. Mel. “The challenges they’re facing are often simpler to fix than they anticipate, and we can work together to resolve them. I can assist with counseling and guidance for couples, including how to rekindle intimacy. I take a comprehensive approach that looks at external factors, and emotional and physical wellness, including a hormone check. Many women find hormone therapy life changing. They literally tell me they feel like they got their lives back.”

Dr. Mel sees patients through Revitalize Health Clinic and Spa, 14320 Metropolis Ave, in Fort Myers. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please visit drmelirvine.com, or call 239-351-5663.


About Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP 

Dr. Mel has been in the medical field for over 15 years and is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Brenau Women’s College, in Gainesville, Georgia. She received her Master of Science in Nursing at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and her doctorate degree at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Mel is passionate about empowering and educating women so they can be their own advocates and make the best-informed decisions regarding treatment options and quality of life. As a Sexual Medicine provider, she takes pride in providing high quality personalized care to meet the sexual health needs of both men and women. Her interest in Sexual Medicine took her to San Diego where she completed a preceptorship with the leading Sexual Medicine provider in the U.S., Dr. Irwin Goldstein. She is an avid learner and regularly attends educational trainings and conferences to stay up to date on the latest and most innovative treatment options available.

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