Abby likely is operating from a very common false belief: that getting love and having control over getting love is what will make her feel happy, worthy, safe and secure. And that this is required in order to be in a relationship.
This is a conundrum, because we can never feel happy, worthy, safe and secure when we are abandoning ourselves. Because, once again, what's the point of a relationship if you have to deny who you are to get someone else's attention and approval? Relationships thrive when each person is fully who they are and receives love and support from their partner for all that they are.
So, back to Abby's question: how do you approach a new relationship with the intent of keeping yourself fully intact? The process is comprised of two basic emotional shifts:
1. Make a solid decision that giving yourself up is no longer an option.
You have nothing to lose by deciding to continue to be fully yourself in your next relationship and see what happens. Period.
2. Shift your intent from trying to get love to loving yourself.
You will have a much better chance of attracting a partner who loves himself or herself enough to not want to be with a partner who gives him/herself up to get love.
Now, the last question we face here is about the actual meaning of self-love: what is self-love, and how do you practice it?
Learning to love yourself enough to not lose yourself in the face of rejection, or the fear of rejection, is a major key in creating a loving relationship. Loving yourself means the following four things (among others):