I excelled quickly in partner dance because I danced many hours alone.
Following the authority of the dance (the music and the steps) is best integrated as muscle memory before attempting to dance with a partner.
The following of the authority needs to be second nature to discern the nuances of a great lead.
In life, the authority is my intuition, my subjective experience and enjoyment, and my value-system. These all inform one another, just as certain music invites certain styles of dance.
When people say that you need to "love yourself first" this is what they wish they were really saying--you need to be able to follow your own authority before you can harmonize with another person to create within that. If you don't, you'll produce a lot of awkwardness and dissonance. You might not even notice that the other person is off-beat, dancing a different style, or dancing to different music altogether.
You might say that you have a pattern of "abandoning yourself" in relationships, but I would say that you're straying from the authority that bounds your enjoyment and safety, attempting to follow a person even as they exit the rhythm of what's right for you.
Follow School is coming to help you put the reps in with the technique on point, readying you to dance gracefully with a partner when one shows up, and to enjoy every minute of the meantime. This isn't gonna just join the chorus in your head of things you should do--it's going to get inside your body as a practice and a way of being.
Following your own authority will become second-nature to you. That's where the real fun starts.