“Never change who you are for someone else”, we hear regularly, but is that advice right? In some cases, it is okay to adapt yourself for the one you love. Not because it has to be, but because a strong love relationship stands or falls by the ability to make compromises.
Insecurity can be a destructive force in romantic relationships. It can make us feel that we are not worthy to receive love. And that we will have meaningful relationships if only we were a little more beautiful, funnier, brighter, or more enjoyable.
That thought is poisonous and causes a lot of misery. That’s why parents, friends, gurus, and advice columns in magazines tell us time and again that we should never change ourselves for anyone else. Because if someone loves you, they love you just the way you are.
Now, of course, there’s something to that. Anyone who constantly adapts to the wishes and desires of others gets into a bind. When you are and how you behave are too far apart, you go beyond your limits.
That is why the advice ‘never change who you are for someone else’ is essential and incomplete. In some cases, it is good to change in a relationship, provided you both make that effort and it is not only from one side, of course.
Life is not a Hollywood movie
A relationship is always a matter of giving and take. As much as we’d like to believe in the Hollywood dream of romantic comedies, there aren’t two people whose lives and worlds click together like jigsaw puzzle pieces. Without any pressure, doubt, irritation, or quarrel. There are, however, a lot of people who fit ‘quite well’ together. But even with those almost perfect couples, you can be proud that planning and pickling are necessary until a solid foundation is created on which to build.
Where is the border?
There is a fine line between “good” change (adjustments that make you and your partner happier and more potent as a couple) and “bad” change (where you go beyond your limits). There are things you should never change about yourself.
And there are reasons for which you should never change. That also makes it difficult. How do you know which side of the line you are on? In general, you can say that all changes that arise from your insecurity are a risk. The thought ‘if only I were a little more so-or-so, he/she would love me’ is destructive and never constructive.
Your partner should love you for who you are in your core, soul, or essence (whatever you want to call it). Never adopt that core for anyone. But also don’t be so rigid that you don’t have room to meet someone out of love.
9 things that are okay to change about yourself for someone you love
Interests and hobbies
No one should feel compelled to drop specific interests and adopt new ones once they get into a relationship. But it is only logical that you invest in things that the other person finds fun and interesting. Is your partner crazy about horses? Then make an effort to show interest and discover what your partner likes about it. And who knows, you might turn out to be a horse madman yourself.
The place where you live
I don’t want to say that you have to let the moving van drive ahead of the first handsome guy that passes by. Nor that you should ever feel obliged to leave home and hearth for a partner, no matter how serious your plans are. But if you are in a long-distance relationship with a future perspective, you should at least consider the option and discuss it.
Maybe you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day; you become a jealous dragon if you have too much gin and tonic, or you eat a bag of chips on the couch every night. Bad habits – we all have them. Your loved one should accept you as you are, but of course, that doesn’t mean you can play the unhealthy dragon undisturbed.
Does your partner find it annoying when people are late and are you one of those people who only leave when you should arrive? Would you please do your best to come on-time more often? Sometimes a relationship can be just the mirror we need to deal with bad habits.
How you look
If you are pleased with your clothes and have your style, don’t suddenly buy another wardrobe to meet other people’s preferences. Do the clothes you wear reflect who you are and make you feel good about yourself? Keep it like that. But at the same time, don’t feel bad if your clothing style has shifted towards your partner’s taste.
There are plenty of people (both men and women) who don’t care what they wear or don’t have a good idea of what looks good on them. Does your partner happen to have great taste and like to give you tips and clothes as a gift? Use it gratefully. You are happy, the other happy, everyone happy.
Daily Household Routines
When someone has lived alone for a long time and suddenly has to share a house with a partner, that can be quite a step. You were both used to doing certain things in your way. And no matter how sweet and fun and wonderful you find that other person, that can be pretty irritating.
Living together is adapting. So let’s say your partner thinks it’s mega-important that the toilet roll is changed immediately when it’s gone or that there is no pinching in the middle of the toothpaste tube… then keep that in mind (just like the other person does). Must bear in mind that this does not always work well.
Suppose you’re an introvert who prefers to sit on the couch, and your partner is a social animal who likes to be at a different party every night. In that case, it’s okay (maybe even essential) for both of you to make a little effort to accommodate each other.
Perhaps you will have to force yourself to get off that couch now and then, and the other person will have to be willing to take a seat there more often. Give and take, remember?
The way you argue
Fights happen in every relationship. It may well be that the way you handled such disputes in the past just isn’t working with your current partner. Maybe your partner is direct and adamant, but you clap completely in any confrontation.
Then both of you will have to find a way to handle arguments in a healthy, constructive way from now on.
Your vision for the future
Perhaps for years, you have had an obvious idea of what your life would look like and, suddenly there is someone who you like and love but who also messes up all your beautiful plans. Ideas about starting a family, where to live, or career can change dramatically when you choose to share your life with someone.
Your vision becomes your vision. It’s all about you as a team from now on. And that’s okay. Of course, you shouldn’t necessarily give up your dreams for love, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be open to new or different goals. Dreams change, plans change, visions change. Not because we have to, but simply because we humans continue to grow, develop and adapt to new situations. There’s nothing wrong with that.
How you think about love
Most people walk around with a clear idea of what “love” should look like. Still, we’ll have to live with the fact that your partner doesn’t fit your ideal (at least until we can design lifelike robots). Don’t get hung up on what you thought you wanted, but accept and appreciate what you have.
Maybe your image of love will change, but at least it will vary from fantasy to something natural and pure. And that is worth much more.