We make a lot of noise about wanting to be ourselves, wanting to be accepted for who we are and not being made to change too much, but listening to some of the stringent list of requirements and possible reasons for relationship failure, it’s clear that we walk a fine line between keeping it real and keeping it real as long as you do what the other person wants.
In order for relationships to progress, we do need to be able to do a little adjusting and compromising but none of this should involve compromising the essence of you – your character and values. Quite frankly, if you need to change that much to keep someone, it’s not real anyway and will only end in tears.
However, we must also learn how to accept our partners realness. In the past I have had boyfriends and found myself grinding my teeth over their annoying habits like watching sports too much, not doing the washing up, leaving socks everywhere, the wet towel conundrum and that certain emotional ignorance which some men can switch on at will. When I thought about the ideal man for me, he was free of all of this annoying stuff yet realistically I would need to have pulled him out of the frozen food section of my supermarket for him to have ticked all of the boxes of perfection.
Before I met my The Boyf, I did have quite a bit of clarity about some of my dating habits and the mentality that accompanied it, but the realisation that a lot of those things don’t mean a damn thing in the grander scheme of things dawned on me several months into the relationship when I noted that many of the annoying man habits that I thought I would shoot to kill for if I were a touch crazy and of a violent disposition, were regularly committed by my boyfriend and I didn’t care.
The most enlightening thing though, has been the comfort of knowing that I don’t have to grit my teeth because I’m playing at being someone I’m not. I have played too many roles in my dating life, probably enough to win Best Actress at the UnReal Relationship Oscars several times over and I realised that if a guy didn’t want me as I was, it was tough tits for him, but I also recognised that I had to extend the same courtesy to him too.
Some people have an unhealthy idea of what ‘adjusting’ and ‘compromising’ is, with some having no recognition of these actions. The odd thing is that in many instances where you are generally happy, you will do these without behaving as if you’re having a tooth extracted every time. They shouldn’t cause massive discomfort because it’s just natures way of slotting into each others lives. When you do have to make a concerted effort, if both of you are giving and taking on balance, again, it shouldn’t kill you.
Obviously where this doesn’t work is where one wants to adjust and compromise and the other wants to stay the same, but then there may be bigger issues at hand underneath anyway…
Whatever and whoever you’re doing, the point is that the person that you present to your significant other shouldn’t be a radical departure from your usual self. If you’re playacting at your new character and personality, it is not real. If being the best that you can be is as a result of being even happier and inspired due to your relationship, then more power to you, because the right relationship does make the people in it want to be the best that they can be, naturally.
If you have a partner trying to shoehorn you into the cookie cut version of their ideal and they maintain their rigidity about it, especially with no sign of compromise from them, run a bloody mile in the opposite direction and keep your company with people who want you for you.