Signs You Change Too Much For Your Romantic Partners

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a healthy relationship

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Compromise is an essential part of any functioning relationship. Every couples therapist will tell you that. Part of the thrill of having another person in your life is that it’s another personit’s not you. It’s not your clone. It’s someone else with an entirely different background and story and viewpoint. That’s what’s so exciting about making a connection. It’s about finding common values, goals, and passions in another person. You traveled different paths, and somehow developed a similar perspective, and found each other in this crazy world. But still, it’s not you, which means your partner will sometimes want different things than you. You have a lot in common, but not everything. Your needs won’t always line up. That’s where compromise gets tricky.

There is a fine line between being good at compromise, and compromising who you are. With all of the emphasis on compromise being such a positive thing, it’s easy to accidentally cross that line. There’s also the fact that everybody wants to be loved. It’s a very powerful desire and one that can make our vision a little foggy. Sometimes we don’t see we’re compromising ourselves, because the reward – another person’s approval – feels so good in the moment. But it never feels good to lose yourself in a relationship. The consequences far outweigh the benefits. So, do you change too much for your partners? Here’s how to tell.

You won’t give your opinion first

When any topic comes up that can trigger many opinions, you don’t say anything until you hear what your partner thinks about the matter first. Even if he directly asks you what you think of something, you immediately ask, “What do you think?” to get his opinion first. You don’t want to create conflict by accidentally sharing a stance that is drastically different from his own, but you’re fine with whatever he says, so you just think it’s best if he speaks up first. Unfortunately, what ultimately happens is you have a partner who doesn’t know your real feelings on a lot of topics.

“Since when?” are words you hear often

You always seem to have a new hobby, new interest, new likes/dislikes, and even new rules for your life when a new partner comes into it. But your friends and family who’ve known you for a long time know that’s not the real you. So when you’re suddenly “very into Sci-Fi conventions,” they ask, “Since when?” You’ve literally never showed interest in that kind of stuff before this partner came into your life. You also didn’t used to stick to a vegan diet before dating the vegan. So when you say you’re strictly plant-based, they ask, “Is that a new thing?”

Breakups = yard sales

You accumulate a lot of stuff when you enter a new relationship. Taking on a new identity tends to require a lot of new stuff, from clothes to home décor to books to kitchen appliances to posters. Whatever he’s into, you’re into, and it calls for some shopping. That also means that every breakup results in what looks like a yard sale. You have boxes and boxes of things to get rid of because they were tied to the identity you took on for a person, and now that person is gone. Your friends can look forward to a lot of free clothes and artwork when you go through a breakup. And your eBay account goes inactive for months while you date someone…and then becomes very active after a breakup.

Your inner monologue is very active

You know how a lot of shows consist of the main character having a lot of conversations with herself? You hear many, many of her thoughts before she speaks because she does a lot of editing and filtering before saying something. That’s kind of how your life goes. You have an incredibly active inner monologue and you go through a lot of editing before deciding what to say out loud to a partner. That can be a sign that you don’t feel comfortable showing your genuine self, so you curate what exactly to show to your partner. If that’s true, then there is a good chance you change a lot for him, too.

Your friends are his friends’ partners

Your friend group turns over as frequently as your romantic relationships do because your friends are just the girlfriends and wives of whomever you’re dating at the time. That’s who you brunch with and shop with and see movies with. That’s who you hit the gym with. You have some lifelong childhood friends who have given up on investing time into these new girlfriends because they know they’ll be out of your life as soon as this new partner goes. It’s pretty common that someone asks how that one friend of yours is and you reply, “Oh, we don’t really talk anymore…” because that was just your ex-boyfriend’s friend’s girlfriend.

You upset friends to please partners

If you have to make a choice that will either please your partner or your friends, you’ll choose to please your partner every time. Maybe that choice is something like, what resort you all stay at for a big group vacation. Your friends want one, but your partner wants another. You always push for what your partner wants. The truth is that deep down, you probably also want what your friends want. Seeing as they’re the ones who have known you the longest, your interests and desires are probably more in line with theirs than your partner’s, but he always wins out.

You change your look

You’ve had so many different identities throughout the years, you could have had an amazing career as a con artist. If you scroll through old photos of yourself, for every relationship there was a unique style you embraced. There was one year when you had long hair and French tip nails and wore Juicy Couture sweatpants. Another year you wore thick-rimmed glasses, cut your hair short, and rocked combat boots. These were the various styles you went through to look the way your partner thought to be attractive. Whatever they were into, you were into — from head to toe.

You date all over the map

It’s good to be open-minded and not stick to one very narrow type. Having just one type can be quite limiting. However, you date all over the map. Truly, you reach every corner of it. There is almost no overlap from one partner to another. You date hippie surfers, straight-laced bankers, scholarly professors, high-strung restaurant owners…it’s almost like you’re sampling every type of human who exists. That can be a sign of not knowing who you are yet, and finding yourself through others. That might seem ok, but it can result in changing who you are for each partner since you lack a core identity to stick to.

You can’t make decisions alone

You can’t make a decision – big or small – without consulting others for insight. Whether it’s which apartment to rent, which job to take, which outfit to wear, which restaurant to choose for your birthday dinner, or which dog to adopt, you must first chat with several friends and family members and get their input. You don’t feel connected to your intuition. There is no internal guiding ship. You can’t really say what you think about the matter. If that’s the case when you’re single, then you likely require a lot of guidance from a romantic partner when you’re in a relationship, and make a lot of changes based on that guidance.

You know a little about a lot

You would do pretty well at trivia or Jeopardy because you know a little about a lot. You have a random sampling of information about many things, from sailing to coin collecting to day trading to app development to poker to cooking. You have accumulated these bits of knowledge from the many guys, who were all very different, who you dated for a short period of time. And because when you date someone you have a habit of immersing yourself in their life and taking on some of their identity, you absorb a lot of details about their lifestyle at that time. You’re a semi jack of all trades.

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