It can be tempting to squeeze yourself into a lover’s mold for you. Don’t.
Don’t stifle your magic with their constraints. Maybe it doesn’t sound like something you’d do. You’re an independent citizen of the world, right? That doesn’t mean you don’t act like a puppy dog in a relationship! You have, probably within the last week, feigned pleasure in something, rather than disappoint your sweetheart … and if that seems harmless, imagine the burden of keeping up a façade for the rest of your life.
You might not even realize you do it; but remember when you really wanted a burger and ended up eating a salad, instead? Or maybe you were so ready to get a good night’s sleep when you accommodated their sexual move, instead. Or maybe you watch movies you find shallow, walk when you feel like running, wait for them to say, “I love you,” or bite your tongue during still another vacation with the in-laws.
Starting to see yourself as a little less independent? Think about who you are when you’re not in a relationship, or who you would be if you hadn’t been married for so much of your life. What are you going without because you thought you had to sacrifice it for a relationship? And what are you disappointed … or angry … or bitter about giving up?
Maybe that question helps to paint a poignant picture of how it doesn’t serve you–or anybody else–to lose who you are to a relationship. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you make it difficult for anybody else to feel good about you; and that can lead to, “God, I can’t believe you’re so ungrateful — I gave up everything for you!” Granted, you probably don’t say it out loud very often; but you don’t have to for people to know what you’re feeling.
With every interaction with your sweetheart, you choose to be you or somebody else, maybe somebody you think they want you to be. And if you’ve been squeezing yourself into a mold for a long time, you may be choosing unconsciously. Stop choosing by default, or habit, and choose consciously — to eat mangos naked, to watch a movie that fuels you, to do cartwheels, to say, “I love you!”
When your partner asks where you want to go to dinner, stop and think about what feels good to you. As obvious as that sounds, maybe you defer to him without even realizing it, because he’s paying … or to her, because she works harder than you do. Maybe you’re trying to make him/her happy. By now we’ve all learned that we can’t really make somebody else happy, right? But that doesn’t stop us from trying. It doesn’t break old habits.
As you make yourself happy by being true to yourself, you demonstrate for a sweetheart how they, too, can take responsibility for their own happiness. How liberating is that!