How many times have you taken a look at yourself in a figurative mirror while you were in a relationship or immediately after a break-up and asked yourself, “Who am I? or Who have I become?” I ask this because a lot of people often get annoyed when friends and family tell them that since they’ve been in a relationship, they’ve changed. Change for the better is good but change for the worse is bad! When I say change for the worse, I mean that you’ve strayed so far away from who you were as the person that people knew and loved, into an ENTIRELY different person that people can’t stand to be around since you’ve been in that relationship.
Many times, people don’t even know that they are changing or have already changed. It’s after others bring it to their attention and they start getting defensive, that they realize that it just might be true. Some people are just chameleons, blending into the relationship and changing to fit every different situation that they get in. Then there are the conformists who basically will conform to whatever their mate “expects” them to be. Finally, there are those people who like to adopt an “alter ego” to keep evolving in the relationship to keep it spicy. No matter the type, these people CHANGE for relationships!
Chameleons are beautiful lizards that are able to change colors to blend in with their surroundings for social purposes with other chameleons and for survival purposes to protect themselves in their environment against harm. There are some people who will do these things when they get into a relationship. I’ve seen women go out and meet a guy and once they get to know his likes and dislikes, they start to try to adapt their lifestyle to them because they think it will be pleasing to him. In reality, it’s not who they really are and when the lights come on, they will be exposed. You can only hide behind a farce for so long. In one relationship, you’re “Holly Housewife”, cooking in the kitchen dressed like “June Cleaver” with an apron on presenting an apple pie to guests because your mate is a straight-laced, no-nonsense, dinner party type of guy. The next relationship, you become “Hip Hop Harriet”, dressed like video vixen “Melyssa Ford” with nothing but a push-up bra on posing for pictures next to a Bentley because your new man is a gun-toting, drug dealing, pretend rapper who smokes weed all day. This is very dangerous behavior, especially for the person who constantly changes for every new relationship. You will become unrecognizable to your friends and family but most of all, YOURSELF! If you are in a volatile relationship and have adapted for survival, it can be very hard for your family and friends to help you because you have blended in to the situation by making excuses for the abuser, masking bruises and going along with his abuse.
The definition of conforming is to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes or practices of society or a group of people. When you meet someone who you really feel a connection to and can see a future with, you can easily start to conform to their expectations because you want a relationship with them. How many people do you know that ended up in a unfulfilled relationship because they tried to conform to a lifestyle that their mate wanted to have? One good example of this is a woman who meets a guy who CLEARLY states that HE DOESN’T WANT KIDS and she pretends that she can live with that and she marries him. Ultimately, in the back of her mind, she resents herself for going along with this because she really wants a family and starts to “act out” her frustration by trying to change his mind, which causes problems in the relationship. When someone gives you a clear understanding of the things that they value and their expectations in a relationship, they aren’t just saying it for the sake of conversation, they usually mean it. Sometimes we hear things that we want to hear but we aren’t “listening” to what’s clearly being said and we think that we can change what we don’t like about them. Most of the time, WE CAN’T change them as a person or their minds about something that they feel strongly about so we end up conforming to their ideals, ways of thinking and to the direction that they want the relationship to go in. Sometimes, their thoughts become your thoughts and every response to a situation warrants the question, “What would he/she do or think?” When you find yourself in this situation you must consider the question, “Have you lost who you are to be what they want you to be?” If the answer is YES then you are not going to be happy in the long run with the relationship or yourself when you realize that you’ve given up your own beliefs, principles and practices. The signs that you are a conformist is when your mate tells you to wear your hair a certain way, weigh a certain amount and cut off certain friends because they’re bringing you down and YOU DO IT. Conforming for EVERY person that you date will only distort your TRUE self.
It’s hard to uncover all of the layers of a person because people are multifaceted. People show different sides of themselves around different people for obvious reasons because everything is NOT for everybody! Men like to say that they want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed. The “freak” is essentially her alter ego, the one that she pulls out only with him. There is nothing wrong with having an alter ego until your real personality and alter ego start interfering with one another and become indistinguishable. This commonly happens, for instance, when cops go undercover and live a double-life, they can’t separate the two in reality and it becomes detrimental to their relationships. Alter egos can make you start to believe your own lies. I can recall an ex-boyfriend who started chatting online using an alter ego to get attention from women. He made up a fake identity and biographical information. I started getting weird phone calls to my house asking for a guy all of the time and I would tell them that they had the wrong number but I quickly realized that he was CRAZY enough to give out the REAL house number with his FAKE name. After we broke up, I had a friend call his cellphone and ask for the fake name and HE TALKED to her. People who claim to have an “alter ego”, tends to really have an IDENTITY CRISIS. Get to know yourself and be who you really are and stop using the alter ego to portray who you WISH you were.
The bottom line is that you DON’T need to completely change who you are to be with a person. If they can’t accept you for who you are, flaws and all, then they’re just not the one for you. There is a HUGE difference between compromising and caving. Compromising on some of your rigid ways may be necessary to balance the relationship but don’t cave in to all of the things that they request that you change about yourself just to be with them. Take it from Mary J. Blige, she said it VERY succinct: “Take me as I am, or have nothing at all!”