The first time I got dumped, I found out it was because I was ‘boring’. I was pretty upset. I cried on the bus ride home, I cried in my best friend’s bed, I cried intermittently over the next few days. I was also angry. I wanted to go to his house and shout about how cool and interesting I was, how my friends called me funny and how I was thinking of getting a tattoo.
I had all of these ideas of why he would think I was boring – was it because I didn’t go out much? Because I didn’t like dubstep? Was it that I didn’t do any extreme sports? I would spend hours obsessing over ways that I could show him how un-boring I was, daydreaming of showing up at a costume party in the best outfit there or going to a bar and ordering scotch on the rocks, but, of course, ended up doing absolutely nothing.
After a lot of time (longer than the actual relationship, weirdly enough), I came to a realization. He didn’t find me boring because I was just inherently uncool – it was for two very specific reasons. Firstly, because we didn’t have the same interests, and secondly, because I was so scared of our differences that I masked pretty much everything interesting about myself. I silently nodded when we listened to his music choices, too scared that admitting that actually, I hate this song, would result in him hating me and ending the relationship immediately. I listened to his stories of going out rather than bringing up an awesome book I was reading. I silenced myself, toning down who I was and what I liked to avoid the risk of him not liking me.
I definitely don’t wish I could go back in time and be real – we were completely mismatched, and even before breaking up I had lost interest – but the relationship definitely taught me an important lesson: changing who you are for a guy will never, ever be worth it.
Think about it logically. Changing things about yourself to fit in line with a guy will only really end in two possible ways. 1. You come off as uncomfortable and fake, like I did, and the relationship ends; or 2. He loves the ‘new you’ because it fits in with everything he wants, but you now have to live with the changes you’ve made, most likely giving up the things you love and parts of yourself that make you, you.
One of the biggest mental obstacles I’ve had to deal with is understanding that the perfect guy doesn’t have to be identical to you. It’s okay if he prefers cats to dogs, or hates watching ‘Scandal’. You have to be confident in the knowledge that he really does like you and admit that actually, you may have different interests/opinions/likes to him, but that’s okay. The right guy won’t need, or want, you to change yourself. He won’t judge you for your quirks, he’ll love them.
That isn’t to say that a successful relationship means being stubborn and resolutely unchanging. One thing I’ve learnt from my current relationship is that compromise, not change, is crucial. I won’t change the fact that I am incredibly indecisive, but I can meet him halfway and just make the small decisions. I’ll always love cats, but I can be happy with a puppy if that’s what he’s comfortable with.
The difficult part is working out which things are reasonable compromises, and which things are changes you just can’t make. I think it all comes down to what you believe makes you who you are, and which things are worth changing up. You never need to change your interests or your beliefs, but if it makes your significant other happy when you TRY to take an interest in what he’s in to, why not? If a compromise is going to make you and your boyfriend happier, that can only be a good thing. The key is knowing who you are, and making compromises that don’t veer too far away from that center point.
What would you change for a guy? Leave a comment below!