Understanding relationship chameleons

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 00:00 |

During early days of a love liaison, you might feel the need to go to any lengths to please the person you love. But in the long run trying to change may bring resentment and hurt if it is not authentic or natural

Nailantei Norari @artnorari

Love can change our lives in a big way, but should we let it change who we really are?

This is the issue my friends and I found ourselves discussing after a friend in a new relationship drastically changed.

Despite her long time loathing of jazz, she recently claimed that it was the best thing to happen to music.

She had started going to the gym despite always avowing that this was advancing the devil’s work of making humans broke.

This character change could be traced to her budding romance with an avid golf player and gym fanatic.

She had also started avoiding those people who knew her past likes and dislikes and was busy creating a new posse of friends. 

Changing behaviour for a lover could be motivated by several factors. It is easy for someone to lose themselves through small incremental changes aimed at pleasing a lover.

“Everyone yearns to get someone they can blend and complement with. If you come across someone you admire, you may be attracted to them.

But if they do not seem to reciprocate the feelings, you might try to learn what they like and what they want in a mate and try to be that in order to get their attention and garner their love,” Ken Munyua, a psychologist and relationship expert explains.

Low self-esteem 

He explains that not all change is bad. It is important for individuals in relationship to change to accommodate each other and their growing families so long as the change is authentic.

He further explains that the person feeling the need to change in order to get a mate or a friend interested in them might also be struggling with self-esteem issues, as they feel inadequate. 

Allan Lawrence, a psychologist says that people who are uncomfortable with themselves will always try to seek validation from others and lower or raise their standards just to fit in and attract a mate.

These people also evidently lack a clear vision of what they want. “Others may be motivated by selfish gain such as getting financial benefits and social status,” says Allan.

While some may be out for selfish gain, Allan explains that others may be hapless victims of their own emotions.

Some people change and will even lie to their friends about their business dealings when they allow their emotions to override their reasoning.

They may feel so strongly about their newly formed attachments that they convince themselves that their mates are worth the change. He explains the importance of knowing that love is not a feeling, but a commitment reinforced by choices.

It is, therefore, important to be able to remain steadfast to who you are as a person in relationships. But how do you stop changing and playing for the approval of others?

Focus on yourself  

“It is important to work on yourself as an individual, away from your gang and your significant other.

This will ensure that you are not dependent on other people’s compliments or their evaluations of your worth to decide your value as a person,” explains Ken.

You should decide what is important to you and base your worth depending on intrinsic factors rather the measure given to you by either friends, your mate or society. Simply put, value yourself more.

“Let the partner and your social circle come to complement what you already know about yourself, but not to give you worth of self.

Know that you are enough and you do not need to perform for any form of love,” he adds. 

Allan reinforces the need to be comfortable in your own skin and company, so as not to be lured into just any friendship or relationship. 

“Be clear about what you need out of life. Remember that a relationship is not like a rescue centre from yourself.

Do the inner work and set a standard for relationships without apologies. Do not be desperate.

Know that you are not meant for everyone and everyone is not meant for you. You are complete in and of yourself,” he  says in conclusion. 

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