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Creating Longer-Lasting Relationships with Authenticity

Creating Longer-Lasting Relationships with Authenticity

by Spencer Lee, MSW Intern

If you’re anything like me, you might have a tendency to lose yourself when you enter a new relationship. What do I mean by this? Well, maybe you do things that you wouldn’t normally do, for the sake of enhancing the relationship or connection between you and your partner.

For example, let’s say your new crush loves hockey or volunteering at a library. You don’t really like hockey and libraries have never interested you much, but you have such a big crush on this person that you decide to join them anyway. You enjoy yourself the first time or two and it’s a great way to spend more time with this new person, learning about their likes and hobbies. But after a while, you stop wanting to go to hockey games and the library; that was never something you liked. You started taking on their hobbies and let yours fall by the wayside in the process.

This same way of losing ourselves can happen in terms of our personality and ways of interacting, too. You may not assert your boundaries with this person because the prospect of a close-knit relationship with them seems to outweigh your values at the time. You might agree with them on a topic when, really, your own opinion differs. You may strive to always be funny, happy, or energetic.

It is SO easy to do this! We want to go out of our way to make the special person in our lives feel good. We want to connect and have commonalities. We want to put all of our best qualities on display 24/7. And it makes perfect sense; as humans, one of our biggest desires is to be liked. And even loved.

Now, the problem with committing this act of inauthenticity is that we can’t keep it up forever. And when we start finding our true selves again and expressing that in the relationship, it can lead to a few things:

  1. Our partners may become confused. They don’t understand why we aren’t the same as when they first met us.

  2. We become frustrated with our partners for not being able to read our minds and know that we don’t really like hockey, and we aren’t happy-go-lucky 110% of the time.

  3. It puts us in an awkward situation where we have to explain to our partners that the way we originally acted isn’t exactly how we normally are or want to be.

With all this being said, one of the best things we can do to create satisfying, long-lasting relationships is to assert and maintain our authenticity from the start. This can be really scary because it’s logical to think that our ideal persona is more attractive than our true identity. However, being accepted by and finding connection with someone for who you truly are, is a feeling that can’t be beat.