Reinventing Yourself vs. Changing for Someone Else

changingyourselfforsomeoneelseOn Friday, one of the all-time great novels, ‘The Great Gatsby’, came to life on the big screen. In the novel, Jay Gatsby (formerly James Gatz) has reinvented himself  as a wealthy socialite and throws lavish parties in an attempt to get his one true love, Daisy Buchannan, to leave her husband.

When it comes to dating, is it ever a good idea to try to change yourself to find or fix a fulfilling, long-term relationship? Gatsby was the ultimate master of reinvention, so did he violate any of the rules?

Check in to see to see if you’re reinventing yourself in a good way to become the best version of yourself or whether you’re trying to “get” someone to love you back, a la Gatsby himself.

Being proactive about finding love.

They say you always find love when you aren’t looking for it, but they never said you couldn’t have a profile on a dating site! Getting yourself out there by attending events, going to parties, signing up online, asking your friends to introduce you to new friends (male or otherwise), and even just having dinner alone at a restaurant bar are all great ways to expand your circle. Taking a new class at a nearby rock climbing gym or attending a conference for fledgling entrepreneurs could lead you to several possible “someones” with whom you share interests.

Getting in shape.

Long-term relationships often lead people down a path of “nesting” (like eating Chinese food in bed in your pajamas all day long). Changing your diet or fitness routine to become healthier is an absolute positive step you can take to ensure you find fulfilling love.

If you’re single, getting in shape is another way to get yourself out there and feel confident. Confidence is key in finding and attracting your perfect partner. As long as you’re motivated by the possibilities that improved health can bring (rather than the fear of not being “enough” the way you are), this shape-shifting is absolutely approved.

Updating the role you take  in your relationship.

If you’re in a long-term relationship, as you both grow your role within the partnership can change over time. A recent example is former pro athlete Gabrielle Reece, who commented about the changes in her marriage to surfer Laird Hamilton. She recently took on a new, more “feminine” role in their relationship and says she’s never felt better.

Changing the role you take in your relationship can be as easy as planning a weekend getaway so your guy doesn’t feel like he’s always in charge of your dates and special time together. Or maybe he wants you to let him organize your next trip and you’re concerned he won’t find the best deal or most romantic hotel. Whatever roles you take, check in with your partner to see if somehow switching it up can help your relationship morph into something even better.

So when is too much change just too much?

You start losing your identity.

If you find yourself going on “boyfriend/fiance hiatus” by spending 24/7 with your man, you’ll most certainly lose some friends (and potentially yourself). In a relationship it’s extremely important to maintain your own life. Don’t drop your passions, hobbies and outside interests to accommodate a partner.

More importantly, if they ask or expect you to, you can be sure it’s probably not the right person for you. Making someone else your universe and forgetting about yourself won’t make them love you any more; in fact, most men appreciate a woman who’s passionate about her own life and does activities she loves even if she’s not with him every second of the day.

Keeping your opinions, thoughts and feelings to yourself.

Whether you’re in a serious relationship, married or just started dating someone, you might be inclined to keep your thoughts to yourself. Often women play the role of the “cool girl,” shutting down because they feel intimidated or feel as if choosing to verbalize their true thoughts will cause their partners to pull away or leave the relationship. While we don’t recommend you express things in an aggressive way, it is important to make sure you don’t forget you’re in a relationship with someone who hopefully respects your feelings, and won’t judge you for expressing your thoughts.

Jay Gatsby certainly did reinvent himself, but he never got the girl. Worst of all, he didn’t even survive to regret it! We can guess he probably didn’t adhere to the above Dating with Dignity guidelines. Jay/Leo, we’re here if you need us!

Learn more about relationship coach  Marni Battista and Dating with Dignity.

If this article gave you the confidence to find your match, try eharmony today!

Join Now