Husband and wife having a great time

Some of you might remember the movie Runaway Bride, in which a reporter is writing an article on a woman who has made a habit of getting engaged and then abandoning the man at the altar. While interviewing the would-be grooms, the reporter asked them how their former fiancé preferred her eggs. Each suitor had a different answer, “scrambled, poached, sunny-side up,” but they all ended by saying, “just like me.” This small example illustrates quite well a tendency that we all have—to give up aspects of ourselves in our relationships.

In an effort to connect with someone else [in our imaginations], we often forego our own independence and individuality. We attempt to mould ourselves into what we imagine our partner wants us to be. This pattern can have much deeper consequences than the way we take our eggs. It can leave us with the same inclination to not show our ‘real selves’ and to be defended in our close relationships.

While evolution and change are a natural part of life, a relationship thrives when we are able to hold on to the unique person we were when we first met—not in a defiant way, but in a positive sense. So why do we so readily give up our identity, lose track of the person we once were, and ignore the disappearance of that initial spark in our relationship?

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A version of this was first published in the June 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing

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