When I first started dating, many moons ago, I used to try and change myself for each guy I went out with. I pretended to like heavy metal for a headbanger when I was a teenager. I spent over a year with a guy who enjoyed rock climbing and I went climbing with him way more often than I wanted to. I even spent many nights watching Ace Ventura’s dumb ass on one boyfriend’s couch, and told him it was fine. Blech. I look back on that young woman and I wish I hadn’t made all those mistakes. But our mistakes make us who we are, right?
These days I don’t let guys’ interests determine what I do. Instead, I let his interests determine if I want to do him. I spend my time doing what I want, and I only meet guys who do what I enjoy, instead of those who want me to do what they like. Don’t get me wrong. I will go to a play I haven’t seen, and try out a new game. But if I know I don’t enjoy an activity, then it’s going to be something he does without me or something he doesn’t do. I have found my self-worth, and it has decreed that I don’t spend time with men doing things I don’t enjoy just to spend time with him.
I live in a rural part of south Texas. It’s hot and humid when it’s snowing in other parts of the country. When the summers get up in the triple digits, you will no longer see me out camping. I don’t want to do it, so I don’t. It might be different if one of my kids had the sudden overwhelming urge to spend days sweating and hiking. But that’s mostly because they spend so much time indoors that I would relish their desire to get out of the house and give up their electronics in favor of time with me and their sibling. But no longer will the possibility of getting laid lead to a boring or painful activity for me.
I will be me all the time. I will not hold punches to make him feel better. I will tell him that I don’t want to spend all day on a boat only to go home smelling like fish so strong that I have to burn the clothes I was wearing and shower fifteen times to get the smell out. I play Dungeons and Dragons at least once a week. I enjoy comic conventions and one of my biggest dreams is going to E3 someday. My boyfriend knows who I am, and if he didn’t like me, then we wouldn’t have lasted this long. My kids like me, my family likes me, and I like me. Now that I’m all grown up, that’s enough for me.
Have you noticed any changes in your attitude toward dating and changing yourself?