Dear Dr. Darcy: 

I just ended things with the second guy I’ve dated since the pandemic. 

I feel like every guy I date wants to change me in some way. They want to improve my negative outlook (hello we’re living in a pandemic) or they want me to be more upbeat and energetic because they don’t feel like I’m happy to see them when we hang out.

I don’t get it. I’ve been following you for a few years and I’ve heard you say that you can’t change your partner. 

I’m an introvert and I don’t naturally come off as a cheerleader. Is it reasonable for me to just want to find someone who lets me be myself and loves me for me?

 

Love you for who you are? Like, the version of you that you are when you’re alone?  No, that’s not reasonable.  

What is reasonable is to find someone who will love you for being the best version of you – which is going to require you to grow over time.

That said, I see why you’re confused based on my first rule of dating:  Don’t date partners with potential because it means you’ll only be happy if they change. 

That rule applies to YOU. You don’t get to try to change your partner. 

I’m holding you to a double-standard. I’m challenging you to hold two opposing thoughts in your head at the same time. It’s called dialectical thinking where two seemingly contradictory ideas can both be true. 

Mama, no one wants to see you in your natural habitat. Not early on in a relationship (for fucking sure) and not after 20 years. Never. 

Being loved for being us is a fairy tale. 

It would mean our partners wouldn’t expect us to:

  • Employ self-control when we upset them.
  • Inconvenience ourselves to meet their needs. 
  • Compromise to be in relationship with them. 

Relationships are the greatest growth opportunities for us humans because our partners see versions of us that we manage to keep hidden from the rest of the world. And then they bring it to our attention. When it’s done right it feels like a request. Done sloppy it lands as criticism. 

Part of growing as a person is accepting your partner for who he is and challenging yourself to smile when you’re not feeling it because it makes him feel welcome. 

I want you to learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time. To lean away from binary ways of thinking and lean into seeing the grey in life. That grey stuff is the messiness where successful human relationships live and thrive.

 

Writers Demographics: Female, Straight