“SPOKANE, WA—Ten months after altering her interests, appearance, behavior, and opinions to please her boyfriend, Michael Gartner, local woman Gabrielle McMullen is now enjoying a happy, lasting relationship with her long-term partner, the cheerful 27-year-old told reporters Friday. “When I first started dating Michael, things were a little tense and uncomfortable because there were aspects of my personality that didn’t appeal to him, but once I suppressed my thoughts and feelings and completely changed who I am, everything got better,” McMullen said of her formerly flagging romance, which was blissfully revived the instant the quiet and introverted woman began forcing herself to attend loud parties, switched her typically understated dress in favor of more feminine and revealing clothing, and resolved to abandon her passion for activities and issues that held no interest for her boyfriend. “Michael was clearly unhappy because he wanted me to be a different person from who I am, so all I had to do was take note of what he did and didn’t like about me and mold myself into a person who satisfied all his requirements. That really helped resolve a lot of our issues, which is why almost a year later our relationship is better than ever.” Noting that she didn’t want to get her hopes up just yet, McMullen added that if Gartner popped the question, she could definitely see herself being someone else for him for the rest of her life.”
Funny, right? After all, it is from The Onion, a comedy newspaper. And yet, it isn’t really so funny. Why? Well, do you really think Gabrielle McMullen is happy? And if she is now, do you really think she’ll stay that way?
I think we both laugh and cringe at this type of humor because we know it happens. We know the story isn’t really true. We know that people change themselves for relationships, and we know that even if they say they’re happy with it, they generally discover at some point later that they aren’t happy because they aren’t being their authentic selves. They might feel trapped, as if they have to keep being this fake person they’ve created, even though they hate being this person! This can lead to resentment of those that they feel put them in this position – their partner or spouse, but it can also lead to resentment of those that they feel keep them in this position – like any children they’ve had with the partner or spouse, or even friends/family who seem happy with the situation.
The key here is to be honest with yourself. Being in that relationship might sound good now, and being in a long-term relationship might feel like the most important thing, but if it isn’t really you in that relationship, how will you feel down the road? Being honest with yourself might hurt now, but it can stop a lot more hurt in the future.
So, what do you think? Do you know someone like Gabrielle McMullen? If you or a loved one need help with your relationship or even help finding yourself again after choosing to be someone else, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378. Cindy Fabico or Risa Bos would be happy to work with you in Orlando marriage counseling or Orlando couples counseling. Amy Smith, Summer Katz, Dr. Melissa Rojas, and Kelli Skorman would also be happy to work with you for Orlando individual counseling!
You don’t have to live as someone else. Give us a call to start your journey to find yourself again!