As far back as I can remember, I’ve been willing to change myself for love. I can remember a date, when I was just 15, where I spent the entire time pretending to be into rock music. Pretending, because I fancied the guy so much, and thought that was the way I needed to be to attract him. It was exhausting, and understandably never went beyond that first date (though the guy I went on the date with has remained a good friend!)
Despite the early lesson, I’ve continued doing the same thing for years. Not quite as dramatically, but still bending my expectations. Compromising. Assuming that love came with a price. And yes, at times compromise can be necessary in a relationship. But not a compromise of your self. I’ve also spoken in the past about ‘self-improvement’. And how you should never change yourself just to attract someone else. Yes, improvement and development are good things, but only if they are decisions you have made yourself.
With all that in mind, recently I noticed something really interesting about my relationship with The Rugby Boy. Something which I think is really important in a longterm relationship. He quite literally brings out the best in me. Not in a forced manner. Or by telling me I need to be a certain way. But simply through our similarities. Because we’re inadvertently bringing out the best side in each other.
It’s funny – because on the face of it, we are very different people. And yet one of our similarities, is that whilst both growing up active, we can both be very lazy. We both love sport, but can both be easily charmed by a good film, a pizza and a bar of chocolate. And yet the ‘best’ versions of ourselves – quite separately – are people who run marathons, and triathlons, and do lengthy adventurous hikes and cycle rides. Recently we’ve both been lazier versions of ourselves, for different reasons. However, having realised our similarity we’ve ended up inspiring each other.
Yesterday I went spinning and swimming in the same day. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t have told you the last time I did either of those things. And yet they’re sports I used to love. Yesterday, I did both in the same day. Meanwhile, over in China for work, the Rugby Boy sent me a text to tell me he’d been swimming lengths of the hotel pool. We’re training for a 10k outdoor swim. The kind of thing I would have done long before I met the Rugby Boy. Or rather, the kind of thing my ‘best’ side would have done, before I met the Rugby Boy. The great thing is that the Rugby Boy is bringing out that best side … and I’m doing the same for him. We’re in it together. A longterm partner is more than a boyfriend or girlfriend. They become your best friend. And best friends should bring out the best in you.
Partners don’t ‘complete you’. They’re not your missing half. You’re a whole person when you’re single. And you’re a whole person when you enter a relationship. But the great thing about a good relationship, is that the right person reminds you who you are. They are there to remind you of your strengths when you don’t remember them, and to bring out the best side of you.