Making This One Crucial Change Totally Improved My Dating Life

I’m sure we’ve all pretended to be something that we’re not to impress a romantic interest at some point or another. However, I used to take it to a whole other level with my transformations to the point where I became a total relationship shapeshifter. Thankfully, I finally came to my senses and just started being myself—and dating has been so much better ever since.

  1. It started with a long-term inferiority complex. Ever since adolescence, I’ve had an underlying fear of inadequacy. While I’ve been able to silence it for the most part at this point, it was especially bad with dating for a while. I was always so worried that being myself wasn’t going to be enough for the person that I cared about, so I always tried to mold myself into who I thought they wanted me to be.
  2. It was usually all in my head. It almost always ended up backfiring. I’d begin to change my interests, my opinions, and everything that made me unique in order to recreate myself into whoever or whatever I thought this guy wanted. I’d change the way I dressed, spoke, and acted in order to keep him interested in me. The crazy part was that none of these guys explicitly told me that they wanted me to change. Some of them might’ve dropped subtle hints, but for the most part, it was nothing but my raging insecurities screaming at me that I wasn’t good enough.
  3. I started to forget who I wasIt got so bad that I started to actually lose sight of who I really was and what I wanted. It felt like I was constantly playing a different role in every relationship. It was such an exhausting charade to keep up with, and I felt like I had to constantly be “on.” It even got to the point where it was difficult to distinguish the things about me that were true versus the things I was forcing myself to act like. That was a serious low point for me.
  4. I finally realized that no relationship was worth it. I knew that I had to give up the whole game, which ended up being the biggest relief ever, even if it was terrifying. I finally woke up and admitted to myself that if I was in a relationship with someone who made me feel pressured into being someone I’m not, they weren’t the right person for me and I was better off being single.
  5. I adopted a whole new thought process when it comes to dating. I completely flipped my dating style and now I’m always true to myself. I go into every date with a new guy without any reservations or compromises. Yeah, sometimes it sucks, but most of the time it’s amazing. Sometimes he doesn’t like me, but honestly, IDGAF. If he doesn’t like who I am, we’re not meant to be together. It’s as simple as that.
  6. It’s saved so much time. You have no idea how much time I wasted on the wrong partners because I thought it could work if I just tweaked a few details about myself. It’s almost embarrassing to admit it now, but I really thought I could fine tune myself into someone’s dream girl. If only I knew then what I know now, I could’ve been spending all of that precious time on things that were much more worthwhile like loving myself and being a damn queen!
  7. Dates are so much more fun now. Even if the entire date is an epic fail from start to finish, I never walk away from it feeling like I’ve lost anything or like I did anything wrong. I feel good knowing that I was genuine and unapologetically myself—and even if I wasn’t what this guy was looking for, I didn’t compromise myself or what I wanted just to make him happy. Also, because I’m so much more at ease and less concerned with what I think a guy wants and doesn’t want, I can relax during dates and just have a good time. Of course, I still get those little nerves before going out with someone for the first time, but they’re always the good kind.
  8. I’m more in love with myself than I’ve ever been before. Sure, I’ve still got insecurities and hang-ups and there are definitely things about myself that I’d like to change, but because I’ve chosen to just live my life and do what makes me happy, I’ve learned to love and accept myself more than I ever have before. I’m a firm believer that the best way to accept love from another person is if you give it to yourself first. That’s exactly what I’m doing.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.