Today I had at least one vivid realization. I have been a relationship chameleon. And, I don’t think that works. What is a relationship chameleon? Well, as far as I know I just made that up. So, since I made it up I guess I get to be the person that defines it. What I mean by relationship chameleon is that I have looked at what I believed another person wanted to see in me and attempted to become that thing. The way that I did this was by looking at the likes and preferences of the other person, and assuming them for myself as if I had had those as my own personal preferences all along. It has always seemed to me that since many people are attracted to a reflection of themselves and they like to have a common bond on as many common threads as possible, being a relationship chameleon is one way to attract someone very effectively but, sadly, inauthentically.
I haven’t always done this but when I have, I have done it very convincingly. I guess some would consider this manipulative and maybe even a little sociopathic. But I genuinely wanted to give the other person a reflection they could and would be attracted to for their own benefit. I wanted them to be comfortable and happy in knowing that they had shared common interests with the person they wanted to be with. The problem is, if those truly weren’t my interests, then I was setting myself up for running out of energy trying to maintain a facade at best. But at worst (and in actuality) I would be living a lie. In either case an unsustainable situation.
There has been one relationship in my life where I have truly not done that, and while we never married, I have never felt more connected or more attracted to a person as I have to this one. The key to that attraction is rooted in authenticity and the knowledge that the person has wanted to be with me in my entirely unedited and un-chameleonized self, and they seem to like me for who I genuinely am. For any chances that I have at a long term relationship, I will have to be the non-chameleon and authentic person that I truly want to be. I am pretty sure I can sustain being the authentic me. But I also know from experience that I cannot sustain the inauthentic me, and trying to do so has always been a recipe for ultimate relational failure.