If you watched Runaway Bride, then you know where I’m going with this. There is a profound moment in the movie when Richard Gere's reporter character tells Julia Roberts' mercurial bride-to-be about a question he asked every one of her previous paramours—how she likes her eggs. The answer? She likes her eggs however the person she's dating likes their eggs.
And, no, it's not about the eggs. But at the same time, it totally is. The eggs are a metaphor for our true identity. Do we know who we are—how we like our eggs? Or are we shape-shifters who morph to fit the expectations of the person whose love we're trying to earn?
We all want to make a connection in the beginning of a budding relationship, but it's never worthwhile to fabricate a connection based on inauthenticity. If your connection with someone is based on falsehoods, the connection itself is a mirage.
Do you know who you are?
Let's do some thought experiments.
Imagine you just started dating someone who likes to watch scary movies. You absolutely can't handle them. Do you agree to try to get through it? Even worse, do you pretend to be excited about it, even though you know you'll be sleeping with all the lights on for a week (if you sleep at all)? This might be a little thing, but if you can't be true to yourself in the small things, do you think it will be easier to stand up for yourself and your feelings when the stakes are high?
Imagine you're waiting for a response on something from your partner and they don't respond quickly (or at all). It might be a small thing, but would you say something about it, or would you just try to deal with it because you don't want to be "needy" or "high-maintenance"?
It's self-abandonment to keep it to yourself—even when it's something as small as a text about what time they're available for dinner. Think about it. If you don't mention this in the beginning, they'll think it's fine—in fact, they won't think about it at all. Meanwhile, the frustration will build and build on your end until you've convinced yourself they must not really care about you at all and you think you have to draw a line in the sand.
Meanwhile your partner has no idea why you're suddenly giving them an ultimatum—"Either show me you care, or I can't do this anymore." You kind of pulled a bait-and-switch on your partner. They didn't know you were upset, and now you're upset they didn't know you were upset even though you never told them.
Do you often find yourself trying to be a different version of yourself when you first meet someone? No, not the best version. The best version of yourself is the person you want to be every day, no matter who's standing beside you. Do you abandon the best version of yourself in favor of an attempt to be the best version of yourself for one particular person?
If so, let's think about why.
Why do we place the needs and importance of others in front of our own? What is preventing you from declaring your truth? Are you afraid that if you claim your identity without shame or apology, your partner may lose interest? Or do you even know who you really are, deep down?
You can't find the best person for you until you know who you are. You can't be in a relationship that fulfills you and inspires the other person until you can live and die by your truth—no matter what anyone else thinks.
If you think you have some work to do on getting to know yourself, do what you would if you wanted to get to know someone else. Date yourself. Explore what makes you happy, what fulfills you—with no expectations or judgment. You know you're really ready for a relationship when the relationship is a bonus in an already plentiful life—not when the relationship is your life.
P.S. Sunny-side up.
Want more insight into your relationship? Find out the things you should always be selfish about in your partnerships and the questions that could keep your marriage from ending.