Today we’re going to peek into something that SO many of us do to sabotage romance, and might not really even realize it - and the way to stop it.
BTW, as you’re reading this, you might have questions. I’d love to answer them for you! You can head over to www.thequietzonecoaching.com/services and get a Perfect Partner Assessment, and I'll be happy to answer them. More on that later.
Anyway, one of the things I used to do when I was attracting relationship losers and psychic vampires was to be a “love chameleon.”
Love chameleons are so afraid of losing their partner, they’ll do just about anything to keep him - and that includes things that they normally wouldn’t do.
We’ll talk about the reasons we do stupid stuff like that in another episode. But today, we’re going to see how being a love chameleon works, and how to stop doing it!
Let’s look at Jenny. She’s an ardent Democrat. She believes in equal rights for all, gun control, and social medicine. Jenny gets introduced to Sam by a mutual friend at a barbeque.
Sam is a Republican. He has a gun collection, belongs to the NRA, and goes to the rifle range several times a year. He thinks the government should stay out of people’s lives. He feels that worker’s rights are hurting business.
Despite the differences in their political beliefs, Jenny thinks Sam is charming. Sam thinks Jenny is hot! They hit it off and start dating. Jenny is so afraid of losing Sam, she really doesn’t care about the differences in their values. She even goes to the gun range with him and learns to shoot a rifle.
After a few months, Jenny starts to resent the fact that Sam doesn’t respect her beliefs. Sam is confused, because he didn’t know that Jenny felt so strongly about gun control. They argue a lot, break up, and feel angry at each other for months afterward.
Then there’s Billy. He’s a doctor, and totally dedicated to his work. He’d really like to date, but it’s tough when you’re working all the time!
He meets Heather at the hospital. She’s a nurse in the post-operative ward. She loves her job, but she also loves her friends and the vibrant social life she enjoys. Billy loves Heather’s vibrant personality. Heather thinks Billy is handsome, intelligent, and OMG, he’s a doctor!
What do you think is going to happen here?
So many times we meet someone that we hit it off with, for whatever reason, and we get entangled with this other person who is great, but just not the right fit for us. It’s easy to let it happen when we feel like we really need a partner, we’re desperate for love, or it’s lonely being at home by yourself.
Part of this problem can be solved by learning to be comfortable in your own skin without a partner. (We’ll be addressing that in another episode.) Today, though, we’re going to talk about our value system.
If I ask you what your values are, what would you answer? Have you ever really stopped to think about what is important to you?
Most people say things like kindness, honesty, reliability, and hard work. There are so many more! If you do a search for “examples of values, you’ll see all kinds of lists online. Have you ever considered values like diversity? Flexibility? Simplicity?
OK, I know, you’re asking why this even matters. What does this have to do with being a love chameleon?
Look at the examples above. Heather might value hard work, too, but not to the point where it’s the center of her life. But to Billy, the hard work of caring for others comes before his social life. Their values are different. Their relationship, unless they’re willing to work super hard at a compromise, is doomed.
The same goes for Sam and Jenny. If Jenny is willing to compromise her values just to keep Sam happy, eventually she’ll start to resent him. She’ll feel trapped in a world she doesn’t want.
It’s not only important to define your value system so you can find a partner that feels about life in a similar way - having a well-defined value system that we adhere to avoids Cognitive Dissonance, allows our kids to follow the good example we’re setting, and helps us know what to do when we don’t know what to do.
Cognitive Dissonance is when there’s a war waging between our conscious and subconscious minds. For example, if you lie to a client for your employer but you think lying is wrong, the result is Cognitive Dissonance. When your behavior doesn’t match your belief system or your values, the war begins - and the collateral damage is stress. Define your values, live by them, and refuse to compromise them - for a partner, an employer, or anyone else. When Jenny compromised her values for Sam (and became a love chameleon), the result was resentment, unhappiness, stress, and eventually pain.
It’s really hard to raise kids in today’s world, isn’t it? There is information available to them that our parents would never have allowed us to see - but social media and ubiquitous internet access lets our kids see so much more! We can be the ultimate example to them by living by our values - and helping them create a value system of their own. That way they’ll have a framework to base their behavior on.
We can use our value system to mold our own behavior, too. Sometimes we have dilemmas about the right course of action. What’s “right” for one person may be wrong for someone else. How can we make sure we’re doing what we think is right? By asking ourselves if the action honors our value system.
If you define your values, live by them, and stop being a desperate love chameleon, you’ll be on the road to finding the perfect partner for you!
If you’d like to learn other ways to find your ideal partner, grab a Perfect Partner Assessment. We’ll identify 3 things that are holding you back, and the #1 thing to do to find the perfect partner for you! It’s my gift to you - click here to schedule yours:
Susan Petang is a Certified Life Coach, helping women heal from divorce and find their perfect partner.