In my normal life I’m pretty strong-minded. And, even when I meet a man, I’m still sparky and smart and argumentative and funny. But then I date him for a while, decide that I really like him and BAM!, suddenly I’m queen of saps. I start mooning around the place when I know he’s going to call. I find myself saying, “Well, I don’t really mind,” when he asks what film I want to see. I speak in this special sugary voice I’ve never even heard before.
But then he goes away for a week and I buy some CDs and catch up with my friends and tidy my flat and then suddenly, in the middle of emulsioning the kitchen, I have this huge epiphany: I know exactly what I want from life and how I’m going to get it.
Then he comes back and things get a little foggy and before you know it, it’s hello baby-voice.
Is this is for me? Do I have to choose between a single me who I like and respect and a relationship me who makes me want to puke?
Fading fast, Fenchurch
You are a victim of relationship mist which is much like the purple gas that used to drift through the air-vents in Batman except it’s far less detectable and not often triggered by a man in a lime catsuit. The mist occurs when people fall in love, turning brilliant individuals into hideous pleasers in such an insidious manner that they don’t even know they are under its power until their partner goes away, the effects wear off and they wonder why they’ve developed a lisp and started fetching his slippers.
Let’s break this down – You are in love; You are terrified it might end; some craven priomerdeal instinct in fluffy mules pipes up with the theory that the best way to ensure a relationship’s longevity is to make sure you don’t perturb him in any way. So, you smooth your personality, you stop having an opinion, you find yourself saying “Yes, I really think I’m starting to enjoy Prog Rock.” It’s a bit like playing dead, except instead of hoping he won’t maul you, you’re hoping he’ll marry you.
Hilariously such behaviour spells certain death to a relationship since no-one attracted to sparky and smart wants to find themselves dating the girlfriend equivalent of a pet rock.
So. You need to drag your smart single self back into this relationship to have any hope of success. For a quick reality check, you might try bringing a friend to dinner. There’s nothing like the appalled expression on a friend’s face to make clear what a nauseating monstrosity you turn into within three feet of your beau. Alas, this isn’t a permanent solution, unless you live in Utah.
Long term, you must resist the mist. Concentrate every time you see your man. Take long walks between conversations. Notice when you’re saying, “Is it right at these lights?” even though you’ve driven the route a thousand times before. Don’t rest until you can say, “Screw Steven Spielberg,” without the hint of a lisp.
If all that fails, check the air vents.