Can Dating Someone Change Your Personality? An Expert Weighs In
Sometimes, there's nothing better than slipping into the comfortable stage of a relationship. You're probably spending lots of one-on-one time with this person and maybe even having sleepovers a few nights a week. You've got your favorite shows you watch together, you start referring to yourselves as "we," and when you're not together, you're either texting or Snapchatting. Being in a serious relationship can significantly impact your life, but can dating someone change your personality?
Now that you're a couple, some of your friends or family might be seeing less of you and saying things like, "You've changed!" But just because you're in love, it doesn't mean you're a totally different person, so is that even possible? To help me figure out if dating someone can turn you into a different person, I talked to a relationship expert.
Sari Cooper, a certified sex therapist and Director of the Center for Love and Sex, tells Elite Daily that in general, our personalities "remain stable and may gradually change as we mature." It's not uncommon for people to experience personal growth and learn a lot about themselves in relationships, so any evolution in your personality might just be a completely normal part of adulting.
However, Cooper explains that the social roles we take on have "an effect on our behavior, and over time, that can be integrated into our personality." When you're dating someone, you'll naturally take on certain roles and play to each other's strengths. One of you might be more of an alpha, while the other may have a less dominant personality. In some relationships, these roles can shift on a day-to-day basis, depending on the scenario and your comfort levels in certain situations.
When you're goo-goo ga-ga about your new SO and are spending a good portion of your time with them, you might start picking up on each other's quirks and personality traits. "If you're dating someone who has traits that you admire like impeccable time-management or a disciplined workout schedule, you might be induced to copy these habits into your lifestyle," says Cooper. This is something you and your best friends probably do, too. When you're around someone all the time, you begin to develop a language with them and might end up mimicking each other's habits. This is totally normal and nothing to make a fuss about.
However, sometimes when people are in unhealthy relationships, it can have a more concerning impact on their temperament. Your "personality might negatively change when [you're] dating a person who is controlling, very jealous, or abusive," Cooper explains. For a person who is typically upbeat and extraverted, "their personality may change dramatically to become introverted, frightened of people, or depressed." When it comes to a shift in your personality, it's important to know what might be an impact of an unhealthy relationship versus what is simply a result of becoming super close with someone. Do your friends and family have a genuine concern about your evolving character, or is it possible that they just miss you?
Another scenario in which dating someone might change your personality is when you get more confident about your overall dating game. Whether you've been swiping right and going on a few dates a week or have an official SO for the first time in your life, dating might give your ego a little boost, and that's more than OK! When you get more experience dating, it might "decrease your worries, anxieties, and fears" and give you the confidence you need to keep getting yourself out there, Cooper notes. There's nothing wrong with a little extra strut in your step, especially during peak cuffing season.
In some cases, dating someone can make you want to be the best version of yourself. So, if that means you change a little bit, does that make it a bad thing? According to Cooper, "changing [your] personality to achieve long-held goals might be a positive experience." I don't know about you, but this sounds like a good thing to me. Does your new boo inspire you to reach all your #goals? A shift in your character might be something to celebrate.
Of course, keep in mind that you should never feel any pressure to change who you are or your personality in a relationship or for the sake of your partner. If you do feel uncomfortable about a recent personality shift, consider opening up to your partner about it. Beginning a dialogue about any and all concerns you're having can allow for healthy communication, and finding a way for both your personalities to thrive.
When people get into serious relationships, their habits and hobbies naturally change. When you were single, maybe you went out more on the weekends, but now, you might just want to spend your Friday nights Netflix and chilling with bae. Is that something to be worried about? Nope! As long as you stay true to yourself and don't make a habit of ghosting your friends, embrace the change and see where your relationship takes you.