Dating and Relationship Advice

Isn't it strange that we sometimes call our romantic partner our "better half"? Even fiercely independent people seem to use this phrase. The idea that two people make a whole is bizarre, but there might be some truth behind the saying. When you date someone new, it’s wonderful to bond over the things you have in common.

It’s human nature to imitate those you frequently spend time with. Science shows that when you hang out with someone for an extended period of time, you start to act like them. No wonder so many couples turn into the same person after spending lots of time together! Researchers refer to it as “the chameleon effect.” We do it unconsciously, as a way to organically improve our interactions with others.

“Eclipsing” describes that chameleon effect being taken to the next level. Daters  consciously adopting the interests of whomever they’re dating and pretend to enjoy them. This dating fad is dangerous because it sets the premise that you’re someone you’re not. In extreme eclipsing situations, your friends might feel like they no longer know you.

Stay true to your identity — you shouldn’t have to fake a persona for someone to be into you. Here’s what you can do to avoid eclipsing, even when you are tempted to emulate a partner's interests.

Don’t lie about skills you don’t have

If someone sounds impressive when they tell you they speak French or have memorized the periodic table, it’s easy to quickly fib and tell them you can do the same. It’s our way of leveling the playing field and maintaining confidence in an interaction. But don’t let it hurt your ego. You have unique attributes that deserve compliments on their own.

Boundaries matter

There's nothing wrong with trying a new activity that your partner loves. But maybe don't consider options that you have, say, a phobia about. Skip the skydiving if you're deathly afraid of heights. Opt out of the 10k if you can barely run a mile. Be honest with your date about what you're uncomfortable with, and they'll appreciate it. You don't want to grit your teeth and power through an activity that you hate. In addition to making you miserable, it will also give off negative energy to whomever you're with.

Don’t blow off your besties

Eclipsing can threaten friendships. When people start to eclipse, they might blow off their friends to try activities that their partner enjoys. Keep an eye out for this and balance your time accordingly. Spending time with friends allows you to still partake in hobbies that your partner might not be down for.