Shrink Wrap: When can you be yourself in a relationship?

Who wouldn’t want to accept ScarJo for being ScarJo?

Typically celebrities meet and fall in love while they are working on a project or walking down the red carpet, so they are usually at their best. So the question is, if you meet under fairy-tale circumstances, like actress Scarlett Johansson and reported new boyfriend Romain Dauriac did, when can you let your hair down with a romantic partner and just be yourself? You certainly don’t have to be a celebrity to be faced with this dilemma.

Anyone who is beginning to date can get caught up in working hard to be his or her best self — whatever that might mean. You want to be seen in the greatest possible light, which might lead you to always make sure your hair, makeup and clothes are perfect. It might also force you to be superaware of what you are saying and doing at all times, wanting to make a good impression. Not only does that require a whole lot of energy, it might ultimately lead to your holding back from expressing your own needs in an effort to make the other person happy.

What happens, though, if you let your guard down and express your preferences? Does your partner welcome it — or get annoyed and make demands, wondering where the old hypersolicitous person went? If all is well, hopefully you feel accepted and you can continue to open up and be yourself, which will make the relationship grow. If not, and your partner seems uncomfortable with the real you, then talk about the things that are important to you and see if he or she is able and willing to understand them and be responsive. If your partner can’t, and seems to want just that “best” you, then you might be in a dead-end relationship.

The goal is to be able to relax and feel safe so that you can be genuine and not self-conscious. You want to feel free to voice your wishes, not worry about being judged.  After all, who can be red carpet-ready all the time?

— Relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer is creator of “Shrink Wrap” – national commentary on what we can learn from celebrity relationships – and host of “Let’s Talk Sex” at Healthylife.net. Her book, “What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship,” is available nationwide.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


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