I slept on the floor of a tent that was pitched on rocks to please my partner

Tracey Folly

And that's why I will never be a chameleon girlfriend again.

Being in a relationship should never mean losing your identity, but it often does.

Too many women act like sheep. They had their own identities once, long ago, now they follow their man like lemmings off a cliff. That was me.

So far, I’ve been a chameleon, a sheep, and a lemming. I am a veritable Noah’s Ark of relationships, but I’ve finally learned that being in love doesn’t have to mean losing my own identity.

I just want to be myself.

Have you ever spent the evening with your in-laws when you would rather have your eyes poked out with flaming red-hot irons? I have.

I learned that if I didn’t want to see my mother-in-law every Sunday, it was perfectly acceptable to let my husband visit her alone. Marriage does not join people at the hip. I can make my own decisions about where I spend the weekend.

My point is that by constantly giving in to the demands, needs, and preferences of my partner, I lost sight of my own needs.

I once dated a man who turned my home into his own personal football paradise. He took over my television, my remote control, and my life during football season. I can only take so many unwanted football games before I break.

I personally don’t enjoy football, but I know how to compromise. I can be flexible. After making sure he was fed and hydrated, I settled down with my laptop and a pair of headphones to watch a movie online.

He scowled and pulled off my headphones. “That’s rude,” he said.

When I tried to read a book quietly on the sofa beside him, he took the book from my hands and set it down firmly on the coffee table. His gaze returned to my television screen.

It’s not about the activity itself. It’s about having the opportunity to do what you want to do while your partner does the same.

Have you ever gone camping when you really wanted to stay at a five-star resort? I have.

No one enters a relationship with the intention and desire to be unhappy. Unfortunately, when unhappiness does creep in and overtakes a relationship, too many women are willing to accept it. That was me, the chameleon-sheep-lemming-girlfriend, sleeping on the floor of a tent that was pitched on rocks.

Giving in to a man’s every whim made me bitter and resentful. Why did I do it? I have no idea, but I do know that it’s never happening again.

Reclaiming my independence and the ability to make my own decisions has made me happier and more satisfied.

If your relationship brings you more tears than happiness, more frustration than joy, or more challenges than solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded, you are not alone. I've been there, too.

I’ve learned that there are as many reasons for unhappiness as there are relationships. No matter what the problems are, they can be overcome.

For me, overcoming problems sometimes means walking away from them. Actions speak louder than words.

I am in control of my own destiny, my own life, and my own happiness. Deciding what I want, and making it happen is the only way. I want to be alone for the foreseeable future. I am tired of being a chameleon girlfriend. I am tired of being a sheep. Don’t even get me started on lemmings.

From now on, I’m just going to be myself.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Boston, MA

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