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Personality changes, growth a reflection of our relationships

Kristin Kittell | Assistant Perspectives Editor

As someone who’s been in a relationship with the same guy for an excessively long amount of time, I’ve found the lines between the person I am now and the person I was before him are usually faded at best.

It would take days of hunting through old notebooks and MySpace fossils to distinguish whether I decided to enjoy acoustic music before or after meeting my guitar-toting boyfriend. Did I enjoy road trips in vintage cars? Was I always so hopelessly naïve in all things concerning romance? Most importantly, will I miss the person I used to be?

So the burning question that was birthed by this string of musings is: Do we, as American youth, allow our relationships to erase our identities, replacing us with love-struck faces we don’t recognize in the mirror years later?

According to senior computer science major Brian Barbour, the road to couple-assimilation is simply a matter of “more planning around each other.”

“We include each other’s interests.”
Barbour, a confirmed un-bachelor for the last year and three months, is well past the stage of awkward formalities and has entered an era of comfort with his significant other. In this comfort, Barbour confesses, he has adopted a few new interests, some of which I can guarantee would not be on the roster for any single man’s typical night out.

“We go shopping more,” he states. “I never listened to country music until now, and I have watched a few more girl movies.”
But from his perspective, no life-altering transformations have occurred, which leads me to wonder if the changes we make to ensure our relationships last are even changes we notice. Eventually, we have to step back and consider whether or not we would maintain our newfound interests should the relationship fall to pieces.

If you’re faking your way through your fifth chick flick this month, squeezing out tears and preparing a post-movie commentary, you’ve probably gone too far. Girls, do not pick out a favorite hockey team and track their scores all season because you caught your boyfriend checking out a game at the bar last weekend.

Adopt only the hobbies you can carrying on post break-up. Take notes from Brooklyn Singleton, a sophomore business major who picked up one thing in particular from her boyfriend of a year and a half.

“I like to go to the gym now, more than I ever did before,” she states. Would she continue should she find herself single? “Yes,” she said. “I would still go to the gym.”

There’s nothing wrong with joining in for a game while your boyfriend engulfs himself in “Call of Duty,” but there’s nothing wrong with kicking back with a book either.

As I approach my three year anniversary, I can absolutely promise I will never again be the arrogant 17 year-old I was when I met him. I suppose I can credit this partially to growing up, but I know without a doubt most of who I am reflects the partner I’ve had.

I’m not afraid to say I don’t want to listen to him play Christmas carols on his banjo. This doesn’t make me a bad girlfriend. He’s free to let me know he doesn’t enjoy cleaning out barns in the Tennessee summer heat, and I don’t have to resolve to discard him. This is why we work. TAS

About Aaliyah Mitchell

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