Dear Dategirl,I have recently come to the unnerving realization that I am one of those girls who becomes a pushover in relationships. I've always prided myself on my independence, but despite keeping an active social calendar, I tend to wait until I see what my boyfriend's got planned to make any plans of my own. In addition, I'm terrified of speaking up about things that bother me until they start boiling over and often I'm afraid of rejection when asking the boyfriend to do things I like. This can't go on any longer. How do I go about feeling myself again?—Wimpy McWimperson
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Congratulations! I say that because at least you have the self-awareness to know you're becoming a Bendover Betty. Most people don't. I've had so many friends (overwhelmingly female) act the same way and never realize the error of their ways.Because I don't want to crank off my buddies by making their business public, I'll tell you about my experience with being such a broad. Yep, there was once a time when I too waited feverishly by the phone, putting off friends' invitations with a half-hearted "maybe," hoping my man would come up with a better plan. Or, more accurately, a plan that involved seeing me. Like you, I've also feigned enthusiasm for activities I ardently loathed. I even found myself assuring one very cute vegetarian that I too was repulsed by carnivores, and agreeing that I could never kiss someone who ate meat. This as I frantically jammed Tic Tacs into my roast-beef-flavored piehole.I stupidly thought that the way to a man's heart was a moronic grin and a nod of agreement. (I later learned it was all about blow jobs, but we'll save that for another day.) I eventually stopped being such a moron, and I have high hopes that you will too. Let's break it down, shall we?• Presumably, one of the reasons men are attracted to you is because you lead an active, interesting life. When your only interest is him, you become boring. And when you stop doing things you love, you start hating yourself. From there it's a short walk to resenting him, even though he never asked you to stop doing anything! So now you're boring, resentful, and filled with self-loathing. Not a pretty picture.• Though good friends will be patient for the first month or two of a new relationship, they're going to get sick of you if he's your only topic of convo and you continually blow them off to be at his beck and call. Your friends were there before him, and if you don't abuse their kindness, they'll be there if he disappears. Remember that.• Men can do a lot of things, but I've yet to meet one who could read my mind. So if something's bugging you, chances are if you tell him about it you can resolve the problem before it becomes a BFD. For example, the first time I slept with my Large Greek, he warned that he hated it when people pulled on his ears. I had no intention of yanking on his ears, but was glad to have that info in case I ever got the urge.• When you don't tell someone that they're treating you carelessly, you're implying that all is well. Grow a spine and speak your mind.• And now we reach the super-corny, barftastic portion of the column: When you meet the right guy, you'll find that you're happy to be yourself. It's easy. Being with him will make you want to be a better—not a different—person.