When you're young and in college, life is all about trying new and spontaneous things. It's about learning what you like and what you don't like. It's staying up late when you have to get up early the next morning, pretending that you truly like the taste of beer even though it's all you can afford, and eating all of the foods that you absolutely know you shouldn't.
And while these experimental things are fun to experience with a lover by your side, it's really all about having these experiences for yourself. Your 20s are all about figuring out who you are, not working on pleasing someone else to gain their approval. It's the time in your life for you to decide who you're about to be for the rest of your life and finding a version of yourself that you won't hate every morning when you look into the mirror.
We all want to feel loved and important and to fit in, but this never means that you should change who you are to accomplish these things, especially in a relationship. The odds are that if you're in a serious relationship in your 20s, there's a pretty good chance that you could someday marry this person. If you can't be your authentic self around them now, how do you expect to live with them for the rest of your life? If they can't love the true you while you're dating, they never will. It's better to leave now than to settle for your whole life pretending to be something that you aren't. Your serious relationships in your 20s are about finding a healthy romance. It's about loving yourself and loving someone else, too.
It's about compromising on your disagreements so that you see eye to eye and can love better. Never sacrificing who you are and the things that are important to you in a desperate attempt to feel love.
Sacrificing is allowing your partner to completely control your life. It's basing your own future solely around what they want. It's dropping all of your own interests to pursue theirs. It's altering your own personality to the point where you become a clone of who they are and what they want you to be.
This is not healthy. This is abuse. This is ruining your own life.
But compromising is allowing yourself to adjust to their lifestyle that, inevitably, will not perfectly align with yours. It's letting them pick the TV channel and not complaining when it's not what you want to be watching. It's them ordering what they want on a pizza and you picking off the toppings that you don't like. It's listening to them ramble on about the things that are important to them and pretending that you're just as interested as they are.
This is healthy. This is being in love and growing together. This is maintaining who you are while supporting the person who you love.
And it's because you love them and because they're rubbing off on you. It's not because you need to change to have them love you.
This is you being who you are, and being loved by someone who loves who you are. This is you never having to change for someone.