Saturday, October 28, 2023

Permission to Embrace a New Facet of You — Dr. Jenn’s Den

I have always loved Halloween and the excuse to dress up in a costume.

This photo is from a party earlier this month with the theme of Glam Rock.

This idea of dressing in costume and trying on a new character is related to my work in the intimacy and relationship field in multiple ways. The most obvious is “role-playing,” when individuals in a couple each take on a new personality or characteristics so to enhance their desire, passion, fun, and creativity (e.g., being dominant or submissive, meeting at bar and making up new personas, or playing roles like professor and student).

Despite the potential for feeling silly or awkward, this can be a helpful way to infuse the neurochemicals of “newness” into a long-term relationship.  

But a less obvious way that costumes and giving yourself permission to try on a new persona can be helpful in a relationship, is to use it as a tool to amplify traits you admire in others or wish to accentuate within yourself.

For example, I dressed as Janis Joplin a couple of years ago for a friend’s 50th birthday party. The theme was 60s attire. I fully inhabited that character – drinking a gimlet, feigning a smoke, and pouring myself into the sofa with a super laid-back vibe. I carried on full conversations with strangers embodying this character.

And it felt wonderful. Creative and fun and fascinating. It gave me permission to explore aspects of my personality that don’t usually have a home in my regular life. I felt different – more interesting, more sexy, more open.

This is the power of giving ourselves permission to try on someone new to explore uncharted facets. It’s a journey anchored in creativity, vulnerability, and audacity.

With Halloween around the corner, it’s a fitting moment to introspect on which traits you’d like to weave into your relationship: More dominance? Playfulness? Silliness? Open-heartedness? Submission? Naughtiness? And what costume, character, or role would give you the opportunity to express this?

Venturing into this realm can revitalize your bond, deepen mutual understanding, and elevate your partnership! And frankly, it’s also a lot of fun.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus – Sociologist, Relationship Coach, & Intimacy Speaker

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