Are You Eclipsing Someone? Our Relationship Therapist Unpacks The Dating Move

Modern dating is full of new pitfalls and terminology, and you may have fallen prey to more than a few. Maybe you've been subject to the combination of love bombing and ghosting that is mosting, or perhaps you've had someone flirt relentlessly online with zero interest in ever meeting irl — aka the toxic tuning dating trend. These moves are pretty obviously selfish, but some dating missteps, like the rise of "eclipsing," can occur with the best of intentions. You may even be guilty of eclipsing someone without knowing it.


To learn more about this trend, we spoke exclusively to Jaime Bronstein, licensed relationship therapist and author of "MAN*ifesting: A Step-By-Step Guide to Attracting the Love That's Meant for You." First and foremost, Bronstein clarified what eclipsing really means. "Eclipsing is when someone in a new relationship takes on the interests or hobbies of the person they are dating, even if they neglect what makes them happy," Bronstein explains. "It's when someone starts to mirror their significant other's lifestyle, even if they don't enjoy it, so they can spend more time together." 

For example, maybe you told your adventurous new S/O that you love camping when you actually loathe the outdoors. Just a white lie, right? But while adaptability can be a positive trait, there's a fine line between indulging a partner and completely suppressing your wants and needs in a relationship, which is what can make eclipsing so dangerous.


Is eclipsing always a bad thing?

Eclipsing can certainly occur out of a genuine desire to bond with someone. But in the long term, it can harm the person doing the eclipsing, not to mention impacting the true depth of a couple's connection. "Unfortunately, one can lose their identity if one continues to 'eclipse' for an extended period before disclosing their authentic interests," Jaime Bronstein exclusively warns us. "Overall, eclipsing is negative if one were to continue pretending they like certain activities when, in fact, they don't. A healthy relationship consists of two people who are showing up authentically. The charade can only go on so long before resentment sets in." Here, the best course of action is to always be upfront with your interests.


In other words, eclipsing that goes on for too long will take a toll on any relationship. But is it always a no-no from the get-go? Bronstein suggests that a brief period of eclipsing may not be the end of the world and that it might even help broaden your horizons. The key is moderation, recognizing your boundaries, and advocating for your interests and point of view. "If someone is eclipsing at the beginning of their relationship, pretending to like something they don't, they might end up enjoying it," Bronstein tells us. "Being open-minded is a positive aspect of a relationship; trying new things together is essential, but not at the cost of losing oneself."

Recognizing when eclipsing goes too far

Meeting a partner halfway is one thing, but always putting yourself on the back burner is another. So, how can you tell when you've gone past being considerate and ended up in eclipsing territory? Jaime Bronstein points out some telltale signs, such as lack of personal growth, reliance on your S/O for happiness, and concern that your true self won't be accepted in the relationship. These are all signals that your individuality and well-being are being smothered for the sake of your partner, which isn't fair to either of you. You deserve autonomy, and your partner deserves honesty.


"Eclipsing can be harmful if you cannot explore your personal interests independently," Bronstein exclusively tells Glam. "If your sense of self-worth is purely based on neglecting your needs and personal desires to feel loved by someone loving you on false pretenses, you should look at what is going on as it's not sustainable, and your self-worth and self-respect could be in jeopardy." Here, intentionality reigns supreme, as the beginning of the relationship can set the tone for the rest of it.

How to stop eclipsing your partner

Fortunately, you can pull yourself out of eclipsing behaviors before it's too late, though it may require a little bit of uncomfortable honesty. "Come clean and tell the person you're dating that you don't like certain activities or hobbies that they like. You can support their desire to continue those activities; however, you will no longer be participating," Jaime Bronstein exclusively advises us. "Suggest finding activities that you both like. ... When couples do activities with a genuine shared interest, there are many benefits; for instance, the 'feel good' neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin get fired, leading to a sense of belonging, bonding feeling, increased happiness, and increased sexual desire." In short, finding a middle ground of real shared interests will make your relationship stronger.


However, even if things don't work out, it's better for your well-being to give up eclipsing and work on fostering more genuine connections. To make a lasting change and stop eclipsing for good, start by recognizing and honoring your self-worth. "Tell yourself that you deserve more," says Bronstein. "You deserve to be with someone who is going to love you unconditionally. Remind yourself that if you're meant to be with this person, they will love you for who you are and what you like to do." This extends to your partner actively wanting to know "your opinions and views on topics in life." They will desire to know every part of you.