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A guy I'm dating appears to purposefully mimic me. What's normal in dating?


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Disclaimer: I'm not intending on ending things with him over this, I'm just genuinely curious if what I'm about to describe is 'normal' when dating/in a relationship. We're not officially in a relationship just yet.

 

I'm (24F) seeing a wonderful guy (29M) who I admittedly share quite a lot of interests with. In a lot of ways, from a superficial point of view, we're very similar. We have similar facial features, hair colouring, eyes, skin etcetera. We also went to school near each other, ended up studying somewhat similar degrees and have other similarities in common such as our love for travelling/living overseas, our love for the outdoors, music taste, humour, similar calm demeanour (he told me when he met me he knew I was going to be a patient individual) and our closeness with our family. However, even though I feel like we both genuinely have similar passions and interests, I'm a bit concerned it's purposely homogeneous. Or it may be luck. When we met, it did sort of feel like an instant attraction. It started off with complimenting me on a specific pair of shoes and telling me that he should have a pair, although I think this was just to flatter me. I then somehow started to really notice it, in a very romantic way, I almost felt he was analyzing me, from the awkward eyes open whilst we kiss to mirroring behaviour as well. Little things like, if I pull the sheets up in my sleep unintentionally, I would then realise and put them back on him, so he was covered, he then would do the same for me. I once texted him after staying the night apologising for giving him a bad night sleep, he accepted my apology and told me that he has insomnia as well. Fast forwarding, I once asked him again in person if he suffers from insomnia and he then said no? Anyway, I then started to notice it via my social media, and he was starting to follow profiles/pages almost identical to mine or at least the same category. For example, if I follow a bunch of pages on Instagram about surfing, climate change, art or anything he will do the same. I would follow an Instagram of male models, and then he would do the same with girls. It almost felt like we were competitive. Also, I'm aware that he looks at my social media regularly as shortly into dating, he knew what one of my parents did for work without me telling him. I jokingly said to him "Have you been stalking me?" and he laughed. I then noticed our texting 'style' got oddly similar, how we would word things and even to how long we would wait to reply to each other. Once we were talking about politics and what I align with, I know he somewhat likes the opposition party. However, he said: "Maybe you'll make me like the other (my) party."

 

Not to be intrusive, I remember once I just came up with this position that fit our body types and realised it is quite rare. Then a year later, we were doing the horizontal mambo again, and he must have remembered that position (and liked it) as he positioned himself for it. Another example or redundant? Sometimes if I wake up early in the morning for a few days around 5 am and go on WhatsApp, he will then wake up and do the same (show that he is up at 5 am, being all productive) the next few days.

 

With the career that I'm in which I do not wish to name, you learn about dependent personality types. Could it be part of his personality as some are more prone to imitating others? Could it be an element that he's almost slightly threatened by me? He has shown a few examples of that possibility, as I come from a relatively well off family that he every now and then likes to make it known. I often like to live a bit lavishly and on the hedonistic end (which could scare anyone). Some differences, I went to a private school, he didn't. I was telling him that I wanted to travel to South America, which he has done before, but I'm concerned about the safety aspect. He immediately said "You would be fine. No one would mess with you.", another thing a man usually wouldn't say about a woman?

 

How much imitation/sharing interests with someone is normal when dating/in a relationship? Or is this just an innocent way of showing he cares about me and wants to please me?

Edited by dustycloud
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I find imitation to a certain degree flattering. If they try to become interested in your interests as a way to show support and what you care about, they will try to learn about it too.

 

I think to a certain degree all couples do this.

 

As for what your boyfriend is doing, I find it creepy. It is going overboard and it sounds more like you two are robots and trying to purposely be the male and female form of each other.

Him, more so than you, but it's still occuring.

 

I am also getting the vibe that it's somewhat obsessive and it would sincerely concern me. It's more natural for each person in a relationship to have their own interests and likes.

 

Maybe both of you are spending too much time together. But it probably would be much more healthier for both of you to pursue other interests outside of this relationship that have nothing to do with one another.

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How long have you been dating? It sounds like you are analyzing things a great deal. Are you happy with the situation? It seems you want to be "imitated"? Do you feel you're slumming it? You seem to describe him as lower or less than you and that he somehow needs to "look up" to you. Is that how you feel?

We're not officially in a relationship just yet.

 

Then a year later, we were doing the horizontal mambo again, and he must have remembered that position.

Could it be an element that he's almost slightly threatened by me?

Edited by Wiseman2
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On and off for over a year, we’ve had a few ‘breaks’ as we both went and lived overseas. No, I don’t remotely think lower of him or that he needs to look up to me, in fact, I look up to him and respect how passions he has in life and how he treats others. I just feel those details are important as it may be an indicator of agreeing to everything if he does feel that way. He is the one who has made those comments known.

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How long have you been dating? It sounds like you are analyzing things a great deal. Are you happy with the situation? It seems you want to be "imitated"? Do you feel you're slumming it? You seem to describe him as lower or less than you and that he somehow needs to "look up" to you. Is that how you feel?

 

On and off for over a year, we’ve had a few ‘breaks’ as we both went and lived overseas. No, I don’t remotely think lower of him or that he needs to look up to me, in fact, I look up to him and respect how passions he has in life and how he treats others. I just feel those details are important as it may be an indicator of agreeing to everything if he does feel that way. He is the one who has made those comments known.

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Maybe you're imitating him? What's wrong with being agreeable or amiable? Particularly if there is no need to get along past casual dating? Do you think he's wimpy if he's not edgy enough? Why are you analyzing this to this extent? If you get along well enough what's wrong with the comfortable casual thing you're doing?

I look up to him and respect how passions he has in life and how he treats others.
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Hmmmm....well to be honest I find your post a bit odd. Because for one thing it actually sounds from everything you described that right off the bat you were TOO similar. You have literally all the same hobbies and interests and even basically the same personality and lifestyles. I mean to be honest you can't really blame someone for supposedly copying you if you're dating someone so similar that it's almost like dating yourself. Some of the things he might be doing that seem like copying might actually be that he is really into all those things.

 

Often when I see things on social media like pages and events that my friends follow, if I'm into them, I'll follow them as well. However I'm not into everything my friends like. If this guy is genuinely into all the same hobbies and interests, it may be that he does the same things because he's truly into them, not just to copy you. Like maybe he's getting these ideas from you but he does the same because he's really similar to you.

 

Also sometimes it may seem like people are copying us but it's more that they're getting ideas from us. E.g. I had a bad day and I sent myself a gift box with chocolates, flowers and hand cream. I told my best friend and she liked the idea so she also got herself a box of flowers. She wasn't trying to be a deliberate copycat but she just thought it sounded nice to get yourself flowers after she heard it from me.

 

Also you actually seem preoccupied with your boyfriend's social media yourself. Are you actually tracking what he follows on social media and what time he gets out of bed and things like that?

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How much imitation/sharing interests with someone is normal when dating/in a relationship?

 

What you've described would weird me out, too. I actually had something similar happen with a boyfriend. We'd started out as friends for a couple of years, then began dating.

 

But the dating didn't last because I felt like he was mimicking me at every turn!

 

This was 20 years ago, and there wasn't facebook or instagram to track behavior. It just seemed like he adjusted all of his behavior to be (what he felt to be) more in line with mine.

 

I think he did it to ingratiate himself with me, but I found it infuriating and broke up with him.

 

We remained friends for a few years after that. I really did like him and admire him. But that whole mimicry thing was intolerable and I wouldn't date him again.

 

Eventually, he found some reason to be angry at me and effectively ended our friendship by not talking to me anymore. Oh well.

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What you've described would weird me out, too. I actually had something similar happen with a boyfriend. We'd started out as friends for a couple of years, then began dating.

 

But the dating didn't last because I felt like he was mimicking me at every turn!

 

 

I'll bet you told him you wanted to break up, and he said "Wow! I was just going to suggest that!"

 

:stung:

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What you've described would weird me out, too. I actually had something similar happen with a boyfriend. We'd started out as friends for a couple of years, then began dating.

 

But the dating didn't last because I felt like he was mimicking me at every turn!

 

This was 20 years ago, and there wasn't facebook or instagram to track behavior. It just seemed like he adjusted all of his behavior to be (what he felt to be) more in line with mine.

 

I think he did it to ingratiate himself with me, but I found it infuriating and broke up with him.

 

We remained friends for a few years after that. I really did like him and admire him. But that whole mimicry thing was intolerable and I wouldn't date him again.

 

Eventually, he found some reason to be angry at me and effectively ended our friendship by not talking to me anymore. Oh well.

 

Thanks, Jibralta! Sorry to hear about your situation too. It sounds that it was very obvious to you that this man was copying your every move. Since there were no social media, I'm curious to know he would do? If you don't mind me asking. Many thanks!

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No it's not normal to mimic to the extremes that you are describing.

 

Best case scenario is that you are dating someone who is truly so similar to you that you are like a mirror image of each other, but after awhile it gets boring and dull. No new ideas, no learning. It really doesn't work. A balance of some similarities and some differences is actually important and provides interest and literally some spice. Without it, the relationship becomes dull and boring and eventually suffocates from that.

 

Next possibility is that the guy is super insecure and has read too many books and watched too many videos on how to ingratiate, aka manipulate, himself into relationships. You can browse around yourself and you'll see that overwhelming advice is to mirror and mimic the other person because people supposedly love that. It creates that emotional illusion like you've known each other forever, instant soulmates. I will say that not everyone is susceptible to this, many people are intuitively turned off and creeped out by that because it is fake. You are dealing with a person who is putting on a mask and you have no idea who they really are and what they really think behind that ingratiating mask. It's not a comfortable feeling as you never know when that kind of a personality will build up resentment and explode on you seemingly out of the blue.

 

Finally, the most dangerous possibility is that pathological individuals tend to act like this. They analyze you, figure out what pleases you, mirror and mimic your behavior to get you to fall in love with them, to use you, etc. It will never be obvious to you what they are doing until you find yourself neck deep in a bad situation. A lot of abusive relationships start out like this - everything so rosy, once you are in deep emotionally, they show you their real face, but by then, you are so desperate to get back to the good times....you keep staying and trying and trying.... Pathological individuals can maintain a convincing facade for years if need be. Do keep that in mind.

 

Where does he fit? Couldn't tell you. Something, some gut instinct is ringing alarm bells for you, or else you wouldn't be posting here. When it comes to dating, always listen to your gut. If something seems off, trust yourself and walk away. Do not try to rationalize things away. Sometimes, what seems off can be very difficult to describe in words. It's like looking into a two way mirror. If you look one way, it all seems innocent, another and not so much. Bottom line is that you are the one who is seeing and picking up on those extra things - body language, subtle things that you can't put into words. Those things trigger alarms for a reason.

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Yes I would be weirded out by this... when I first started dating my BF we had so much in common that it scared me... I didn't know if he was trying to please me or if he was being authentic... then we had our first disagreement... turns out he is his own person, has his own interests, and has good boundaries, we just happen to have a lot in common in terms of our beliefs, values, interests and communication styles. I sure breathed a sigh of relief when I found that out let me tell you!

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Thanks, Jibralta! Sorry to hear about your situation too. It sounds that it was very obvious to you that this man was copying your every move. Since there were no social media, I'm curious to know he would do? If you don't mind me asking. Many thanks!

 

It just felt like he was shadowing me. Before we dated, when we were just friends, we each did our own thing and met somewhere in the middle. After we started dating, his behaviors and reactions suddenly felt tailored to be in sync with mine.

 

Have you ever seen a school of fish swimming around? They all seem to change direction at the same time. That's how it felt with him: when I changed direction, he did too.

 

I felt like I had something attached to me lol.

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With the career that I'm in which I do not wish to name, you learn about dependent personality types. Could it be part of his personality as some are more prone to imitating others? Could it be an element that he's almost slightly threatened by me? He has shown a few examples of that possibility, as I come from a relatively well off family that he every now and then likes to make it known. I often like to live a bit lavishly and on the hedonistic end (which could scare anyone). Some differences, I went to a private school, he didn't. I was telling him that I wanted to travel to South America, which he has done before, but I'm concerned about the safety aspect. He immediately said "You would be fine. No one would mess with you.", another thing a man usually wouldn't say about a woman?

 

I took another look at your post. He seems harmless, OP. If you're feeling his scope/range is a little limited and he's not at your level intellectually or otherwise, don't hurt him or yourself by continuing to associate with each other this closely. You both might be much better as friends. If the sex is good, maybe start looking at things differently and being more honest about the relationship. There's a possibility that you both might be great friends, just not great partners.

 

I didn't find anything untoward about the comment about no one messing with you. That's a compliment. It means you can take care of yourself. You should be proud of that. I mean - duh, isn't he stating the obvious. I might have said, "Yes, I know. "

 

Another thought: other women who have liked him in the past or with whom he's been in relationships might have liked his social media groups or been associated with them after meeting him. It may be a sign of flattery and maybe you're misunderstanding his form of flattery and affection. If you're not feeling good about it, don't hurt each other more than you have to. We learn concepts, ideas and ways of doing things/what's socially acceptable by our previous associations and experiences. I'm not surprised if he's been flattered this way by someone else in the past and thinks it's a harmless form of acceptance (him accepting you and your influences in his life). Hard to tell with such limited information or a small window into your life together. I guess I'm not very good at thinking of this as something terribly bad with not much damning info, if you know what I mean.

 

I'd give it a bit more time and see whether you both have any differences or different perspectives on different things.

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I had to laugh at how people could possibly copy each other before social media -have you ever seen the movie Single White Female?

I think part of this is you're just not that into him so his seeming copying habit is bothering you more as a result.

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