Posted in A Moment in My Life

“If Not You”

A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

“‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t,” so the song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” goes. This couldn’t be more true because we can pretend to like something for a while, but ultimately it becomes too much work to keep up the pretense. 

Why do people do it? I’ve wondered most of my life, but I’ve yet to learn why people play the games they do. One day, I’m going to do a study and get to the bottom of this. Until then, I can only imagine why. I know a couple of people who are entirely different when their spouses are present. One friend who was carefree and enjoying lunch with me became agitated and practically jumped out of her seat when her husband surprised her at our table. Her personality shifted from relaxed to formal, and she was apologetic about everything from the place setting to the food she chose. I don’t know their expectations, but I’m surprised she didn’t apologize for hanging out with me.

I never cared for micromanagers at work, let alone in my personal life. Let me know what you want done, then leave me to get it done for you. That’s how I operate. The bosses I remained friends with respected my space. I adore the song “Float On,” where it opens with “Aquarius and my name is Ralph. Now I like a woman who loves her freedom. And I like a woman who can hold her own.” That’s me. Mark and I got along perfectly because he gave me all the freedom I wanted. He was confident and secured with himself and respected me as a person. I firmly believe that is the key to a good relationship—feeling confident about yourself to allow your partner the freedom to be. 

My other friend lies to her husband about her spending. She has her kids and sometimes even told me to tell her husband I bought something for her instead of letting him know she purchased it herself. Interestingly, he was okay with her having things if she didn’t buy them. Wow! How can someone live like that? It’s funny, though. In the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” I saw a similar scenario: Richie Rich Astrid Leong hid all her purchases from her not-so-rich husband in her compassionate attempt to spare his ego. Okay, there I can see an act of kindness but is that the best solution?

In yesterday’s column, I asked whether to bait or not to bait not because I considered using bait or used it, but only because the bait subject came up. I was curious if anybody used baits, and if they did and didn’t mind sharing their stories, I would love hearing their stories, but that was the extent of baiting when I’m concerned. I don’t believe in being someone I’m not, just to get someone to like me. I’m totally for authenticity. It’s too much work and stressful trying to remember lies and which story I told to whom. I can’t imagine marrying someone under a false persona or discovering your spouse isn’t who you thought they were.

I know a couple of widows who sadly discovered after their husbands passed that they weren’t who they thought they were. That was shocking and traumatizing. I don’t know how I would’ve handled it had that been me. I’m sad for them but grateful it wasn’t me. I would not be honoring Mark’s memory had he been a fraud. I guess for these ladies, it’s easier for them to move on from that life knowing the ugly truth. I can’t imagine any relationship based on a lie, especially not in a marriage. 

Ideally, we should be ourselves at all times, but I know that’s not always the case for whatever reason, but home should be the one place we can freely be ourselves. We must be who we are with our significant other without judgment from the get-go for that to happen. I can’t live with someone and play a role. I don’t want to play a role, ever.

In an “Ally McBeal” episode, a man sued his wife, who he believes never loved him. She married him because it was better than being alone. She did love him, but not like he was her one and only, which tried as she did for eleven years, she could not love him with the passion that a husband expects from his wife. 

I think I know why people play the games they do. Everybody wants to be liked. Nobody wants to be rejected. Most of us have some degree of self-esteem or confidence issues that cause us not to like ourselves. Lacking self-acceptance causes us to think others wouldn’t like us either; therefore, we become who we think they want us to be. For many, it’s better to be with an incompatible person rather than alone, even at the cost of giving up their true selves.

There’s much to be said about being yourself. Relationships are delicate. We don’t have to like the same things all the time. It’s nice having common interests, but it’s a lot of fun learning new things, too. We don’t know everything until we’ve experienced it. Part of getting to know new people is trying new things. Who knows, by trying something new, we may discover a talent that we didn’t think we had. 

 I believe people can grow together and complement one another, but we must be authentic to who we are and give the other person a chance to know the real us and for us to know who they are. It may not work out, but at least you were true to yourself. Life is too short to waste pretending to be someone we’re not. Like the song said, “‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.” We should learn from our hearts. It won’t lie. You can’t make it feel what it won’t. Don’t waste time with the wrong person. I am a romantic and believer that there is someone for everyone, and when the timing is right, you will find that person that lights up your life. The person who you can’t get out of your mind and can’t imagine living without. It starts with being true to your authentic self. After all, who would be you, if not you?

Leave a Reply