Do you "pretend" to enjoy things for the benefit of your SO?

I had a very minor argument on this subject last night.

While I am generally willing to do almost anything he wants to do, I have a hard time feigning enjoyment or enthusiasm for something that I don’t particularly enjoy. He gets a little upset that I am not more excited about doing these things. (We’re not talking about anything dirty here :wink:

I said it’s not fair to get frustrated with me just because I don’t like certain things, especially if I’m still willing to do them. People simply enjoy different things. And although I’m sure it’s better to do stuff with people who are equally enthusiastic, I’m not the kind of person to be fake about it either.

And just to be clear, I do these things willingly and I absolutely do not complain, pout, play the martyr, etc. It’s just that I’m not gushing with anticipation at the thought of doing them and I think that is perhaps too obvious.

Instead of trying to be enthusiastic about the event at hand and failing, try to be enthusiastic about your SO. If there’s anything to be enthusiastic about, it’s that he is about to have/is having a great time. So focus your attention on him and how great his mood is, and you may be able to be more enthusiastic yourself. You’re not going to these events because you like them, you’re going because you like him. So let him be your focus and reason for your mood. That way, you won’t be pretending.

While he shouldn’t expect you to gush and squeal in anticipation over the event if you’re not feeling that, you shouldn’t go unless you can be actively engaged either. Wet blankets are often worse than nobody at all.

Macca26, that’s good advice. Thank you.

And I’ve often told him that I’d rather he go with someone he knows will enjoy it as much as he does, and that seemed to be a total non-starter… hence why I felt like this was an impossible argument!

He sounds a little overly sensitive on this subject.

When I first started dating my then girlfriend, who is now my wife, I made an internal resolution to participate in almost every activity that she suggested, and to not complain about doing so. I suppose that worked fairly well for the first few months, when we were still getting to know each other. After we got engaged, that approach fell apart. I was no good at faking enthusiasm and she often got upset about my obvious lack of enthusiasm. So over time we’ve shifted. She now has a pretty good idea of what I do and don’t enjoy doing and doesn’t ask me to participate in what I don’t enjoy.

I’m not going to pretend something that isn’t the case, but I definitely play along. If I say that I don’t enjoy something, it might be before or after, but during the activity, I’m not going to bring it up again. Since I know she likes certain things, I’ll even initiate to some extent. She’s pretty much the same.

For example, we’re downright funny when it comes to pasta; I like al dente, she likes mush. Our unspoken compromise, apparently, is that whoever is cooking does it the way the other person wants it - I overcook the pasta to her preference and she undercooks it to mine.

Those might be bad examples for the OP’s actual triggering event, but that’s pretty much how we handle anything of this sort. While there’s no pretending going on about what we individually prefer, we both make an effort to do things that the other person prefers. Even if it means occasionally planning an event that’s the exact opposite of what I really want to do, or if it means reminding her when TV shows that I loathe are going to be on.

Sounds like my man. It’s not enough that I’m happy he’s having a good time, or even if I’m attempting to fake having a good time myself. No no, if I’m not liking it he gets irritated.

My boyfriend likes to text me pics of his little nephews goofing off. These are pics that he takes when he’s around them, or pics that his sister sends him, which in turn he forwards me.

The kids are adorable, but I have no attachment to these people, so the pics represent visual noise to me. I don’t even comment on them anymore because saying “that’s cute” gets repetitious after a while.

But I don’t have the heart to tell him stop with the barrage. If the worse thing I can say about him is that he takes pride in his extended family, I can grin and bear this to make him happy.

That’s what I do when I go to watch my SO run a race. It would be about the most useless and boring thing I can imagine doing, but he gets all happy and excited about his time and it’s very sweet.

I try to do that when he talks about running too, but that’s more difficult. Yeah, I suppose sometimes I sort of feign interest in his exercise and running monologues. Oh well. It’s not too bad.

He’d rather go with someone he knows won’t enjoy it, than go with someone he knows will enjoy it? :dubious:

Unless two people are 100% identical, there are activities one person enjoys that their spouse doesn’t. For me, it’s motorcycle touring; for someone else, it’s hunting. Or book club. Or Bon Jovi concerts. or skiing. It is for these sorts of things, in part, that people have friends: you go and do these things with your friends, and you come back and tell your spouse about the great time you had. Meanwhile, your spouse is telling you about the great time he/she had doing X, where X is something you don’t like. This is a system that works well; everyone ends up happy.

I don’t want to drag my wife along on adventures I know she won’t enjoy - and I especially wouldn’t want her to pretend she was enjoying it. Her actualhappiness is more important to me. If she’s not enjoying something, then faking it is not a good solution, at least not in my eyes. Good solutions, to me, include cancelling the activity and doing something else with my wife, doing the activity with a friend instead of my wife, or doing the activity solo.

Just for clarification: is he upset that you’re not enjoying yourself, or is he upset that you’re not pretending to be enjoying yourself?

It’s not that he’d rather go with someone he knows won’t enjoy it, he wants to go with ME and ONLY ME and he wants ME to enjoy it. Which is an illogical thing, and I suppose on some level he gets that, but he still gets irritated.

I think if I convincingly pretended to enjoy myself, he’d be fine; as it stands I probably just look bored. I am legitimately glad he’s having a good time, but it’s just not my thing.

I would love it if my wife enjoyed a number of things that she doesn’t enjoy too. I’d also love it if my car got 150 miles per gallon, but that’s not gonna happen any time soon, either - and getting mad at my car for that would make just about as much sense as getting mad at my wife.

Turnabout’s fair play: ask him what food he hates and then get mad at him for not liking it.

Yes, of course. I mean, I have my limits, but I’ll give it a shot. We used to watch True Blood together, but as the seasons got worse and worse, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I got disinvited from further viewings about halfway through last season! The gall of that woman!

The only time I’ll get frustrated with her about not doing the same is if I’ve recently gone along with A, B, and C that she wanted to do, and then she pouts or complains when I ask if she can do X.

Sometimes you can turn a thing your SO doesn’t like into opportunity, though! For example, you want to buy a guitar but your wife doesn’t really care about them. If you talk and talk and talk about guitars, and show her pictures of different ones, ask her which colors she likes, on and on, eventually she’ll just be like “Go buy a guitar! I’m tired of talking about it!” At least, that’s what I’ve heard…

Not every guy thinks like this.

A couple years ago, I dated someone who was into bowling. He knew that it wasn’t my thing and that I found it boring, because I told him. But he expected me to come to his games. When I didn’t, he would express disappointment. He didn’t seem to care about me being bored out of my mind. I actually think he liked the idea of me sacrificing my time and pleasure for his sake, because from that he could infer devotion.

Marriages do better when you don’t try to be everything for each other. Better to have two people standing side by side with others on the edge to bolster them up than to have only two people learning against each other. One moves and — boom! The other falls down.

Over the years we’ve learned to have friends on the side to fill in for those activities which the other one doesn’t enjoy.

I’ve also tried and found some things I actually enjoy. Husband insisted we get a motorcycle for me to join him riding. I was reluctant and still it’s turned out to be one of my favorite things to do. (More than he does, I think!)

On the other hand, forget about taking him to a ballet. He’ll go. He’ll be “good.” I know he doesn’t enjoy it and so I enjoy it less than if I go with a good friend who does.

Two different people. Takes some decades to work this out for some people who are very different. It’s ok as long as we can find a few strong areas of agreement and we have. One in particular is being married.

People feel “loved” in different ways. It took me a while to figure out that what I would do to show someone I love them is not necessarily interpreted as such, and that they might need something completely different from me. One person might need gestures of service while another might need verbal reassurance or physical contact. This was kind of a lightbulb moment for me, because for a long time I assumed that love is love and it’s the same for everyone.

Very true. It’s tempting to label one person’s style as selfish, but perhaps that’s unfair. That said, it’s probably best to be with someone who is like you in this area. I show love by sparing people from doing things they don’t want to do. Any time someone makes a sacrifice for me, I feel guilty. It would make little sense for me to be with someone who revels in other people’s sacrifices.

I tried in my last relationship, but I don’t think I’d do it again. My ex lived miles away from so much as a store in a town with no public transportation and had no car. I pretty much had to take her to everything. It wasn’t terrible most of the time (and of course there was fun stuff too), but I really learned that there’s nothing more boring than spending 3 hours in Home Depot’s garden section. Especially when the person keeping you there likes the fantasy of having a garden far more than gardening itself so they can’t even keep you entertained by telling you gardening stories or impressing you with their layman-level knowledge of botany.

I was happy that looking at plants made her happy, but after about 10 minutes of intellectually stimulating conversation consisting entirely of “this plant is pretty” and “I hear this plant is easy to take care of” my mind starts to melt. Especially when there’s only about 20 minutes worth of plants to look at so the next 2.5 hours is spent looping back over the same 50 plants.

In this specific case, I’ll admit that it really doesn’t help that I’m a terrible window shopper to begin with. I’ve gone to arts and crafts fairs alone and with family. With family I’ll be bored because we’re there for 8 hours. If I go myself, I can have a really good time and see everything I want to see and do everything I want to do… in an hour and a half. (Even without the shopping, I can blow through an average size zoo in about 2 hours). I could pretend to enjoy some other stuff just fine, just as long it’s not the unholy combination of takes forever to do and happens frequently.

My husband and I have been married nearly 50 years. We early on accepted that while there are lots of things we both like, there are many activities that one or the other doesn’t.

Example: He and some friends wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Me? No way. They had a great time. Sometimes I like to spend a week on the beach doing nothing. He’d be bored silly, wanting activity every day. So I go, he stays home. And so on, down to routine everyday things. I hate to shop. He likes to. On major home purchases, he does the initial investigation and I get to share in the final decision. Win/win.

Nah, my boyfriend and I are pretty laid back about this. I can’t get excited about Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, so he watches those things on his own time. He doesn’t get excited about nail polish or sushi, so I do those things on my own time. I think it works out well. Although you’re in a relationship, it’s OK to be your own person. Everyone has dislikes. I think it’s good to be open and try new things, but it’s also OK to decide you don’t like something. I’ve offered my boyfriend new foods he’s never tried before. Most he dislikes, although he’s learned to like a couple new things. He’s tried to get me into games or tv shows I’ve never seen/tried before, I’ve liked some and not liked others.

We have plenty of shared hobbies and interests otherwise, though–we’re both gamers, we like comedy, we try new restaurants together, etc. I don’t know how people handle these things when they have very little in common.