It’s easy to let a person make a version of you in their head, when you don’t know really know who you are. You may as well take what they offer, especially if they seem to like it so much.
In a romantic relationship, this can have downstream disastrous consequences IF the subject of the fantasy decides they don’t want to live it anymore.
(Of course there are some that just never pipe up. And stay the fictional character until they die or their partner dies.)
It’s all done really innocently and gradually. At first you don’t notice it happening, or maybe you are even complicit just enjoying the roll into a character that seems to suit. “Yes I am that person; with amazing values and a good Christian soul.”
All I can come up with (to make sure that I don’t do it again) is to say people shouldn’t make sense.
I know that inside of me, I oscillate all over the place, sometimes I like one thing; sometimes I’m annoyed about it. I don’t make sense to me, so I suspect other people don’t make sense on the inside of themselves.
People being authentic should be horribly confusing and changeable. It might help to give them different names. They might overlap.
If you think about it, we let our kids not make sense because somehow we know intuitively that they don’t know who they are and need time to get it straight. No one would bat an eyelid at a teenager with black hair one day, and pink the next. Or fads and fashions that come and go – we would just allow it. They aren’t supposed to make sense.
Maybe we think there’s a point at which there has to be one story, but there isn’t. Ever.
The thing I will tell my kids is that no one will accept you for who you are, or how erratic what ever you is, until you accept yourself. Once you accept your own inconsistencies it’s slightly easier to shrug is if someone else cannot.
It’s never that straightforward though. Not until you are Buddha or something, and then you won’t give a shit anyway.