Are you in love with a real person or a fantasy?
It is easy to fall in love with a fantasy. It is exciting. The relationship often feels like an out of this world experience. It is a perfect relationship. Almost. It feels much better than any other relationship you have had in the past.
Fantasy relationships can happen in any of the following scenarios: You are in a long-distance relationship with someone you see once or twice a month. You have never lived with them, nor have you ever spent more than a few days together.
You text each other a lot, and you also call each other. Even if you don’t get to see them as much as you would want, your long-distance bae keeps you company through constant communication.
You don’t feel alone. You feel loved. You feel seen. And you spend your time remembering the good times and anticipating the next time that you will see them.
The tricky bit about long-distance relationships is the fact that it’s difficult to know what is real, and what is fantasy. You both interact under very controlled conditions. You both present your best selves, for a limited amount of time.
You may not know what this person is like when they are tired, annoyed, irritated or even frustrated.
A fantasy relationship can also form when using online dating sites to find love. When you first start texting and calling each other, in a bid to know each other better, before the meeting, you start to build a mental picture of the person.
Talking and texting each other is an important part of the relationship. However, if you communicate with each other for a long time, and you take too long before meeting, you may be disappointed when you eventually meet.
Why? Because texting and calling are not the same as sitting across from someone and watching their facial expressions. It is not the same as hearing their voice and seeing how they deal with various real-life situations.
It is not the same knowing their personal body scent, or even how they chew their food. Hug and kiss emojis are very different from the real thing.
You can also fall in love with fantasy when you love someone who doesn’t love you back. This person may be your colleague, your friend or even someone you see and never get to interact with.
You form all these ideas about how awesome the person is, but you never really interact with them as a romantic partner. You assume that they would make the perfect bae, without really knowing how they are in real life.
Fantasy relationships give us a sense of control. Hope. Anticipation. Security. But they also keep us from experiencing real intimacy.