Stuck in the Fantasy

Posted on November 24, 2010



There are so many possible ways of getting stuck in relationships. One way some people get stuck is by choosing to spend their emotional and mental energy in a fantasy relationship rather than in a real one.

When I talk about getting Stuck in the Fantasy, I am not talking about people who are obsessed with having romantic relationships with celebrities that they don’t know. That’s actually a delusional disorder that needs to be handled by a psychotherapist.

What I’m talking about is something that happens with a lot of women-and some men as well- when they are terrified of being vulnerable (which is what a real relationship requires).  When people get stuck in a fantasy relationship, they focus on someone who has not shown any romantic interest in them at all and devote all of their time and energy dreaming about a possible relationship.

The following are examples of being stuck in a fantasy relationship:

-There’s a guy in your office who works on the floor above yours. You’ve seen him at corporate meetings and sometimes you see him in the cafeteria. He’s really cute and you’ve noticed that he doesn’t wear a wedding band so you assume that he’s single. You’ve thought about what a date with him would be like and wondered if your children would have his eyes or yours. He doesn’t know your name and except for that one time you smiled at him, you’re not even sure if he knows you’re alive. However, you’ve spent months envisioning what it would be like if he asked you out.

-You both take the same train to work every day. You noticed her months ago and always look for her when you’re standing on the platform. When you do see her, you notice what she’s wearing and how she’s done her hair. You feel a little disappointed on days when she’s not there. You’ve thought about what she must be like, how a conversation would go with her, the things the two of you would do together. But you’ve never once approached her.

-Your ex broke up with you. You’re pretty sure he/she was the best thing that was every going to come your way. You spend your free time remembering all of the good times you’ve had together and can’t really remember any bad ones (although your friends will be quick to provide you with many details about bad times). You fantasize about how wonderful it would be to get back together and although you’re pretty sure he/she has moved on, you still hold some hope in your heart that one day this person will come running back into your arms.

All of the aforementioned examples represent what it’s like when one is stuck in a fantasy relationship. Although it seems pretty silly to spend your time devoting energy to something that will most likely never happen, participating in this kind of behavior has a purpose: Being stuck in a fantasy relationship is actually a defense mechanism.

A part of you knows that you’ll never have a relationship with this other person (I mean, how could you? They don’t even act like you exist) but by investing in the fantasy, you can avoid the difficulties and possible rejection that may come when you pursue a real relationship.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the different steps you can take to help you get Un-Stuck.

Posted in: Feeling Stuck