Getting Out of the Fantasy

Posted on November 30, 2010

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If you read my post on being Stuck in the Fantasy and it rang a few bells, I’d like to offer you some steps you can take to get Un-Stuck.

If you’re stuck fantasizing about an ex:

-Start a “Why I’m Glad this Relationship Didn’t Work Out” folder. Gather all of the mean emails he/she sent you, print them out and put them in this folder. Write down any situations when he/she was awful to you and/or unfair and inconsiderate to you and place these in this folder.

-It also really helps if you have a memory of something terrible that he/she did or said. One of my personal favorites is from an ex who brought me home to meet his family (because he said he wanted to get married) and then told me shortly thereafter : I’ve been thinking about it and actually I feel that I need to sleep with more women before I can commit to marriage. You may want to write down this terrible memory and also place it in your folder.

-Each time you find yourself slipping into the fantasy, get out your folder and remind yourself about how “not great” your past relationship was.

-Actively work to date people with whom you can have a real relationship.

If you’re stuck fantasizing about someone you know you could never really be with (because this person is married, your employee or something else that makes the relationship inappropriate):

-Go cold turkey and stop thinking of him/her. Avoid seeing this person. Avoiding songs that remind you of her, avoid places you are likely to see him. Treat this as you would any addiction and remove yourself from any possible temptation as much as possible.

-Actively work to date people with whom you can have a real relationship.

*Important note here: You may find yourself stuck in a fantasy with someone with whom you have a therapeutic relationship. This happens so often there’s a name for it: Erotic Transference. In this case, you should not avoid your counselor or therapist, but address this issue with him/her, no matter how uncomfortable you feel about the whole thing.  A competent mental health professional will know how to handle this (as it happens often).  If you’re not sure if your counselor knows how to uphold professional boundaries, please refer to this link.

If you’re stuck fantasizing about someone you’re afraid to approach:

-In order to get Un-Stuck, you need to approach this person and attempt to start a conversation with him/her. Get to know them and if you like them, actively work to date them. If you’re finding yourself too petrified to even approach someone you’re interested in , use the tools I’ve provided on this blog to quiet your lizard and take that leap of courage.

-If, after a couple of weeks, nothing comes from your efforts, let it go. Actively work to date people with whom you can have a real relationship.

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