Are You Stuck On Fantasy?

In For the Guys, For the Ladies, Marriage, Relationships by Debra Fileta24 Comments

I recently overheard two women discussing their fantasy boyfriends over coffee. They were chatting about their favorite “celebs”: analyzing their “hotness”, what they love about them, why they would make amazing boyfriends, and how amazing it would be to meet them face to face…or better yet…

A while back on the news, I listened to reporters praise a pubescent teenager for asking his Sports Illustrated supermodel crush (probably his mom’s age…) to come with him to prom. How brave and courageous of him, they said. What an honorable thing to do in stepping out of his comfort zone and taking risks to engage his fantasies, they said.

To top it off, just last week I noticed the room of one of my friends’ teenage children – plastered with posters of dreamy celebrities and attractive musicians staring at her each night as she dozed off to sleep.

It’s amazing how fixated we are on fantasy.  So much so, that it’s almost become the norm.

We live in a society in which I’ve actually heard people claim they have literally fallen “in love” with celebrities, movie stars, porn-stars and supermodels.  But the problem is that they are falling in love…from a distance.

There is something safe about keeping people at a distance.  There is something appealing about the unknown that makes it attractive; something about the invisible that is seductive. Whether it’s the supermodel on the cover of a magazine, or that guy at work that you’ve never actually talked to.

Somehow, keeping people at a distance makes us want them even more. 

Because keeping people at a distance is never messy. Loving them from far away, is never hard.  It isn’t mixed with the reality of pain, vulnerability and selflessness; nor does it know the sacrifices of forgiveness, and grace. But to really love, as C.S. Lewis says, is to be vulnerable.

So many men and women today are falling in love with a dream; falling in love with someone or something that doesn’t really exist, by taking the character of someone they don’t really know and adding the story that they find themselves living in the world of fantasy.

Falling in love with a dream, falling in love with an idea, but ultimately- falling in love with a lie.

And this isn’t just about crushing on Hollywood celebs, because fantasy can permeate so many other parts of our life. The bottom line is this…

Fantasy is living in what could be, rather than living in the reality of what actually is (Tweet it!).

From pornography, to affairs, to toxic relationships.  The list could go on and on, but in each of these you will find men and women, imprisoned within the confines of a dream.  Stuck in a life they make up with people who don’t actually exist. We’ve succumbed to a life fueled by fantasy rather than by reality.

The married man who glances at the beautiful office secretary, mentally engaging in a relationship with her- forgetting her flaws, neglecting her deficits.

The single woman, analyzing and obsessing over a man she’s hardly talked to. Imagining what life could be if, and when…only to have her heart broken by his lack of interest. 

The housewife, trapped in the fantasy and excitement of her romance novels, leaving her own reality behind instead of dealing with it. 

The young woman stuck in an abusive marriage, making excuses and living for the dream of who he could be rather than acknowledging who he actually is and taking steps toward safety. 

The lonely young man, spending hours every evening trapped by the pornographic images on his computer screen, growing numb to the beauty of the real woman…and of real life. 

There is something provocative about living in a dream, but there is something even more paralyzing about it. 

When we live in a dream, we lose sight of what’s real. We exchange our realities for something that can never actually exist.  We live for what could be, and end up missing what really is.  And in the end we are led into disappointment, disillusionment, and destruction.

We set ourselves up for failure by seeking to find this thing that doesn’t actually exist, setting expectations that cannot be met by ourselves, much less anyone else.

When we live in a dream, we stop really living.

Though they might not be as easy as Hollywood romance, real life and real relationships are well worth the investment.  With the help of God’s grace, forgiveness, and selflessness they can flourish into far greater than a simple dream, because they can become your glorious reality.

Close your eyes to the temptation of fantasy, and instead, open your eyes to the reality of life here and now.  And if reality isn’t what you’d hoped for it to be, than make a chance. Challenge yourself to learn and to grow; to forgive and mature. Deal with things in your past, face the things in your present, and become the person you want to be. Don’t live a passive life, but instead create a reality that you can be proud of.

Because only then are you able to truly live. 

True Love Dates, is the book that world-renown #1 New York Times best-selling authors and relationship experts Drs. Les & Leslie Parrot have claimed to be exactly what “your love life needs”. Learn more, or pick up a copy for yourself by clicking the image below. 

Because healthy relationships are not “found” — they’re made. 

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Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!

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24 Comments on "Are You Stuck On Fantasy?"

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Alvin
Guest

Powerful. Made my day. Wake up and stop dreaming! Take action and start living!

Marissa
Guest
Thank for this excellent article! I read a suggestion somewhere that I thought was good for helping transition from being fixated on a crush to looking for someone who you’d like to be in a real relationship with: Make a list of qualities that attract you to that fantasy person, and then start looking for those in a relationship. Then instead of saying, “I have a crush on Tom Hiddleston,” for example, you can say, “I like men who are well-read, optimistic, and romantic.” As for fantasy permeating other parts of our lives, I love this quote by C.S. Lewis:… Read more »
Carrie
Guest
Debra! I’ve been following the blog for a few months now, but have never felt compelled to comment…until I read this–such an important lesson to learn! I think we can also get caught up in the fantasy of what we believe others’ lives must be like: how perfect the newlywed couple must be, how much happier I’ll be when I achieve a particular goal, etc. My ex-boyfriend and I had been discussing marriage for months before he finally admitted he didn’t love me. The break-up was messy and awful, but we both acknowledged that we’d been wanting the relationship to… Read more »
Kasish
Guest

God bless u debra its so great article, i wish i could learn face too face from u, ( but am not dreaming ) hahha

Freddie
Guest

I think it’s important to distinguish between totally “living” in a fantasy world (clearly not healthy) and “average” fantasizing, which I find natural and inspiring. Also, no one would deny that real relationships are worth the investment when you get there, but there’s no guarantee that you will end up with good relationships, romantic or other, no matter how much you try to grow and mature.

J
Guest

Thank you for addressing this important issue. This is exactly what I am battling right now – my mind. I have finally woken up to how unhealthy my fantasy world is (not celebrities, but fixating on guys I hardly know and creating a person in my mind that doesn’t actually exist). I know disappointment and the paralysis of living in a dream. I am so ready to face reality and the messy. Oh man, do I have questions for you, Debra!

Sasha
Guest

I love this. I’ve struggled with the same exact thing, and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. God bless!

ML
Guest

Thank you for stepping out in faith and stating the truth! I really needed to hear this!

Belén
Guest

Wow. It’s comforting to know we are not alone in this. I’m dating a guy from church who has a great heart, loves God, is good looking and really cherishes me but often times I found myself doubting and battling with fear because reality scares. We prefer the fantasy than the actual mess and beauty of a real relationship. But it’s time to face the fear and give God and love a chance. Thanks for sharing this Debra!

Anon
Guest
I lived in a fantasy world much of the time for the same reasons most do: it’s more interesting than real life. On the plus side, I believe this lifelong obsession with fantasy has made me a good writer. My fantasies have often driven my attempts to make them real for myself, by learning new skills or by taking career risks. I do, to be honest, reject the notion I cannot make my life exactly how I wish it to be as I believe in my own competence and my will, which I do feel will take me far in… Read more »
Aeon Jiminy
Guest

I tend to bounce back and forth between fantasy and real life. My fantasy life usually wins.

Kayla
Guest

So what’s the practical side of this? How do you move past the paralyzing fear of reality when you’re interested in someone?

Tsalo
Guest

@ Kayla,

Ask them out for coffee, if they come, tell them you would like to be friends and take it from there. If they reject your invitation to coffee then you know at least you have tried and have done your part. That way you will be able to move on without the “what if’s or I could have, should have or would have”.

Best wishes.

Sean Judah
Guest

Thank you so much, I really needed that this morning! Peace!

Anonymous
Guest
This is why I had suicidal thoughts for awhile. Because I know I’m not going to get any lasting fulfillment in this life, so I didn’t want to live it anymore. I’m not suicidal anymore but I still get depressed. As someone with high-functioning autism, I’ve always been really shy and socially awkward. I was never asked out in middle school or high school. I’m now in my early twenties and still haven’t been on one date. I have a job and a loving family and I’m a Christian, but I don’t want to hope because I hate being disappointed.… Read more »
Shenzi
Guest

Wow!!! Thank You Debra. That woke me up.

Michael
Guest

A very relevant message to my current situation. Thanks Debra.

Sasha
Guest

Thank you so much for posting this. Before I really surrendered my life to Christ, I struggled with living in a fantasy and convinced myself I was “in love” with a guy I didn’t even know personally. I fell for a perfected version of this guy that didn’t really exist to try to find fulfillment. Hopefully, this article shows people that living in a dream only brings emptiness, and only God can fill that void. I always felt that no one could relate to my story, but this post proves otherwise. Thank you.

Eva1
Guest

Thankyou for this article. It is very relevent to my situation. I am ‘in love’ with a man who doesn’t even know I exist. Completely silly of me as I know it can never be. I just feel so alone. I have been single for a long time. Now in my 40’s. I also suffer from depression.

Carl
Guest
This is relevant to me also. Over the past 4-5 years I have obsessed over a video on youtube. It’s footage from a nightclub in a city I hardly knew anything about. The initial reason I even watched it was because it was of a specific music scene. I am not exaggerating in stating that I have watched the video footage over 300 times within this 4-5 year period. I feel like I know every second of it. In the video there is a young woman who after watching it, couldn’t stop thinking about. Before long, after 20 or so… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Hey Carl, It takes a lot of courage to be so honest. I commend you for sharing your struggles. I went to counseling also for depression and anxiety. I went to a Christian counselor and he helped me a ton! Counseling is great but none of it would’ve completely healed me as Christ has healed me. Deliverance can be quick and miraculous or it can be a tough process. Mine was a tough process that lasted for about a year. But I kept going to Christ and choosing to believe in His promises. After a year, of working through the… Read more »
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