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 Hooked on Fantasy Relationships & How to Overcome It


By Jim Hall MS, Love Addiction Recovery Specialist

Can "Love" Be Fueled by Fantasy and Lead to Heartbreak? It Can, But Does It Have To? 


Many of us have been there – feeling in love and obsessed and swept away by an enchanted version of someone or a picture-perfect relationship in our heads.


But when fantasy takes over, and we view a love interest through rose-tinted glasses and cling to the mirage of their "potential," -- it can become an all-consuming obsession, red flags disregarded, heartbroken, and trapped in an unhealthy relationship dynamic.



Whether in a fantasy relationship or getting out of one, this article will help you learn the essence of a fantasy relationship, recognize fantasy-driven love, and how to let go and move on to a wholesome reality and shift towards healthier relationships.



Article Summary:

Fantasy Relationship Meaning


Fantasy vs Reality Relationships

Top Signs You're in a Fantasy Relationship



How to Let Go and Move Ahead on a Healthy Path



Meaning of Fantasy Relationship



If you've ever felt like you were in love with the idea of someone, not the real person-- and were much more bonded with your dream of how it could be than with the reality of your situation -- then you were likely in a fantasy relationship.




It's natural to envision the future and have hopes and expectations for how a relationship or a person could evolve.




However, when these expectations overshadow the reality of who the person truly is, it can lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction in the relationship.



In fantasy relationships an individual will enter a romantic relationship and idealize their partner, creating an unrealistic and exaggerated image of who they are.




They fall in love and become obsessed, intensely bound by an illusion, idealized scenarios, or a fairytale of future love with a romantic interest or partner.




Living in a fantasy world with a lover with whom they are so unhappy is recast in their minds into what they are sure they can become, indeed will become, with their help, love, and devotion.





Fantasy lovers see what they want to see, ignore reality, and get heedlessly attached to what they ‘make up’ about their partner in their heads rather than the person they are.




The fantasy sparks a potent emotional attachment to the fantasy-- often leading to becoming addicted to their idealistic version. 



They get 'high' from their illusion, making it easy to ignore or brush aside potential realities (e.g., red flags: addictions, intimacy issues, personality disorder, dubious behaviors/attitudes).




Attached to their fantasy ignites a state of intense infatuation, obsession, and profound yearning that fuels the fantasy relationship.



Emotions can range from ecstasy (more robust in the beginning) to intermittent moments of despair when the fantasy begins to crack.



Fantasy Love Example (brief):


When you find yourself proclaiming love and devotion to someone you've known briefly.


You haven't fallen in love with the person for who they are. Without conscious awareness, you've become attached to the fantasy.


There needed to be more time and experience together to know who the person is well enough. 


Instead, you've objectified (unintentionally) them through who you wanted them to be in your mind, thus forming a fantasy bond.


The fantasy is addictive as it induces euphoria and makes you feel alive.


Once we get attached (fallen in love) to a fantasy of a person in a relationship-- Detaching from it is difficult and painful, and resistance is big.




A fantasy of a romantic partner is substituted for feelings of real love and intimacy.



It provides a sense of aliveness and euphoria and an escape from reality. 

Fantasy Love-- is the dream, an illusion, a fairytale... is the DRUG!



A fantasy relationship is not unlike an addictive relationship that fosters an unstable "love connection" from the start.



Though it is often referred to as love addiction, the more accurate term should be 'fantasy addiction' because it is the fantasy that love addicts become profoundly hooked on.




Love emotions induced by the fantasy




And though they feel it- the fantasy addict doesn't genuinely fall in love with their romantic partner. 




You're in love and obsessed with the feelings of falling in love. The love emotions felt are real. You genuinely experience feelings of passion. 




But often, it is not the reality of the person but the fantasy made up in the mind that triggers the "passionate love" emotions (unconsciously).



In a fantasy love relationship:

  • It's the fantasy, not love, that you become obsessed over.

  • It's the fantasy you crave.


  • It's the fantasy you fixate over.

  • It's the fantasy you believe in.

  • Inevitably, it's the fantasy you grieve and withdraw from.




Having occasional fantasies or daydreams about a partner is normal and can contribute to the richness of a relationship. 



However, it is problematic when fantasy takes precedence over reality as it interferes with finding a partner to meet your needs and experience fulfilling relationships.




Not to mention, it comes with negative consequences- distress and heartache.



Top 10 Signs You're in a Fantasy Relationship


  1. You instantly feel a powerful physical and emotional attraction towards a love interest and are convinced you're both meant for each other.

  2. You feel in your heart and become deeply attached to the "potential" of your love interest rather than the person he or she is being in the here and now.


  3. You see your love interest as a paragon - perfect, infallible, solid, and robust, no matter what questionable, toxic behavior or immoral character traits they display.


  4. Your thoughts on the relationship are all-consuming and impede your well-being and daily functioning. 




  5. You make up stories, meanings, and symbolism from seemingly trivial occurrences, gestures, or statements made by a love interest.




  6. You constantly daydream of a magical future together despite warning signs and after only knowing him/her for weeks or months.

  7. You frequently experience symptoms like anxiety, apprehension, or worry (e.g., you’re nervous about how to say or communicate a vital matter or concern; coming off as "too needy" or "too sensitive"; you're constantly anxious about when they will text or call you).

  8. You feel your role is being the “hero” partner, being the "helper" and always keeping him/her happy while minimizing your needs -- and this will keep them loving and wanting you (on a conscious or subconscious level).

  9. The magnetism you feel is so potent it is difficult to be separate, so you may fall into some stalking behavior and sometimes go to any length to be nearer or closer to them. You try to make sure they don’t notice.

  10. You consciously or subconsciously avoid or limit specific topics or questions with your partner because of an underlying fear that the truth or reality will shatter the fantasy.

  11. When your lover's reality contradicts your fantasy, you feel withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, despair, feelings of abandonment, and obsessions.



The Fuel That Triggers Fantasy of a Love Interest



A love fantasy revolves around idealized perceptions and romanticized beliefs about a partner or relationship.



The fuel that triggers and intensifies these illusive perceptions and beliefs is often certain behaviors or deeds (especially early in the relationship).




Here are some examples of how a love interest can influence to succumbing to fantasy love:



Seduction and Charm: Partners who are adept at seduction and charm can easily draw others into a fantasy world where they feel desired, adored, and special. Their charisma and allure can create an illusion of a perfect partner/relationship, enticing you to give in and invest emotionally.




Promises of Rescue or Protection: People may be drawn to partners who promise to rescue them from loneliness, unhappiness, or difficult circumstances. The idea of being saved or protected by a romantic partner can fuel fantasies of an idealized relationship where all problems are solved.




Flattery and Affirmation: Partners who shower their significant other with compliments, praise, and affirmation can reinforce the fantasy of being deeply loved and valued. Flattering statements can create a sense of validation and fulfillment, leading individuals to idealize the relationship.





Shared Dreams and Goals: When partners mirror shared dreams, goals, and visions for the future, it can enhance the fantasy of a perfect union built on mutual understanding and compatibility. Believing that both partners are aligned in their aspirations can strengthen the illusion of a fairy-tale romance.




Romantic Gestures and Declarations of Love: Grand romantic gestures, extravagant declarations of love, and elaborate displays of affection can intensify the fantasy of being swept off one's feet by a passionate and devoted partner. These actions can reinforce the belief in a fairy-tale romance where love conquers all.



Fantasy: A Coping Mechanism Rooted in Childhood



A common factor for some individuals to fall in love with a fantasy relationship may have roots in childhood.




'Reality' can be grueling for children growing up in dysfunctional families. 




Children may use fantasy to escape from the difficulties or uncertainties of their real-life circumstances. 



If emotional needs for love, security, and acceptance weren't adequately met in childhood, individuals might seek to overcompensate in adult relationships, leading to idealization and fantasy.




When children experience inconsistent or inadequate caregiving or grow up in a physically or emotionally abusive environment, they may adapt to mentally escape realities by creating fantasy scenarios in their minds to feel a sense of sanity.




For example, they may form imaginary scenarios of a future when a prince, princess, or knight in shining armor will rescue them from their misery and loneliness and give them all the unconditional love and care they weren't receiving as a child.




A child may also create an unrealistic, idealized image of a caregiver to cope with neglect or emotional unavailability or fantasize about a loving and attentive parent who doesn't exist.




Using fantasy as an adaptive mechanism or escape from reality is often necessary for children growing up in such families.




The problem is forming a fantasy bond can manifest in later relationships as individuals continue to create idealized versions of their partners in romantic relationships.



The degree of reliance on a fantasy formed in adult relationships may be proportional to the extent of trauma attachment and pain experienced in early developmental years. 




Hooked on the fantasy of a romantic interest- the fantasy love addict gets exhilarated yet dazed by "enchanted love."—which turns into an excessive preoccupation about how the relationship will be and must (or "should") turn out.



Some fantasy addicts may replace one fantasy of a person for another person to cope. This may occur by jumping from one relationship to another.



Other fantasy addicts may develop an emotional fantasy relationship with people they have never met, such as movie stars, celebrities, or individuals they run across in public places like a supermarket. 



They project desires or unmet needs onto them and create an idealized version of the relationship in one's imagination. 



Fantasy vs Reality Relationships



Healthy relationships are relationships built from a foundation of reality. 



Establishing a healthy relationship foundation means two people coming together and not falling for the fairytale myth of “love at first sight.”



Or not falling for the “Prince” or “Princess on a Pedestal” or “Knight and Shining Armor” -- who will sweep you off your feet and rescue you from your burdens in life.



A healthy relationship forms by knowing and observing the reality of one another.

Reality is important because they want to discover whether the other can consistently provide honesty, trust, respect, and open communication. 



They don’t let the initial excitement and infatuation stage (a normal relationship stage) blur their reality.



They realize the rose-colored glass they may see in someone initially isn’t necessarily who they are- so they won’t let this glass lens block their reality.



They take time to get to know each other and stay present in reality to the other.



They eventually want to determine who the other person truly is through an unambiguous translucent glass.



They choose each other wisely and don't allow fantasy to “make up” who they want or expect their partner to be. 



Fantasy relationships are enormously flawed from the start. Their foundation is like the formation of salt and sand with nothing holding the tiny grains together, guaranteed to collapse-- built on a foundation of, you guessed it, fantasy and illusion.



How You Can Get Addicted to the Fantasy of Someone in a Relationship



  • When and how does the fantasy get started in a romantic relationship?

  • What does it look like if you get addicted to the fantasy of a love interest?


  • What happens when the fantasy begins to crumble and the reality of a partner begins to set in?



The fantasy of a partner or love interest is usually triggered in the early stages of a fantasy relationship. 



When first meeting a love interest they are drawn to and physically attracted to, usually a person who is avoidant, emotionally walled-off, or narcissistic-- they will feel fireworks, euphoria, the 'high.'



Their fantasy is the source of the intoxicating emotional "high."




They create an enchanted version of this person that enables them to minimize, excuse, and deny blatant realities (e.g., negative traits, warning signs, red flags). 



They objectify the new love interest through the fantasy they make up about who they are. * not intentional or conscious.




Fantasy love propels a love object high on an imaginary pedestal and they become their higher power.



In the haze of their fantasy, they assure themselves they have found “the one."




One who will always and forever love and merge with them, rescue them from life's burdens, take their perceived brokenness away, and finally make them feel complete.




Expecting anyone to make us complete is by itself a delusion.




Inevitably the pipedream of their chosen one never lives up. 




No matter the reality in front of them, the fantasy lingers.




When their fantasy wanes, it can soon be rejuvenated by sporadic moments when their partner turns towards them, giving a small pittance of affection or attention and igniting exhilaration and ecstasy, if only momentarily.



To further maintain their fantasy relationship, they will convince themselves that their partner's distancing, hurtful, or sabotaging behaviors aren't the "real" him or her (though it is), and soon enough, will change.




They tell themselves everything will improve, and they will finally receive the love and devotion they desperately seek.




Smoking the pipe of illusion, they may spend exorbitant lumps of their waking hours imagining a romance-fueled, quintessential life with their new (or ongoing) partner who will meet all their desired needs.



With the fantasy in command, they remain obsessed and preoccupied with their partner, going all in, relinquishing essential life goals or interests, abandoning their true needs, hopes, or aspirations, and often personal values, and even deserting friendships and/or family relationships, not to mention themselves.



Fantasy, not the reality of a love interest, fuels intense passion and a powerful desire to sustain the connection... despite negative consequences (A Love and Fantasy Addiction)



Not unlike a powerful substance (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy), addicted lovers can experience a penetrating 'high' off their fantasy-- it becomes a potent drug, a drug they rely on to feel worthy and lovable, to escape their reality.




In denial, they fall for their ideal image of a person and get strung out.




Once attached--  they face a substantial challenge to stop their fantasy and accept the reality of who their partner is without encountering detrimental effects-- emotional withdrawal.




Inevitably, a romantic fantasy will crack and eventually crumble... sometimes fast and sometimes little by little.



They eventually discover the person they imagined their romantic partner to be (their fantasy)… is NOT that person at all, but someone who proves continually incapable of meeting their true needs for intimacy and mutual connection.


Robins Story of a Fantasy Relationship:


Robin became addicted to a fantasy about David which started when she met him on a dating site.


Robin was instantly attracted to David when she first laid her eyes on David-- he was equally attracted to Robin. She was mesmerized by the hazel eyes staring intently into her own.


He was charming, attentive, and seemingly very affectionate-- and he constantly lavished praise and admiration on Robin-- which made her feel very special. "He honestly was so sweet and endearing."


David and Robin quickly developed an intense romantic relationship. Robin's fantasy was sparked on the first date but was only starting.


Within three weeks, her fantasy accelerated into high gear.


By week four, Robin consciously came to a solid conclusion in her mind,  


“David is the one.” She declared to her close friend Jenny, “David is perfect. It’s like we’ve known each other forever; we’re best friends and lovers, I've never met someone that's such a perfect fit for me. He’s so amazing! I’m so lucky and blessed to find such a rare man like him."


"I love him so much, and I genuinely know he loves me as much.


I know we are going to be together forever; I feel it.


We're already talking about our future together”. 


Robin was on a high, and she was sure she knew him, had him pegged, he was the man for her... she felt it, right?


Unfortunately, only after a few months, Robin's fantasy began getting a bit shaky, and her high was dissipating.


There was an energy Robin sensed that started changing about David. 


She noticed David's interest and adoration for her started to wane. He didn’t seem eager to get together on the weekends and would make weird excuses.


Over time, he didn't respond to her texts and phone calls like he used to, where he would usually respond within a couple of hours, changed to maybe 24, sometimes 48 hours.


When Robin asks him if anything is happening and if he is feeling different about things, David gets enraged, automatically becomes defensive, and responds, "You're crazy; you're so insecure and sensitive."


Robin became increasingly anxious, and sometimes she felt pure panic and distress. Robin's fantasy, the person she imagined David to be, was cracking.


One day, four months into the relationship, Robin saw David's phone lying on her kitchen table; she picked it up and noticed a text from a woman.


She opened his phone to see who it was and discovered David was having sexual encounters with two women; they were emotional/sexual back, and forths encounter for sure, but she wasn’t sure if he was getting together for sexual encounters.


But it didn’t matter at this point… this was the beginning of her fantasy 'blowing up' to pieces.


Robin went from one of the best romantic highs she's ever experienced to one of the lowest lows she's ever experienced... soon enough, she was in full withdrawal and meltdown mode.


Robin's fantasy of who she thought David was, and the relationship she thought she had with him was her heroin...


The fantasy of David was her drug and demise.



If it were possible for any person on earth to fulfill a love addict's fantasy-- in no way (no how) could the type of person love addicts enter relationships (walled-off, avoidant, or narcissist).



When Fantasy Love Crumbles



You’re convinced the fantasy of the person and relationship will make you feel whole that he/she is the one person who can solve your problems and make your life matter— if only you can be “good enough,” they will come around and be their “potential” and they’ll finally fill the empty space inside.




Holding a tight grip on the Fantasy 




When fantasy love addicts start noticing realities of their partner that fly in the face of their fantasy, the fantasy will try hard as hell to excuse and justify these realities (denial). 



Reality feels unfathomable - it hurts, stings, and causes fear and panic.




The fantasy is the drug—what they're living for and relying on--  it keeps them feeling alive and elated.




Denial is crucial to keep the fantasy alive. It minimizes, discounts, or rationalizes their feelings and the reality around them. 



If the fantasy can talk!




If the fantasy could talk, it would justify and excuse the observed realities (e.g.,  immaturity, callousness, distancing tactics), by voicing things like:




“He/she had a hard childhood”; “Just be patient and love more, give more, do more”; “Just be a better partner, stop being needy, stop talking about your feelings, stop telling him what your needs are, stop being so imperfect”; or “This isn’t the real him/her, he/she is the person I had in those first several weeks/months together…I want that person back”.



Even when fantasy love addict begins to notice stark realities about their partner, like Robin, the fantasy won't suddenly disappear, as an attachment to the fantasy is powerful.




Why is accepting the reality of a person we’ve created a fantasy over so difficult?




Accepting the reality of a partner and letting go of the fantasy means going through loss, grief, and heartache.




And because the fantasy has become so addictive, it usually means we not only grieve the loss but experience "love" withdrawal from the relationship.




Greg and his Fantasy Relationship:


I fell head over heels for Rhonda (my fantasy). The fantasy I made up of her started very early in the relationship. 


My fantasy narative went sort like this:


We are soulmates with a " mind-blowing" connection that rarely comes around.


She is so captivating, strong, wise, confident, and loving to me.


She is understanding, giving, and caring for my feelings and needs.


So calm, cool, and always in control.


She loves and adores me deep down more than any woman she ever loved. 


She is genuine and honest to me. 


Our future together is going to be amazing. I will never find another woman like her.



The problem was as the relationship progressed, my fantasy of her more and more wasn’t lining up with the reality I encountered. 


She would be loving in one moment, then emotionally cut off and distant the next. She would get angry and irritated and say mean things if I expressed upset.


She seemed to resent me, and I felt I was an inconvenience. I felt like an enemy. She never took days off to spend time together.


She often ignored me when we were together.



She completely neglected the relationship. She was often unwilling to try resolving any conflict or concerns I wanted to discuss and said, "I don't want to talk about it" or "Not now."



She wanted nothing to do with me when I had my daughter, she didn't engage, ask questions, nothing. She wouldn't take time for phone calls even after days apart. 


She didn't offer support or empathy if I was going through a hard time. She had little interest in affection.


She often wouldn’t take responsibility and often blamed any problems on me. She never or rarely wanted to do fun things together.


She seems to take me for granted. I felt used. I helped her with so many things, but if I asked for her help, she made excuses she was too busy.


On occasion, she turned towards me and seemed to care, but her emotional distancing and cold, indifferent energy were more consistent. 



I believed she had the potential to be caring, committed, loyal, and honest, but in truth, so many of her behaviors said otherwise.


There is no focus on "us"; everything in her life is about her work or business. She uses busyness as a way to stay out of the relationship.


Sometimes, she would tell me how much she loved me and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. These are just words.



Her actions and behaviors would never add up. She seemed to always have one foot in the relationship and one foot out. 



My fantasy of her was so strong thought that our relationship lasted over six years. 



I never wanted to accept reality that these behaviors is actually who she was. I justified and made excuses in my mind- “She’s just stressed,” “I’m being too much,” or “She’ll come around.”



Letting go and accepting reality was difficult and distressing.



Coming to terms with the fact that she never was – nor will be the person dreamed of her to be..



But after getting support and deep reflection and working through exercises, I can see clearly now how deep I was in a distorted reality that never was. 



Thankfully, I now feel a sense of relief from that delusional pit.



Facing Reality



To heal, we must stop medicating with fantasy and face reality.




And even though grief and withdrawal is a necessary process to healing, it is a worthwhile undertaking.




Reality is honest; it’s raw and reliable— it becomes fiercely liberating when we learn to embrace the truth.




Learning to acknowledge, accept, and live within reality greatly benefits our emotional health- our self-care and ability to make healthier choices in life and relationships.




How to let go and move on from a fantasy relationship 



Overcoming a fantasy relationship and facing reality can be emotionally distressing as the gap between your idealized fantasy and the reality of a partner becomes more and more apparent.



You may go through periods of disillusionment, denial, pain, heartache, and even emotional withdrawal. Though recovery is not easy it will be worth the ride.



The tips and exercises below can help you recover.




Below, you will find the following methods to assist you in overcoming fantasy love:



A) Fantasy vs Reality exercise



B) Reality Journal exercise



C) Additional recovery strategies




A. Fantasy vs. Reality (Exercise)



Facing reality and dismantling the fantasy (knocking a love object far off the pedestal) is vital to healing.



The primary purpose of this exercise is to examine the fantasy you made up early in the relationship and challenge it with the reality of the person you became attached to. Over time, the fantasy will dissipate as you embrace and come to accept "who he/she truly is."


Directions: Complete the following writing exercise with a pen and paper (give yourself time as you work through the exercise). Once completed, read through it a couple of times.


  • Be 'brutally' honest.
  • Doing this exercise in our heads is less beneficial, so I encourage you to complete it in writing by hand.




Keep in Mind the meaning of Reality and Fantasy:




FANTASY is an idea with no basis in reality and is the imagination unrestricted by reality. Denial fuels fantasy.  


REALITY is the conjectured state of things as they exist rather than as they may appear or are imagined. In the broader definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether observable or comprehensible. It is what is seen, heard, and experienced, excluding any illusion or denial. 




1. Your Fantasy


Describe in as much detail as possible the fantasies you have made up about who your current or ex-romantic partner is (do some reflecting on this). Put another way, what was the narrative you created about who your partner is, would be, or could be for you in a relationship? (if you're unsure, do your best by describing your dreams, thoughts, and feelings about him/her that made you feel so euphoric).



2. Describe How Your Fantasy Was "Made Up"


Describe in as much detail as possible what in your mind has made this fantasy factual or accurate (what in your mind has created the fantasy). * Usually the fantasy starts early in the relationship and often it's how he or she initially came off but changed over some time.



3. Reality/Truth: Counter the Fantasies with what you observed and experienced (reality)



Review two and three (above) then describe the realities that go against the fantasy. Speak the truth. Be sternly honest with yourself. Is what you honestly observed and experienced with this person congruent or compatible with your fantasies? What is more realistic about who this person truly is? Describe.


After completing 1-3 of the exercise go back and read through what you wrote.-- complete the following:


  • New Awareness: Describe any new awareness you have (if any) after completing the above exercise- for example, is your fantasy congruent with the actual person you became attached to?

  • Negative Consequences: Describe the negative consequences you experienced for being in the relationship with your partner (in reality). 


  • Once more go back and read through the exercise as a whole. 



An important note about this exercise:


For many fantasy-love addicts, going through this exercise brings relief and is very freeing. Yet at the same time detaching from a fantasy bond with a love object is often very painful- it is a real loss that we grieve.


As you heal, you may also experience some cognitive dissonance - encountering unpleasant feelings or distress caused by holding two beliefs or perceptions that conflict with each other, where your fantasy will try to sneak into your mind numerous times and blur reality. 


For example, cognitive dissonance can look like this: your mind starts minimizing or forgetting all the deficient parts of your partner and relationship (reality), while ruminating on the fantasy, or focusing only on the 'captivating' times, such as periods your lover was attentive and treated you with care and respect-- often going back to the early phase of the relationship. 


So, I encourage you to keep this exercise and return to it as often as necessary to continue reminding yourself of the reality of your love object and your real experience in the relationship.


B. Relationship Reality Journal (Exercise)



Journal (write) on the following questions with a pen and paper (give yourself time as you work through the exercise).



This is another exercise to help reflect on reality vs your fantasy or --  what you experienced with him/her and how the overall experience in the relationship made you feel.


Did your fantasy play out in the actual relationship?


Did you consistently feel safe, happy, and content?


Describe what happened in the relationship. What is the reality of your partner? (reality is what you observe and experience, nothing less and nothing more).



The fantasy may have initially made you feel elated, but reality did not.



What hurts isn’t so much the loss of love but the loss of the fantasy. 


Sometimes it can feel like the grief isn't worth it and it would be easier to go back and try again if possible.



Maybe you tell yourself, "I'm not thinking right. Maybe it's me. Maybe he/she can be the person I think they can." -- Don't buy into this thinking. It is the fantasy trying to take hold. 


If you are thinking about returning to a fantasy relationship to relieve the hurt you are feeling. Stop. Take a deep breath.



Then do a deep dive and journal on the following question (be as specific as possible):


Is It Worth It?


What will be the consequences if I do?


Will my fantasy play out?



C. Additional recovery strategies, tips, and insights



Allow Yourself to Grieve:


Like any loss, losing a fantasy or a love interest brings up a grieving process. Yes, we grieve the loss of the fantasy. 



Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you work through letting go of a fantasy relationship.


Tips for grieving the fantasy:


  1. Accept your feelings and allow yourself to grieve the fantasy.

  2. Cry if you must. Cry a whole lot if necessary.

  3. Know it is okay to feel what you feel.

  4. Talk about your feelings with trusted friends or family who are safe and non-judgmental.

  5. Journal about your feelings.

  6. Along with grieving, you may experience withdrawal (learn about this here- love withdrawal symptoms).

  7. Remind yourself that this is temporary (though it may not feel this way). 



Cut Off Contact:


No contact is often essential to overcoming a fantasy relationship.

Remind yourself that your pain is understandable-- it is, but remaining in contact or returning to your ex-partner will not alleviate it.


Being around the person you created a fantasy around will make healing difficult. Staying connected in any matter will only trigger thoughts of the fantasy relationship.


In the long run, staying away is the only way to do this.


Commit to the no contact rule (learn more about the importance of No Contact).


Embrace The Art of Surrender: 



Practice Surrendering to reality in all areas of your life- to people, places, and things as they are rather than how you may like them to be. 



Surrender to the reality of who your partner is. Understand it was never about you-- Sorry, you don't have that much power to make a human being who they are!


Surrender is not a weakness or about giving up.



Surrendering is releasing control of which we have no control. When we try to control reality, we deny reality, which leads to feeling out of control and lost.



There is a reason why Surrendering is a prominent message in 12-step recovery groups.



Surrendering is healthy. It is about self-care. It is a mental perspective of courage and strength. It’s about letting go of things and circumstances we cannot control. 



Self-Esteem and Becoming More Secure:




Work on growing your self-esteem—practice the skill to affirm and value yourself and treat yourself with unconditional respect, dignity, and love despite imperfections, insecurities, or challenges.




When I work with clients, one of the most important concepts I drive is the following (in short):


  • You’re human.
  • We’re all imperfect and make mistakes and face challenges.
  • You have inherent worth. You were born precious. Nothings changed. You are worthy and valuable as you are.
  • Learn to embrace your inherent value and preciousness.



Choose healthy ways of coping:



While self-care is always good practice, this is especially important when you are getting over a fantasy of a person.



Unfortunately, this is also a time when you may be vulnerable to giving into compulsions to cope by seeking immediate gratification, such as jumping into another relationship, sex, or alcohol, or withdrawing from the world.



So, to cope healthier, try to engage in what you know can eventually help you feel better: eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, seek support, socialize, or engage in other activities you enjoy.



Managing obsessive fantasy thoughts



Obsessing and ruminating is a common symptom of a fantasy relationship.



And detaching from the fantasy may initially increase your obsessive thoughts.


They are typically irrational and can be profoundly anxiety-ridden.


Go to this page for methods and tools to manage romantic obsession thoughts.


Professional Help and Support



The initial stage of overcoming a fantasy relationship can be a very vulnerable time, and when we are at the most risk of cycling back and forth into the fantasy or finding someone else to form a new fantasy bond.


In some cases, letting go and moving on is possible to do on our own-- however, this route can be risky, as love/fantasy addicts are often very vulnerable to cycle back and forth into the fantasy and/or find someone else to replay the fantasy. 





  • Professional counseling or therapy can provide valuable support in breaking free from the fantasy cycle and promoting healthier relationships.



From my personal and professional experience, getting help and guidance from a professional who understands fantasy relationship or love addiction issues can be very effective and provide essential insight and tools (therapy, counseling, relationship coaching) - and possibly lead to a more speedy path to healing and crushing the fantasy.






Healing from a fantasy relationship can be challenging, but it's absolutely possible and your recovery can lead to healthier connections and healthier you in the future.

Use this experience as an opportunity to learn about yourself and what you want from future relationships. 


And Remember This:


  • Healing takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself and avoid rushing the process.


  • You are not alone in this journey.

  • This experience doesn't define your ability to have healthy relationships in the future. You now have valuable knowledge and a clearer understanding of your needs.

  • With self-compassion, effort, and support, you can heal and build fulfilling relationships based on reality and mutual respect.

  • Focus on building self-love and emotional security before entering new relationships.


Final point: The fantasy of "potential." 


Some get attached to a love interest's "potential" and this becomes a big part of the fantasy.


Releasing the fantasy of a partner or relationship with 'potential' is akin to freeing yourself from the allure of a mirage in the desert.


It's recognizing that while the mirage may appear real from a distance, it dissipates upon closer inspection, leaving behind only barren reality.


Similarly, clinging to the illusion of potential in a relationship can blind us to the true nature of our connections, keeping us trapped in a cycle of hope and disappointment.


By letting go, we clear the path for genuine connections based on reality rather than wishful thinking.


It's about embracing the present moment, acknowledging the qualities and dynamics of a relationship as they truly are, and making decisions rooted in authenticity and self-respect...


In doing so, we liberate ourselves to pursue connections that are grounded in mutual respect, compatibility, and shared values, leading to deeper and more fulfilling relationships.




Author: Jim Hall MS, is a Love Addiction Specialist, Relationship Coach, and Author. Work with Jim and discover tools and insight to help you heal - Love Addiction and Recovery Coaching 


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A powerful workbook to aid your healing of love withdrawal, obsession, and breaking up:

Surviving Withdrawal: Breakup Workbook for Love Addiction



If you're just starting your recovery from an obsessive love addiction, this workbook is a must:

GATEWAY to Recovery: The Beginners Guide For Love Addicts Ready To Recover  




Gain a full understanding of the dynamics of love and relationship addiction:

The Love Addict in Love Addiction




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