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There are fantasies that are perfectly fine and may even be healthy for a relationship. These are typically about people we imagine or dream about, or even a celebrity on TV. Fantasizing about someone you’ve never met is usually harmless. But there are some fantasies that can hurt a relationship. Here are some of the more common ones that might be detrimental to your partnership if taken too far:
Fantasy #1: The Old Flame.
It’s natural to wonder from time to time about someone from your past. Perhaps you are in a happy relationship now and you hope your ex has found the same. Maybe you think of them when you hear a certain song on the radio. This is acceptable behavior.
Thinking of an ex occasionally is one thing. But if you’re in a relationship and wonder about them excessively or even try and search for them, you could be putting an unnecessary strain on your partnership without even realizing it. The reason? In fantasizing about an ex you are thinking of an unrealistic ideal. After all, if you were meant to be with your ex, you would be. Chances are you aren’t thinking of them in terms on how they really were, but on how you would have liked them to be. Spending time thinking about them in either idealistic terms or obsessing about how to meet them, takes energy and emotion away from your real life relationship.
Reality check: Imagine if your partner thought about his or her ex a lot and even tried to contact them. How would you feel? Think first before you email or call an old flame. Determine what it is you really expect them to say. After all, your ex may be in a happy place in their life and by calling them you may be interrupting their happiness.
Fantasy #2: The Crush.
A crush on a celebrity or someone you’ve never met is usually harmless. An innocent thought that someone is attractive is perfectly fine.
Problem thought: If you obsess about someone you work with, see at the store, or otherwise know in passing, it can be harmful to your relationship. After all, this isn’t just someone you’ll never meet, but someone you come in contact with. You may even begin acting differently around them because you’ve been playing out a fantasy in your head with them as the star.
Reality check: Again, the golden rule applies. Would it please you to know your partner had a thing for your best friend, or the person that works right next to them? Even if they never act on it, there is a feeling of betrayal involved because their fantasy person is near enough in order to make their fantasy real.
Fantasy #3: The Celebrity.
The majority of the time, fantasizing about celebrities is usually fine. You may even know which celebrity your partner has a crush on and point them out to him or her when you see them. Celebrities today invade every area of our televisions and computer screens, and it’s natural to find them attractive.
Problem thought: When you start comparing your partner or your relationship to the celebrity, then it’s time to take a step back and think about what you’re doing. After all, fantasizing innocently is one thing, expecting someone to live up to an unrealistic ideal is another. If you give your partner hints about changing their look, gaining or losing weight, or even getting plastic surgery, you’ve crossed the line.
Reality check: Do you think about your celebrity crush to the point of obsession? Do you feel differently about your partner because of your celebrity fantasy? Have you begun to try and contact the celebrity in hopes to really start a relationship with them? If so, it’s a problem and you need to seek counseling to get back to a healthy state of mind.