It’s hard sometimes in life when you break up with someone.
The heartache plus the “what-coulda-been’s” play on your mind.
But you know what can be even more of a challenge?
Getting over a breakup with someone you never dated!
Now this is a tricky situation.
Your feelings could be just as painful and raw as a real relationship.
Except this was not real – it was a “Fantasyship.”
What is a “Fantasyship”?
Many of us might have had fantasies about a celebrity who became besotted with us only to wake from our dream and realise Megan Fox was not really in our house.
Unrequited love can happen in your real life too. Essentially it’s when you have a romantic attachment for someone however the person doesn’t feel the same way (or doesn’t know you exist!).
I am referring to this as a “fantasyship” as it is all in your head.
The neighbour, the classmate, the work colleague the teammate – it could be anyone, anywhere.
I have observed many relationships and social interactions over the years, often called upon by people I know to ‘resolve’ issues.
Let me tell two short stories that may be relatable for some readers –
There was a guy, “John”, who was in “love” with this girl. Let’s call her “Anna”.
He will tell everyone that “Anna is his”.
He will confront any guy who has talked to Anna, and tell them to keep distance from Anna.
He will get drunk and express his “love”, in a drunkard state to all his friends. But never to her.
He never talked to her. He kept looking at her social media feed, asking his friends about her.
In his mind, he was dating her. They were a couple.
In his mind, he has protected her from “evil” guys.
In his mind, he loved her, like no one else, thinking there would be a movie about him, one day.
The day never came.
He got an Arranged Marriage. He never saw her again. The “love” story never got its first word uttered.
Well, my friends, if this sounds familiar, you might have been in a Fantasyship.
It can have similar feelings to a real relationship. All your time is invested with someone else, you can’t stop thinking about them and you feel a closeness.
Here is another story of “Jim”
Jim was a good friend with a girl, named “Jessie”
He will help her with daily challenges.
He will offer his shoulder when she has to cry.
He would drop everything he was doing if she needed him.
One day, Jessie met a guy and fell in love with him.
Jessie would tell Jim about her feelings for the other guy.
She will ask Jim’s advice for understanding the other guy.
And one day Jessie, started dating the other guy.
Poor Jim, heartbroken, felt bad. But he thought his love was true love.
He kept that “love” in his heart.
If any of these stories, resonates with you, or someone you know, you probably need to read the tips below.
How to Know if You Are in a “Fantasyship?”
Here are some easy questions to ask yourself to decide if you are attached to someone you have never dated –
- Are you actually talking to or meeting that person or just in your head?
- Are you avoiding relationships or commitments because you love someone else?
- Are you daydreaming about a person a lot?
- Are you composing poems, songs, planning encounters, etc.?
- Are you getting better or getting worse?
I know dating can be hard. Sometimes, it’s better to have a love story in your head, even though it’s completely unreal.
Some men start to live in an ‘ideal’ world, created by them, where everything goes their way and there is no rejection.
I have seen them make proposals, beat the “villain” or a bad guy, and rescue the girl they fantasize about –but it’s all in their dreams as they tell me over lunch.
8 Tips to get over a “Fantasyship”: How to Get Over Someone You Never Dated
1. Face the Truth – It isn’t a Relationship, it’s a “Fantasyship”
I once saw in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon the following –
Sorry guys – the truth hurts.
We have been taught by the movies, songs, and countless poems about soulmates, and ever-lasting love.
We romanticize the “artistic” portrayal of love. However, life is much more boring, than most of the movies.
The person who is actually in your vicinity, maybe taking care of you, listening to your words about someone else, doing your chores etc. is the one you might want to look at first.
But I admit it sounds exciting sometimes to create a mental movie of yourself with someone you have never dated, with imaginary scenarios of dancing together, serendipitous encounters, and poetic endings.
Confession time – I have written such poems and even published an entire poetry book, focused on such love stories.
2. Write down all the fantasies you have about the person and READ IT ALOUD TO YOURSELF
Reading out aloud what you have been thinking in your mind, will make you realize that it sounds a little foolish.
This step might help you to find humour, rather than pain, in your one-sided story.
You might actually laugh at yourself for being in “fantasyship” with a person.
3. Start Noticing People who are Looking after you. Pay attention to them – Get Busy with them
Sometimes in life, we have to be reminded about the important things – like the people we know!
Even if you are single, you probably still have people in your life who you can enjoy quality interactions with and who actually are available (and real!).
Perhaps you have taken the real people in your life for granted.
Try “seeing” those people again. You might find you are already in an ideal relationship!
4. Try to write down your “Fantasyship” as a novel
Try doing this – write a book about what you think your life will be with your fantasy date.
Or at least try to write one page.
If you can write, then keep writing and have a closure, an ending that you will love, and move on.
And If you can’t write anything, then you will realize it’s just your mind using this fantasyship to avoid real relationships and commitment.
5. Talk to a Friend
Confiding in your friend can help you see from a different perspective.
Ask a friend who can give you an honest and brutal (if needed), assessment. You can ask them to help you to get out of this fantasy world.
Most probably, your friend will laugh at you and that’s OK. If you feel embarrassed, it’s ok. It’s still better than living in fantasyship and letting go of all the meaningful people who are around you.
If don’t have a suitable friend, try a sympathetic therapist.
6. Respect Yourself and Others
If someone has chosen not to date you, then don’t feel this obligation to keep living in a fantasy relationship.
When someone is not interested in you, doesn’t see you or has a romantic interest in you, respect their decision and move on.
If it becomes unbearable to move on, look yourself in the mirror, see the person and try to respect that person. The Fanatsyship is not helping that person.
7. Take a Break to Focus on Yourself
Because there is nothing real to enjoy in a fantasyship, this type of “relationship” can sometimes cause people to obsess over others.
They forget to take care of themselves. They forget to notice what’s good for them and what they actually need and want. So, if you find yourself in such a situation- take a break.
Stop everything and think what you want (except that person).
Write down if you have to.
Try to work on what you require to give yourself a better, fulfilling and successful life. Also see- how to reboot your life at any age
8. Educate Yourself about Relationships
One extra step that might help you for the rest of your life, not just in romantic relationships, is learning about ‘Boundaries.’
Boundaries are respecting yourself and setting rules for what you will accept (to and from) others. They are not about controlling others, but rather setting standards for yourself.
Check out our article- 3 Boundaries In Relationships To Set When Dating After A Breakup Or Divorce
Learning about ‘Attachment Styles’ in relationships could also enhance your understanding of real-world relationships and make it a little less likely you will stray off into fantasy land again.
Harsh is the founder of menPsyche. He enjoys using his extensive research and writing skills to communicate ideas and concepts, with the aim to improve people’s lives.
Harsh trained as a Communication Engineer and published a MSc (Research) thesis, as well as worked in a variety of marketing and consultancy roles.