The question of why one would get tangled in a fantasy relationship or persist in being in unavailable relationships, is something that perplexes many BR readers. When I wrote about You Can Be In Love On Your Own…But a Mutual Relationship Takes Two, the comments and my inbox filled up, because so many of you feel like you have put so much of your energy, heart and soul into these situations that it’s hard to reconcile your actions with the fact that there’s an element or even a lot of fantasy involved.
If you’ve ever been in an unavailable relationship, including fantasy, you have a long shot mentality. It’s likely that you’d struggle to admit it, but your choices are being dictated by not only a desire to remain in your uncomfortable comfort zone, but also by a fear of failing at relationships, fear of risking yourself so much that it would hurt, and fear of being absolute and committing.
So instead, you cater to your beliefs and the self-fulfilling prophecy and opt into situations that really only have an outside chance of working out – you’ll know immediately if you’ve done this if you 1) bet on potential or 2) have essentially required them to make you the exception to their rule of non-commital or shady behaviour.
It would be the equivalent of basically getting love against the odds.
In a fantasy relationship, it can’t ‘fail fail’ because it’s not real which means you’re not responsible or accountable and you’re let off the hook from having to actually put yourself out there and invest your efforts into a full fledged relationship.
With an affair, it can’t ‘fail fail’ because even though you’re very invested and are likely hoping or even wheedling and begging them to leave, you can’t fail at a relationship that hasn’t actually started. It hasn’t. Your focus is directed at the fantasy of them leaving where you imagine what life would be like if you were both together, but this doesn’t become real which means you don’t have the responsibility and accountability that comes with a full time, committed relationship.
If your type is basically packaged as unavailable and you know they are doing things that detract from you or at the very least are not conducive to a healthy, mutual relationship, you’re also let off the hook from truly having to risk and commit because you know it’s not going to work out.
You can’t commit to someone that’s not committing – for you to commit to someone, they’ve got to commit to you, otherwise you’re uncommitted.
I’ve had many readers tell me about how they were involved with someone that was either clinically diagnosed as a narcissist or they behaved in ways that certainly suggested it…and yet there they are wondering about how someone who can’t love and is incredibly self-involved, can’t spontaneously combust into healthy relationship partner. It’s essentially wondering “Why couldn’t they make me the exception to their rule even though they can’t?” Many of these people will go back and try again.
What you can learn about these situations is that at the time, you weren’t looking for love within a committed, healthy relationship, even if you were saying otherwise. You were talking but you weren’t putting the matching actions there and in fact, any actions you were doing were contradictory.
By persisting in these situations, you’ve already accepted on another level and possibly even consciously, that this relationship is going to fail, making your professed desires faux goals.
Yes you will still get upset, frustrated, angry, hurt, try to get them to make you the exception, wonder if their actions are all about you, try to change them, try to change yourself, end things, go back, do No Contact, and the whole kit and kaboodle, but the fact that on some level you know it’s not going to work out is actually liberating you from the responsibility that comes with putting both feet in and being emotionally available with someone else who is doing the same.
It’s a faux goal and actually, when it feels like you’ve created an incredible amount of pain for yourself, it’s an own goal as well.
The long shot mentality has this fantasy reward that if it does come through, then you imagine basking in the glow of being made the exception to the rule and having your three-legged horse run and win like a four-legged thoroughbred. But it’s a fantasy and you’ll notice in fantasies that you imagine all the glory without the problems or the responsibility…
If you’ve been involved in relationships where there’s too much fantasy, not enough human interaction, or they’re unavailable in other ways, or are even married/attached, you are slipping your problematic fear of failure, making mistakes and commitment behind their somewhat more ‘obvious’ issues or a fantasy cloud.
Relationships are challenging (although not in the backbreaking type of work that people in unhealthy relationships engage in), but healthy relationships are obtainable.
Investing yourself in relationships that have very little chance of working out and/or have very obvious code amber and red issues, is setting faux goals because you’re ultimately appearing to have a goal of a relationship where you get a certain level of commitment, but then you either talk but do very little action, or the type of relationships you engage in have no involvement in taking the steps towards your [faux] goal.
If you want a healthy relationship, the steps you take towards that, for instance, don’t involve someone who is attached to someone else. Equally you don’t claim to want a healthy relationship but treat yourself in an unhealthy manner, or try to get someone that doesn’t want to commit to commit, or persist with unavailable people and then wonder why they don’t come with available behaviours.
And maybe that is the best way of judging how much you’re bullshitting yourself because you can tell a lot about how much your talk and walk is matching, by what’s reflected in the results of your life.
If your present deviates greatly from where you claim you want to end up and in fact, certain things you’re doing have no part in your plan, why keep doing them? To continue doing so is like trying to make that pigs ear into a silk purse, which is the longshot mentality. Ultimately, you are not a long shot, so don’t treat yourself like it could only be in exceptional circumstances where you can be happy.