There’s nothing like matching with someone on a dating app or hitting it off with a stranger at the coffee shop. Then, before you know it, you’ve imagined your perfect first date, then meeting the family. Can wedding bells be far off?
Leave it to social media to coin the perfect term for such fantasies: a “delusionship.”
“We can all have our fantasies without pathologizing them,” Raquel Martin, a licensed clinical psychologist, told USA Today.
That said, while fantasizing is a great way to exercise your creativity, daydreaming can sometimes start to interfere with reality, a phenomenon known as maladaptive daydreaming.
Maladaptive daydreaming “is a mental health issue where a person daydreams excessively, sometimes for hours. “Maladaptive” means this type of daydreaming is an unhealthy or negative attempt to cope with or adapt to a problem, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
A “delusionship” can even cause relationship issues before an actual relationship forms. According to T. Joel Wade, professor of psychology at Bucknell University, delusions can “create problems” that make it hard or impossible for the other person to live up to your dream version of them.
“No relationship occurs after the initial date or interaction. Also, there can be an initial problem of the person of focus not having reciprocal feelings or feelings of the same degree,” noted Wade.
“Actions taken to sustain the infatuation, such as constantly looking at their social media, following them around, changing your lifestyle to have more access to them” call have real effects on one’s mental health, said Martin.
If you daydream a little too hard about a potential — or entirely fictional — relationship, try your best to think of other things or people.
“People who want to get rid of unwanted fantasies may benefit from seeing a therapist, especially someone who focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy,” explained clinical psychologist and sex therapist Dr. Christopher Ryan Jones to Brides.