3 Dating Fantasies Distracting You From Finding A Real Relationship

Written by Andi Forness
Andi Forness is an online dating coach and active member of the Jungian Coaching Association and the Society of Women Entrepreneurs.

Image by Jovo Jovanovic / Stocksy

Is it taking a really long time for you to find a person to be with you in a real relationship that you desire?

If you answered yes to that, here's another one for you: Do you start and stop dating people and can't seem to get any traction with a relationship-ready person?

If the above scenario is ringing a ton of bells for you, you're not alone. When I look back at my own love story (and watch my clients go through the same), I am able to see clearly what the problem was: falling victim to distractions.

How distractions keep you from dating success.

The setting was always the same: After an unsavory breakup, I would commit to finding a relationship-ready man. I would swipe on an app and go on a few dates with a seemingly great guy that I was not intensely attracted to yet open to getting to know. Things would be going slow and steady, and all would be good.

The characters were always the same: Relationship-ready man was always a pretty cute, nice guy who was interested in me. He would also be making consistent plans, was responsible, fun, and financially together. Also in the picture? An unavailable, red-flag man. His strength was sending good-morning texts and telling me how beautiful I was, but he would not be consistent with plans or communication and would usually be a man who partied too much. But I would have insane chemistry with him.

The plot twist was always the same: The charming, unavailable man would always show up while I was getting to know the relationship-ready man, sweep me off my feet with promises of what could be, and throw me off course. I would fall for the unavailable guy's romantic rhetoric every time and would stop dating the stable, relationship-ready guy who was interested in me and trade him for the fantasy of what the unavailable guy could be.

Distractions throw you off your path and make it more difficult to achieve your goal of finding great love. If you have been single for a long time or have a pattern of dating red flags, the minute you decide to change that, your unconscious mind has other plans for you. Your ego mind likes everything very predictable and has a strong resistance to change. This part of yourself will throw obstacles in your way, like falling for obviously unavailable guys or simply getting distracted by them when you could be dating someone who finally satisfies your romantic needs. Being aware and prepared for these obstacles will help you make the changes you desire in order to find a great relationship.

After working with hundreds of clients, I've realized there are three main distractions—which I often call fantasies because they're fueled by sky-high, unrealistic, wishful thinking—that are costing time and heartache and throwing people off their path of finding the love of their lives.

Fantasy No. 1: The "I miss you" text.

You are dating a new guy, and it is going good. Then out of the blue, your ex suddenly starts contacting you. You check your phone and see "I miss you" or "How's it going?"

You may be tempted to drop the new relationship-ready guy and go back to the ex, delighted by the feeling of being missed by someone you once cared a lot about and thinking that is true love. However, your desire to go back to your ex is based on familiarity. I went back on and off with one ex once a year for almost eight years. It always started the same, with lots of chemistry and fun, and ended with him pulling away after a month.

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Fantasy No. 2: "Let's grab drinks."

A flirty work colleague or neighbor invites you to happy hour, and you aren't sure whether it is a date. As a matter of fact, you aren't even sure whether this person is even single, but you go anyway because you are cool and easygoing and want to see what this is all about. You get along really well together, and the connection is strong between you. You have such a great time that you go into the fantasy of "what if?" with this person (even though you don't know whether they're single), and you wait around for a month for the next time. You jump at the chance to hang out with them because you had such a great time last time. You may have even texted a bit in between, which you think is a good sign, and you may even ask yourself, "If they weren't into me, would they text me to get drinks?"

Yes, they would! Everyone likes hanging out with cool and fun people. But it doesn't mean they all want to date you. A relationship-ready person makes it very clear in their words and actions that you are dating and not just hanging out. You deserve to know if you are on a date or just shooting the shit with someone.

Fantasy No. 3: "Hey, remember me?"

An unavailable person you dated and had a connection with comes back after dropping off the cowardly way and now wants to text you or even ask you out again. (In newfangled dating terminology, they call this "zombieing"—when a person you dated ghosts you but then suddenly comes back from the dead acting all flirty and normal, like nothing ever happened.)

If you are not familiar with this type of distraction, you might think it is a sign—that these ghosts came back and this is your Hollywood true love story and your love is meant to be. It could be. Or it could be just a person who is bored and wants to see if you are still available to entertain them until they find someone else.

If this person comes back with an apology and a solid explanation of why they disappeared back when you first were hanging out, you can choose to be curious and give them another chance to see if it happens again. Watch your emotional investment on this second round; if they are truly unavailable, it will be clear soon enough.

Don't bet on a fantasy.

I am not saying that the above can't turn into a wonderful relationship with the right amount of structure and communication. But I don't want you to do what I did for years and take a bet on romantic fantasy.

If you have a history with unavailable people in the past, dating a relationship-ready person may feel really boring at first. You will need to be able to push past that resistance to change. Fight the distractions head-on. Do not trade what is really happening for the fantasy of what might happen.

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