Fantasy vs. Reality
By: Kathy
October 21, 2012

What is your fantasy?  We all have them, in fact, a lot of times they are such an undercurrent of our day-to-day lives that we don’t even realize they exist!  It is important that we get in touch with them, however, because they may be making us miserable!

In the fantasy, our spouse is thoughtful and connected and very sexual.  My mate would recognize how hard I work running the household.  My spouse would encourage me to do what I enjoy.  In fact, they would participate, if that is what my fantasy depicted.  My partner would never find fault with me.  They would want to spend time with me (when I want to).  My partner wouldn’t make demands of me.  They would never find another person more attractive.  They would  admire, respect, and appreciate me.  And of course my partner would never be depressed, overworked, stressed, tired, or anything else that doesn’t fit our fantasy!  Essentially, in my imagination, my spouse would be all the things that I DO want and none of the things I DON’T!

This fantasy life began developing long before we met our spouse.  We nurse the fantasies developed in our heads and inflate them by watching what we think we know about other people’s lives from our neighbors, movies, novels, love songs, etc.  We come to have a great fantasy life, but then we become increasingly disappointed when our expectations collide with reality.  The more we nurse the fantasy, the more disappointed we are with our relationship.  Of course we are disappointed because everything is perfect in our fantasies and they are not possible!  We spend all of our energy and effort trying to get reality to match fantasy and we make both ourselves and our spouse miserable!  Now consider this . . . your partner has a fantasy about you, too, and I’m pretty sure you are falling just as short!   When both fantasies come in contact with reality, we’ve got a real mess on our hands.

Many times, we don’t like the reality that we are seeing so we adjust our fantasy to fit the situation.  He doesn’t show appreciation for the day-to-day things she does, so she nurses a fantasy that he’ll plan a fabulous Valentine’s Day to show his love for her.  She plays it all out in her head, flowers, dinner, gazing into her eyes, maybe even poetry!  -OR –  She’s been angry and cut-off for awhile, so he develops a fantasy that she’ll wake up and see that she’s been all wrong about him, that he’s really a great guy!  Of course there will be great sex and all will be smooth sailing after that!  When our disappointments reach peak level, we may even start fantasizing about someone else, but I have news for you . . . they will fall short, too!

We’ve got it backwards, folks!  If you want a happy life, you have got to come down to earth and be realistic!  Your spouse is going to fall short!  They are normal, fallible, imperfect beings and if you are going to be with them for the rest of your life, you have to expect they are going to be disconnected, angry, unattractive, shallow, asexual, forgetful, selfish, etc. from time to time.  They are also going to be exactly what you married and embody all of the things that made you fall in love with them in the first place!

Our fantasies about how the relationship should go are at work behind the scenes and come in direct conflict with reality all the time!  If we don’t step out of our fantasy life and into reality, we run the risk of ruining a perfectly workable long-term relationship!  This does not mean you have to lower your standards and let your partner off the hook, but it does mean that you have to be realistic about what to expect from your partner.  It also means you have to be realistic about what you have to invest in your relationship.  Think about it. . . if you are really honest with yourself, what are your fantasies?  They may be making you miserable. . .