I was reminded again this week about one thing that trips most couples up. . . the fantasy relationship.
Fantasy husband would help me around the house. No, he would want to help me! He would listen to me share my struggles with kids, work, life and he would have an endearing look on his face towards me all the while. He would understand me, love me just the same even though I’m not a size 6, and he would still romance me with flowers and date nights like when we first met. Oh! And he would never complain about me!
Fantasy wife would greet me at the door when I get home with a super hot kiss that says she wants me badly, she would be happy to see me and ready to treat me special all evening, leaving me alone when I need it. She wouldn’t ask me to do any chores because she knows I’m tired from being at work all day, and when the evening comes to a close, she would wear something sexy and make my dreams come true in the bedroom. Oh! And she would never be displeased with me!
We begin very early in life developing an idea of what our “fantasy relationship” would look like and, more importantly, what it will feel like. It is so deep within us that we are not really in touch with it, we just know when it doesn’t feel that way and we are disappointed. The discrepancy between fantasy and reality is called the misery factor! The more unrealistic your fantasy, the more miserable you are!
If my fantasy says “I will never feel alone in my marriage”, then I howl at my spouse to change their behavior so that I won’t feel alone. Perhaps my fantasy is “My partner will never be disappointed in me”, then when my spouse complains about me, they must be wrong or they just don’t love me enough. We keep trying to force reality to match fantasy!
So how do we fix this? I know this doesn’t fit within your fantasy, but you’ve got to get realistic! Yes, you have to change your fantasy to come more in line with reality. The truth is. . . Fantasy is not real and we need to quit expecting the fantasy to play itself out in our lives! No, I am not saying that you have to accept abuse or a checked-out spouse, we always need to be working to improve reality, but we need to explore the fantasies and adjust them to factor in reality! It is not realistic to expect your spouse to never need anything from you or never have a complaint about you. You cannot expect that you will never have to do anything that is unpleasant. You will have to put your partner’s needs before yours sometimes. It is not realistic to expect that there will never be conflict in your relationship, they will never be angry at you, or that your spouse will never have a different opinion than you! You can’t expect that your wife will want to have sex with you if you don’t invest any intimacy, romance or tenderness. You can’t expect a good relationship if you are always howling at your partner because they don’t live up to your fantasy! Get the picture?
Examine your fantasies. Are they realistic? Are they even attainable? Do you see yourself trying to get your partner to match your fantasy? Are you constantly degrading your spouse or potential mates because they don’t live up to your fantasy? Are your fantasies destroying other relationships in your life? Kids? Parents? Siblings? Co-Workers? Friends? These fantasies are subconscious and could very likely be destroying your ability to have great relationships! Take a look. What have you got to lose except maybe some misery?!