It’s common to daydream about romantic relationships. And it’s possible to fall deeply in love with someone you’re only dating in your imagination. In fact, it’s possible to fall in love with someone who doesn’t even exist. Sometimes daydream relationships can endure for years and be a source of comfort and inspiration. But sometimes you reach a point where your daydream relationship isn’t healthy anymore and you decide to end it. But just how do you get someone out of your head when you were never dating them in real life?
Reasons to end a daydream relationship
You might decide to end your daydream relationship for the same reasons you’d end a real-life relationship. But there are a couple of additional reasons that specifically apply to daydream relationships, and both come down to not being able to clearly separate your daydreams from your real life.
Firstly, if your daydream partner is based on your real-life crush, your relationship may run into problems if you secretly expect or want your real-life crush to behave in the same way as your daydream partner. If you’re stalking your crush on social media, if you feel annoyed when your crush says or does something your daydream partner would never do, or if you feel jealous of your crush’s real-life partner, those could all be signs that what you are experiencing is limerence rather than a daydream relationship. Limerence tends to cause a lot of misery, so if that’s what you’re experiencing, it could be time to evaluate whether your daydream relationship is healthy for you.
Alternatively, your daydream relationship can run into trouble if you subconsciously expect it to give you everything a real-life relationship would give you. It won’t. Daydream relationships and real-life relationships are different. Real-life relationships tend to be messy and complicated and involve compromise and learning to see the world from someone else’s point of view and figuring out how to share your life with someone in a way that makes you both happy. Ultimately, overcoming those challenges is what makes real-life relationships so fulfilling. Daydream relationships tend to be perfect, but less fulfilling in the long-term. If perfect isn’t enough for you anymore, it may be time to re-evaluate your daydream relationship.
How to end a daydream relationship
So, how exactly do you end a daydream relationship? There’s probably no single right way, but there’s certainly a wrong way. What you do NOT do is start judging yourself. Don’t tell yourself that it was ridiculous to have feelings in the first place. Don’t tell yourself you should be able to walk away from the relationship overnight. Don’t tell yourself that all you need to do is stop thinking about your daydream partner and everything will magically be OK. All that does is pile a lot of self-criticism on top of what is already a painful situation.
Because the thing is, the relationship may not have been real, but your feelings were. You fell in love. That was real. And when love ends, it’s painful, no matter whose choice it was to walk away. When you end a daydream relationship, you need to be just as kind to yourself as if you’d ended a real-life relationship. So wrap yourself in a blanket, eat too much ice-cream or whatever you do when you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Because it’s OK to be sad. You had something beautiful, and now it’s over. If you’d ended a real-life relationship, your friends would’ve supported you. But if your real-life friends didn’t know about your daydream relationship, you’ll have to support yourself. Take that responsibility seriously and indulge in some necessary self-care.
Another thing that can help is closing off the daydream relationship in the right way. Just because your daydream partner isn’t real doesn’t mean it’s OK to ghost them. Daydream a break-up scene. Tell your partner all the reasons why you’re ending the relationship. Be honest with them and explain that this relationship just isn’t healthy for you anymore. Walk away as completely as your plot will allow. Then, any time you’re tempted to relapse and fall back into the relationship, you’ll have to navigate the fact that you broke up, and that might give you enough of a pause to remember why you broke up and why continuing that relationship isn’t a good idea.
Daydream relationships have a habit of running for far longer than they should. The magic tends to last longer than it would in real life. But it’s good to evaluate your daydream relationship every so often to make sure it’s still bringing you more joy than suffering. Because another difference between daydream relationships and real-life relationships is that your daydream partner is never going to end it with you. If the relationship has run its course, you’re the one who’s going to have to make the decision to walk away.