5 Signs You’re in a Fantasy Relationship That’s Going Nowhere

When you really like someone, sometimes you can’t help but constantly look for signs he or she is into you. However, all too often, your excitement can start to cloud your judgement, making you believe you’re in a relationship when you’re really not. Emotions take over, and before you know it, you’re planning your wedding and you haven’t even been on a formal date.

Are you disillusioned, or are you and your love interest working on something real? Here are five signs you’re in a fantasy relationship, and why it’s a problem.

1. You don’t have a title

Couple watching a movie

If you’re just hanging out, that doesn’t mean much. | iStock.com/LDProd

When things start to get serious, the natural next step is to define the relationship. This involves getting a title. You’re a girlfriend or a boyfriend, a significant other, or a partner, for example. If you are none of these things, and you’re just “hanging out,” you’re in a fantasy relationship. Chances are, nothing will come of this union. Without a title, you’re a random distraction. You’re just for fun.

Why this is a problem

woman standing in doorway

No title means no committment. | iStock.com/JackF

Generally, no title means no commitment. If the person you’re interested in hasn’t titled you, then he or she is off the hook when it comes to stepping up to the plate and putting in effort. Your love interest is free to date other people, hang out with friends whenever the mood hits, or suddenly pick up and move to another country. You have no say in the matter because, let’s face it, you don’t really matter all that much at this point.

Dating and lifestyle blogger Josh Johnson offers this advice to a reader on Quora:

If you’re at a point where you think there should be a title and he [or she] is refusing, you may want to reconsider whether you want to see this [person] anymore. [This person] might have an innocent reason, but might also be looking to remain “single” so he [or she] can keep playing the field.

 2. You’re always the one calling and texting

woman on the phone

Put that phone down. | iStock.com/RossHelen

Do you always call and text first? If you stopped texting and calling for a couple of days, what would happen? If you try this and notice that the person you’re interested in hasn’t tried to contact you to see how you’re doing, you’ve got your answer. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re in a relationship with yourself.

Why this is a problem

Young woman at cafe drinking coffee

Step back and let the person you’re interested in call you for a change. | iStock.com/Astarot

A real relationship is a two-way street. Communication requires the participation of two people, so if you’re the only one doing the communicating, there’s not much of a relationship happening. You’re better off spending time with someone who both looks forward to and initiates some of your interactions.

Psychologist John Grey says on his relationship blog that a one-sided relationship doesn’t have staying power:

There is no question that if a relationship is one-sided, it will not stand. Love that works is the result of both partners putting energy and intention in building a mutually satisfying relationship. This includes being around when things are not so great, not so comfortable, and not so happy — and being willing to stay the course toward finding a path that leads back to positive love, fulfillment, passion, joy, and all the other things we truly want in a relationship.

3. His or her friends don’t know about you

Young couple

Are you a big secret? | iStock.com/rilueda

A secret love affair might be exciting at first, but it can get old pretty fast. If you and your “friend” bump into an acquaintance, are you introduced or are you left standing in the corner, waiting for the conversation to end? If it’s the latter, you’re not in a relationship (or you are, but your partner is cheating and doesn’t want to get caught).

Why this is a problem

 couple in background

You might just be a friend with benefits. | iStock.com/karelnoppe

Those who are involved in a special relationship will usually be so excited about it that they’ll tell all their close friends and family. And when they happen to see an acquaintance, they’ll jump at the opportunity to make introductions. However, if you don’t hold a special place in someone’s heart, you’ll either get a brief mention or you won’t get introduced at all.

Unfortunately, this might be the dose of reality you need. It might not feel good, and it shows poor manners on the part of your friend (and we use that term loosely), but it also tells you all you need to know about where you stand: nowhere.

4. You’re the only one investing time and energy

Couple drinking coffee

It takes two people to be in a relationship. | iStock.com/ArthurHidden

You might think just because you’re spending time together, things will eventually progress toward an official relationship. But you’re most likely wasting your time with someone who doesn’t  notice or care how much effort you’re putting forth. Continuing this behavior will take you away from the people who really deserve your time and attention.

Why this is a problem

 woman with smartphone

You shouldn’t be the only one doing all the work. | iStock.com/ViewApart

You can’t get your time back. All the emotional investment you’re putting into a non-relationship will drain you and leave you too tired to do other things that require your full attention. If you find yourself in a place where you’re giving 110% and the person you’re interested in could care less, it’s time to either pull back (a lot) or move on. He or she isn’t all that interested. Save your time and energy for someone who cares.

5. You’re ghosted

woman using cell phone

Did the love of your life just disappear? | iStock.com/diego_cervo

Alas, once you think there might be hope for you and your fantasy love, he or she disappears. No phone calls, no texts, no good-bye — nothing. Anyone can be ghosted, but it’s more likely to happen between people in a situation where one person’s definition of the relationship is wildly different than the other’s. So, it was just easier for the person who became uncomfortable to slowly drift away. Once this person realizes you misinterpreted the status of the relationship, he or she will start to become distant in an attempt to pump the breaks on an unwanted relationship.

Why this is a problem

sad man

Ghosting is a cowardly way to end a relationship, even a one-sided relationship. | iStock.com

Ghosting is always a problem, not only because it’s rude, but also because it leaves so many questions unanswered. It’s a cowardly way to end a relationship. All you can do in this situation is learn to let go. Don’t try to run after the person and prove you’re worthy. Though it might hurt, author and meditation expert Jon Kabat-Zinn writes there’s power in letting go in Wherever You Go, There You Are:

To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking. It’s akin to letting your palm open to unhand something you have been holding on to.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo