When I was thirteen I had my first boyfriend. He was imaginary. Well, not as in …. in my head, just that I hadn’t actually met him. We’d met on an online chat forum, his name was Vahkan and he lived in Hampstead. After the first few e-mails I was convinced he was the one. I’d still not met him. After weeks of hour-long phone conversations I was convinced he was my soul-mate. Still not met the guy. Even when he told me he was ‘kinda pudgey’ I convinced myself that wouldn’t bother me. After all.. we were destined to be together.
Eventually, I met him at the Golders Green Macdonald’s. I remember choosing a table in the corner so no-one would see I was with him. I couldn’t look at him, I couldn’t look at the big round donut on the table that bore a striking resemblance to his face and I definitely couldn’t look at the horrible sweaty burger.
Years later, I recognise the early symptoms of an ‘imaginary relationship’. In your head, the guy can be whatever you want him to be, and it’s scary how easy it is to find an unsuspecting man to project a childhood of Disney brainwashing onto. Problem is, that one day you wake up and find that your prince charming is actually the donkey from Shrek.
So how do you know you’re having imaginary relationship?
• Have you had more conversations with him in your head than real life?
• Have you thought up the entire script of your first date before he has even asked you out?
• When you think about him, is his face kind of blurry?
• You have already imagined him proposing right???
You are not alone. There is something about the fantasy that is so much more tempting than the real thing. After all, we all want an Edward Cullen not a Joe Bloggs who works in sales. We will settle for Joe Bloggs, but god do we wish he was Edward Cullen.
One Friday afternoon, I went to visit my friend in Farrington, a fabulous diamond broker who has made the rounds through pretty much every dating website and prided herself on always having several guys on the go.
“It’s the way to do it!” she said chewing a chicken wing and flinging it on a workbench littered with small bags of glittering stones. “Stops you getting obsessed”
Currently, there was ‘ugly art guy’ (who peed sitting down while she was taking a bath). ‘Orthodox guy’ (who wouldn’t have sex before marriage but had no qualms about pleasuring himself at sporadic intervals throughout the date. When she’d had enough of his crazy and stood up to leave, he was a perfect gentleman and showed her to the door…. fully masturbating. Still, at least he had one hand free to wave goodbye!)
Maybe that was the way to combat the imaginary relationship? Desensitising yourself with lots of meaningless ones?
My friend lit a fag and leaned back in her chair. Behind her I could see some dating website open on her computer. “The thing is,” she said, sucking on the fag. “You spend so much time with these guys in your head that you are actually having a relationship with them. So when they don’t call, or don’t turn out how you want them to, it hurts. Just like a real breakup would.”
She could be so wise sometimes.
Confession time. I’ve been thinking about the guy from last summer. OK, I’ve been completely having a fantasy relationship. I’ve tried to desensitise myself with lots of pointless ones but it’s just not working. I kissed two guys in one night (not bad after a drought of about six months) have a date lined up for next Thursday (which I’m totally not bothered about) and even met the cutest guy who looked like a mini Robert Pattinson (only about half his size….shame). Still, I stumbled in after quite a floozy weekend with just one thought in my mind…
I’m going to send him a drunken message.
And I did.
I guess, the best way to combat a fantasy relationship, is to make it real