The Struggle Of Over-Romanticizing Partners—And How To Stop Doing It

You never really mean to do it—it is not an intentional act at all. You start out just letting your mind wander a little when it comes to a particular person of interest, and then you find yourself letting it wander a little further and a little more often, and the next thing you know, you’re horribly overromanticized a person.

It’s a habit that’s easy to fall into and often hard to stop. Here’s what it means to over-romanticize someone, the dangers of doing it, and ways to keep yourself from indulging in the daydream.

What Does It Mean To Romanticize Someone?

To romanticize a person or thing is to project or develop a perception of them inside your head that is not entirely representative of reality, often in ways that are positive.

photo illustration of emojis representing a heart, a kiss, and heart-shaped eyes are displayed on the screen of an iPhone
Photo Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images

There Are Lots Of Ways To Do It

Romanticizing a person can include emphasizing certain traits they show and ignoring others that don’t fit your personal perception of them, or even going so far as to imagine them possessing traits that they have never exhibited.

feet with two diverging arrows in front of them
Photo Credit: Pexels / Marlon Trottmann
Photo Credit: Pexels / Marlon Trottmann

You Can Do It To Anyone

Most people are capable of romanticizing just about anyone in their lives if they allow themselves—parents, bosses, friends, acquaintances—but people will most often end up romanticizing their love interests the most often.

crowded city sidewalk
Photo Credit: Pexels / Cameron Casey
Photo Credit: Pexels / Cameron Casey

You Like Them, So You Daydream

Romanticizing a love interest might have you daydreaming scenarios between the two of you that could happen in the future and developing a mental notion of how your relationship would work out.

woman wearing sleep mask lying down
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro

It’s As Simple As Considering Possibilities

For example, if you have a crush on a guy, you might imagine how he would act toward you on a first date, or, more drastically, picture what married life would look like for you two.

person looking at sunset
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay

Why Do We Romanticize People?

Obviously, in our minds, we want to create a version of the future where our dreams come true—I mean, no one wants to picture their life in shambles. Daydreaming is not only soothing, but it also allows us to work our imaginations in ways that make us feel happy.

question mark drawn in chalk
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay

What’s The Problem With Doing It?

There are several problems with romanticizing relationships and people: it can give us unrealistic expectations that reality can never live up to, and it can leave us feeling exceptionally crushed if things turn for the worse.

man and woman walking out of subway station
Photo Credit: Pexels / Samson Katt
Photo Credit: Pexels / Samson Katt

You’re Setting Yourself Up For Failure

Even if the person you romanticize does turn out to be into you, there is no way for them to live up to the narrative you’ve built-up in your head, and you end up feeling disappointed anyway.

woman looking at laptop, distressed
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

So How Do You Stop Yourself?

Here’s the thing: it’s pretty hard to just stop thinking about a person you’re interested in. Naturally, you’re going to end up thinking about them despite your best efforts. However, there are some ways to help yourself curb your fantasies from getting out of hand.

Photo Credit: Pexels / Linda Ellershein
Photo Credit: Pexels / Linda Ellershein

Actively Work To Differentiate Between Reality And Your Own Thoughts

Make a list (perhaps with the help of a friend) to describe their actual actions in a factual manner without factoring in your own emotions. This allows you to ground yourself with facts whenever your daydreams start running away.

man writing in notebook
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ivan Samkov
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ivan Samkov

Actually Get To Know The Person

Spending time with someone is one of the easiest ways to debunk your own romanticized version of them. The more you learn about a person, the more regular and human they seem.

man and woman sitting and talking
Photo Credit: Pexels / Wendy Wei
Photo Credit: Pexels / Wendy Wei

Ask, “Is This Person Really Worth The Fantasy?”

Consider if this person really deserves to be the star of your daydreams. You imagine him to be kind and courteous, but when have you ever seen him act that way? You picture a married life together, but has he proven to share your values and life goals?

heart eyes and kissy emojis on inflated balloons
Photo Credit: Pexels / Polina Tankilevitch
Photo Credit: Pexels / Polina Tankilevitch

Imagine Yourself As A Friend In The Situation

Remove yourself from the situation mentally and instead put a friend in your place. For example, if a guy didn’t call your friend back in a timely manner, you would know in your heart that he doesn’t respect her time and isn’t all that interested.

White thought bubble on magenta background
Photo Credit: Pexels / Miguel A Padriñán
Photo Credit: Pexels / Miguel A Padriñán

Ask Yourself Why You’re Romanticizing Them

Most times when we over-romanticize another person, it is a form of escapism from our own lives. Are you projecting traits or a whole relationship onto them simply because you’re feeling lonely?

woman looking down in thought
Photo Credit: Pexels / Dziana Hasanbekava
Photo Credit: Pexels / Dziana Hasanbekava

Love Isn’t A Build-A-Bear

You don’t get to pick and choose traits for a partner in your head and then just expect that person to be everything you’ve imagined that they will be. That’s not how people or love really works.

The Build-A-Bear store
Photo Credit: Niall Carson / PA Images via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Niall Carson / PA Images via Getty Images

It’s Truly A Selfish Behavior

It’s one thing to fantasize in your head from time to time, but the issue with over-romanticizing someone in real life is that you expect them to follow a script they never even agreed to be part of. It’s all about what you want to happen.

man holding hand of woman
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Roberto Nickson
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Roberto Nickson

You Can Really End Up Hurting The Other Person

If you end up going out with someone that you’ve over-romanticized, they often feel like they have to live up to the pedestal that you put them on and are wracked with guilt when they feel like they’re “not good enough.”

couple standing back to back holding hands
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Henri Pham
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Henri Pham

It’s Dehumanizing For Them

As someone who has been over-romanticized by a partner, it’s truly dehumanizing to know that a partner never really loved you as a person, but rather a version of you that they invented and preferred over your real self.

woman crying single tear from eye
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Aliyah Jamous
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Aliyah Jamous

Something Real Is Better Than Any Fantasy

Sure, fantasizing about a dream significant other or dream life is fun, but it’s just an empty illusion you’ve created. The real connections you make with someone and the experiences you have in real life, while different, are better than your dreams because they’re tangible.

woman and man sitting together on mountaintop
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Cody Black
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Cody Black

Reality Is Messy, But That’s What Makes It Fun

A real relationship is going to have its ups and downs and will truly make you feel vulnerable at times, but there’s joy in growing with another person, getting to know the real them, and creating memories you could never have come up with in your wildest dreams.

man and woman embracing
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Candice Picard
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Candice Picard