So why are we drawn to fantasy over reality when it comes to intimacy? Real relationships show us that human beings are well...human. They carry battle wounds and emotional baggage that heavily weigh on their closest relationships. Even when we do find someone with whom we share a deep and meaningful connection, we tend to struggle through real issues. Serious relationships challenge us. The closer we get to someone, the more we can expect to face our own defenses, an inner resistance we have to getting too close or caring too much. Feeling love from someone else can be the best feeling in the world, but it can also challenge us on a deeper level, going against negative beliefs about ourselves we hold at our core and forcing us to face the pain of feeling deeply for someone else.
What we often do to protect ourselves against the challenges that arise with real love is form what my father, psychologist Robert Firestone, termed a "fantasy bond." The fantasy bond is a connection built out of fears from danger and even from death that we often experience at an unconscious level. This bond substitutes real feelings of love, respect and spontaneity with an illusion of connection, a focus on form over substance and a false sense of security and completion by another person. 3 Reasons Why Reality Is Better Than Fantasy
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When we form a fantasy bond, we become less and less like 2 independent individuals who feel genuine attraction to each other. Instead, we start to fuse our identity with the person we care for, relying on them to give us value and make us feel safe. Take Twilight's Bella, for example. This teenage heroine doesn't believe life holds any meaning without vampire Edward. He is her protector from danger, her companion against isolation, and her ticket to literal immortality.
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The main characters in the film will go to any end for each other. When separated, Bella even repeatedly cheats death in hopes that Edward will appear to save her. Most of us hold parts of us that want to be saved in a relationship, rescued from past hurts, protected from feeling alone and even saved from death symbolically, or at least dying alone. The trouble is that projecting these qualities onto our partner distorts them in a way that often leads to destructive outcomes.