The 'Magical' Habit You Must Break If You Want A Great Relationship

You cannot magically wish yourself into a relationship.

Last updated on Jan 18, 2024

Black couple, man with beard, woman with natural hair, hug while backlit Mky Business / 

As a kid, you may have been told there were magic words like "please" and "thank you". When you used them, you got specific results. 

You learned how to magically elicit a positive response from another person just by uttering these charming words. 

You were also likely told mystical stories that led to your believing in the supernatural and wondrous feats of characters like the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus. It was a fantastic, exciting, and magical world that you traveled in your mind.


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You adapted your behaviors to create the outcome you desired.

In the context of human behavior, "magical thinking" is defined as "...the belief that one's thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it."

Not just "please" and "thank you" but more complex systems that may include superstitions, a belief that one can "wish" their way into feeling something they may not feel, or manifest an outcome that would not otherwise have occurred.

Now you're all grown up, your magical thinking about love has likely been influenced by everything you’ve seen, heard, and read, from Disney to rom-coms to your favorite Nicholas Sparks-style novels, each with its happy ending.


Reflecting on your life, you may discover your magical thinking is also influenced by past emotional trauma and the need to control this area of life.

But controlling how another human being thinks, feels, and behaves is just an illusion. 

Generally speaking, it’s what gets in your head that holds you back from life. And when it comes to magical thinking and romantic relationships, the way you think can be hexing. 

Here are the 4 ways magical thinking sabotages potentially great relationships:

1. It's a barrier to finding true love

We all want someone to love and to be loved in return. However, a magical mindset will keep you from showing up as your authentic self. It blocks the opportunity for someone to know you and love you for who you are.




And it prevents you from knowing them. Love is a real emotion — there's no potion to create it. It comes from two real people, with real character — scars, flaws, and all. 

Casting a spell will not make someone love you. There's no powerful incantation to manipulate or force love. All the Bibbidi-Bobbidis in the world will not make someone your Boo.

Let go of the pretend play and just be you. 


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2. It undermines potentially great relationships with unrealistic expectations

Magical thinkers expect their romantic partners to have the gift of mind-reading. Unspoken expectations going unmet leave create frustration, disappointment, and resentfulness.

Your partner is left confused and possibly feeling like a failure. This magic carpet ride is not for the healthy mindset and they will likely call it quits from sheer nausea. 

Expectations turn potential princes into frogs and frogs into princes. Their ongoing inability to fulfill your fantasy leaves you miserable.

When you focus on an outcome dependent on the unforeseen future with a person you can’t control, even the potentially strongest of relationships will fail under the burden.


What you truly desire in love — a deep connection — will vanish.

3. It thwarts the capacity to develop into something special

Potential is an interesting concept. It implies the energy is there, but it is just potential until movement occurs. Capacity is yet to be determined.

Magical thinking can bar any gravitation toward one another that may have naturally occurred.

One block to relationship development can be holding onto someone who may not be suitable for you. When holding onto the wrong person, you may miss out on the right one.

Desperation is not enchanting — if anything, it's suffocating. When you believe you must be with someone all the time and expect them to fulfill all your needs, you deny yourself a life of growth and balance.




Attraction, mutual interests, and autonomy are essential ingredients in a healthy relationship recipe.

And even if they were the right one, you wouldn’t know it. Hold on tight to someone and they feel trapped.

Someone with a healthy mindset about love will feel the need to break out and presto! You are alone again.


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4. It blocks rational and critical judgment

Not to be confused with optimism, magical thinkers see what they wish to see and not what is. There's no discernment of who may be a good match based on reality and the natural progression of a healthy relationship.

It's easy to become complacent while you wish and wait for your dreams to come true. 

When there's an expectation that something will happen in the future without your participation, you rob yourself of learning how to communicate your needs. And, you hide the opportunity for your partner to connect with you.


Magical thinking is not a relationship fix. Hoping for the outcome you desire is one thing — trying to force it and being overrun with negative thoughts and feelings when it doesn’t work out is another. Your partner may surprise you with an escape act.

Healthy, reality-based relationships allow you to be yourself and motivate you to become the best version of yourself.

Real love and great relationships require mutual and consistent effort, communication, commitment, and compromise. They allow you to experience the natural highs and lows of life with the security of support.

Someone wise once told me that fantasy and reality have only two things in common — they are both seven-letter words and end in "y."


So, let’s leave the magic to Disney and Vegas. There's no magic in finding true love, but something magical happens when you let go of the fantasy and focus on reality. 

If you have yet to experience a genuine, stable, healthy, fulfilling relationship, consider professional guidance for overcoming what distorted your view of love and learn how to stop sabotaging your real relationship potential.

Start building up your happiness and confidence in something you do have power over — your belief system. Know that a healthy, confident you will attract and maintain powerful love.

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Ann Papayoti, PCC, is a relationship coach, author, speaker, and host of the podcast, Soul CPR Healing Out Loud. She helps people untangle from their past and heal their hearts.