There Are No Perfect 10s

Sep 12, 2022

One of the biggest relationship killers around is comparing the person you love to a fantasy. The truth is, a real person can never match up to the fantasy. Even if the fantasized person is a real person, the fantasy of being with that person is far from what actually being with them would really be like. We see evidence of that in the high divorce rate in second marriages. People think that if they could just “find a better person,” then they could really be in love. The truth is that what they are fantasizing about does not exist, and the comparison often inhibits their ability to love the person they are with right now.

Real love can only exist with a less-than-perfect person, since the world contains no other kind. The fantasy of finding someone perfect to make you happy is just that–a fantasy. There’s a lot of love out there waiting to be found. But to find a solid love connection, the fantasy of the perfect mate has to die.

Lovers engage in this kind of fantasy every day with disastrous results. They may be attracted to someone who possesses a quality that catches their attention at work or in their circle of friends. That person or quality becomes the standard to which they compare their spouse, and the connection is spoiled. The partner does not measure up in that area. The fantasizer’s heart moves away, and love has broken down. The real does not compare to the fantasy.

But those who indulge in this kind of fantasy don’t realize that the image in their mind is not a real person, but rather an ideal image that does not exist. They do not realize that the quality they admire in the person they are fantasizing about is not seen in the context of a real relationship, with real problems involving all that person’s inevitable imperfections, conflicts, selfishness, and the like. They focus only on the fantasized ideal, and it destroys what they could have with the real person they are with. Sometimes they not only fantasize and diminish their relationship and love life, but they actually leave the marriage to chase an empty fantasy.

See if you can identify with any of the following:

  • You look at your spouse’s body and see more of what is wrong than what you like. The result is that you feel indifferent or turned off.
  • You notice some talent or trait of another person, compare that to your spouse, and get a sinking feeling.
  • Your spouse interacts with you in some way, and you go away wishing that you were married to someone who is not like that.
  • You have a “partial” relationship with someone, such as a co-worker, that does not involve interacting with the whole person in a real relationship, and you fantasize that being with that person would be better than being with your mate.
  • You look at fantasy material in magazines, the internet, or the movies, and wish you had someone like that. Or you read romance novels or watch romantic movies and wish your husband were like the hero in the story.
  • You look back at a teenage love or the one that got away and longingly compare your mate to that person.
  • You look at who your spouse is not, or who she is in comparison to your expectations, more than who she is in terms of the things you love about her.

A relationship is a connection to a real person, just as he or she is. Real love is found with real people, all of whom possess both beauty and flaws, good qualities and imperfections. If you chase a fantasy, you are going to hate reality. But reality is the only place you can find real and satisfying love.

Don’t allow a fantasy to interrupt building real love with a real person. Certainly, you could always look at your lover and see how someone else would be better in some way. But you are not in a real relationship with someone else. You are just in a fantasy with an isolated personality component, or some other part of them. If you were married to that person, you would also be in relationship with the rest of him, including his presently invisible flaws and imperfections. The fantasy would pop like a bubble, and you would not be happy there either. You would soon be comparing his flaws to someone else who has that “part” you desire in a better way.

So throw away your list of ideals. It is getting in the way of loving the real person you are with.