At some point, we’ve all harbored an unattainable crush. It may be some random person on the bus, a tenured coworker you barely talk to, or a well-loved K-pop star. They may be out of reach, but that doesn’t stop you from feeling warm and fuzzy whenever you think about them.
Initially, this kind of crush may seem harmless, but if not approached cautiously, it can gradually evolve into a delusionship, resulting in emotions taking an unexpected turn.
What Exactly is a Delusionship?
If you’ve been in Tiktok, you’re probably aware of this term already— the hashtag #delusionship currently has a staggering 17.7 million views and counting.
But for those without an idea, a delusionship is an ongoing infatuation towards someone you barely knew and had no established connection with.
It’s more than a simple crush, as people in delusionships use vivid imagination throughout the day, crafting scenarios and personalities about their crush.
People who are going through it may have delusionships with people they’ve matched on dating apps, distant coworkers, people they’ve met once on an event, internet personalities, or established celebrities. They spend their time imagining how their life would be if they were dating this particular person and then feel a sense of dread and emptiness once they realize it’s all inside their head.
Signs You’re Going Through It
Wondering if what you’re feeling is a harmless crush or a full-on delusionship? Below are some common signs that might tell you you’re in the midst of this situation.
1You excessively daydream about your crush.
It’s normal to daydream about your crush every now and there. Thinking about cute dates with your crush, holding hands with them in the crowd, getting introduced to their family— we’ve all been there.
But if you’re going through a delusionship, you don’t just get an occasional daydream. It’s like you’ve got a mental screenplay running 24/7, complete with plot twists and heart-fluttering moments, and your crush may not even be aware they’ve been cast as the lead.
2You overthink the brief encounters with your crush.
In a delusionship, every accidental run-in or fleeting smile turns into a grand event worthy of decoding. Encountering your crush, whether it’s a quick gaze on the way home or a casual chat in the work cafeteria, becomes the top highlight of your day.
You find yourself dissecting their words, analyzing the emojis in their texts, and searching for hidden meanings like a detective on a mission.
3In some cases, you stalk them in person or online.
You might find yourself casually scrolling through your crush’s social media or unknowingly taking detours to be where they are. If you’ve come to this point, you’ve got to assess yourself and figure out a way to stop it, or you might succumb to creepy stalking behavior.
4You don’t open yourself to dating opportunities.
Another sign that you’re going through delusionship is you’ve unintentionally closed off to new and actual romantic opportunities. You would rather spend all your energy thinking about this one person, imagining how they’ll change your life once they’ve fallen in love with you, instead of going on actual dates.
5Your perception of fantasy and reality gets blurry sometimes.
If you’ve been in a delusionship for a long time, the line between fantasy and reality may start overlapping with one another. Those imagined moments with your crush start feeling as real as the actual ones. It’s like your brain throws a party where daydreams and real memories mingle, making it a challenge to separate what’s happening in your head from what’s happening in the world.
It could also lead to intense heartbreak. Let’s say you’ve been working as a barista and have this delusionship with one of the regular customers. You have this fantasy in your head that they have a secret crush on you, and someday, they’ll eventually give in and confess. But the thing is, that’s nothing but a fantasy. Aside from a couple small talks, you’ve never established anything with this person. So when you see your crush holding hands with someone as they enter the cafe, your heart shatters as if you’ve had an actual relationship all along. It’s because you’ve had these fake scenarios for months to the point it feels real.
Why You Should Stop
Having a crush can be delightful, but there comes a time when these crush-induced fantasies might be doing more harm than good. So, why should you consider hitting the brakes on this pedestal-building parade? We’ve answered them below.
1You’re missing out on potential partners.
Most delusionships are one-sided. No matter how long you spend daydreaming and overthinking about this person, you can’t simply manifest them into a relationship, especially if that person hasn’t even met you, such as an internet influencer or celebrity.
By fixating on this one person, you might miss out on fantastic connections waiting to be explored. Instead of having a healthy relationship with someone who truly loves you, you’re out here thinking about somebody who doesn’t know you that much.
2If you end up in a relationship with your crush, you might put them on a pedestal.
Now, let’s fast forward to the moment when, against all odds, you end up in a relationship with your crush. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, it could be.
You might put this person on the pedestal since you’ve daydreamed about them for so long. Instead of having a normal relationship where everybody tries to keep the connection alive, you might do so much more since you’ve desired this person for so long. You plan out the dates, spend more money, travel miles to see them, and don’t hold them accountable for their questionable behaviors… The list goes on and on.
Also, the peril of putting someone on a pedestal is that when reality sets in, you might struggle to see them as the imperfect, wonderfully flawed human they are. Expecting them to live up to the flawless version you’ve crafted could strain the relationship before it even begins.
3It can lead to questionable behaviors and mental health conditions.
Here’s where things get real. When you get infatuated with someone to an extreme level, it can result in questionable behaviors and even impact your mental health. From innocently stalking their social media to more intrusive habits, these actions might be signs that your crush has transformed into an obsession.
There’s also a possibility of forming mental health conditions such as maladaptive daydreaming, wherein a person daydreams as a way of coping with stress, emotional difficulties, or unmet needs.
While daydreaming about your crush is a part of the human experience, turning those dreams into expectations can lead us down a tricky path.
Remember that crushes are meant to be harmless fun, something that’ll keep you smiling occasionally. If it’s starting to become a stumbling block in having meaningful connections, take a moment to step back and assess if what you’re going through is some good ‘ol happy crush or a delusionship. Get help from a mental health professional if needed. If you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll soon find those crushing feelings fading away.