Have you ever...
…Thought that your partner was so perfect, you weren’t good enough for the relationship?…Had fantasies that your partner realized how special you are and changed how he or she treats you as a result? …Lied about your partner to others to make him or her sound cooler/smarter/better at dating?
…Dismissed or ignored the things about your partner that weird you out, rationalizing that "everybody's got faults!" (which they do) — but still found yourself ignoring more than you paid attention to?…Thought, I should just be happy that he/she is willing to date me, when you had complaints about the relationship? …Felt an innate and primal sense of distrust in a relationship, not because of anything the other person had done, but because you'd been cheated on/betrayed in the past? …Thought your relationship was perfect when you weren’t together, but then had to force yourself to ignore certain things about your partner when you were hanging out? ...Thought your relationship was perfect while you were together, only to start questioning certain things about it when you had some time to yourself? …Told your friends, in reference to your partner, “Oh, _____ is really great once you get to know him/her!”
…Thought, My ex used to act like that. Oh shit. Am I dating my ex again?
If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be dating a mirage (not that we all haven't been guilty of it before). Mirage dating can make you see your relationship in a positive light it doesn't quite deserve or in a negative light it also failed to earn. When we enter a relationship by constructing our partners, instead of getting to know him/her, we ignore the qualities (good and bad) that don't fit our story telling. This can spell doomsday. I'm not at all suggesting you should abandon your relationship if it isn't perfect. Relationships aren't perfect. They are not constant sunshine and light, but they shouldn't be full time rain clouds either. If you are experiencing a disconnect between your imagination and your reality, it is time for a little soul searching to figure out if the problem is your thinking or the relationship itself. If it is your thinking, time to take a step back and look at your relationship with fresh eyes, if it is the relationship, it is time to decide whether you will accept it or move on.
You might be asking yourself why we build these mirages. Why do we ignore the person who is actually right there and build a new one in our heads, for better or worse? Here are some possible reasons: