When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One

I’ve been dating an amazing man for several months now, and until recently, I’ve not enjoyed it. (Yes, you read that right; I’ve not enjoyed it.)

Let me fill you in on some background info before I tell you more:

  • Before my boyfriend came into my life, I’d pretty much learned (by God’s grace) how to live the single life with contentment.
  • My boyfriend built a solid friendship with me for over four months before we began dating.
  • As soon as we started dating, though, I didn’t value our friendship. I expected non-stop romance now.

Romance Me Now

For most of my life I’d observed dating relationships in romance novels and watched them unfold on the screen. As a result, I expected to be fawned over and hotly pursued from my boyfriend’s first admission of liking me. Here’s a peek into one of my journal entries,

I thought dating would be all excitement and fireworks and distraction and butterflies in my stomach 24/7. (Thankfully it’s not, because then I’d really get nothing done.) Sometimes it is exciting, but most of the time it’s simply comfortable and nice. It feels like real, everyday life instead of the stuff fairy tales are made of.

Suddenly I had a real, flesh-and-blood relationship, and I found myself mourning the loss of my long-anticipated fairy tale fantasy.

Who Says Fairy Tales Are Better?

One night, my boyfriend and I were having a playful conversation that opened my eyes to the fact that fairy tale fantasies aren’t necessarily better than real life. It went something like this:

Me: And then, after getting married on the beach, I’ll ride my dolphin off into the sunset and live happily ever.

My boyfriend: That would put you in shark-infested waters in the middle of the night. (He’s so smart like that.)

Hmmm, I thought, maybe—just maybe—fairy tales aren’t so wonderful, after all.

Meet Prince Charming

A couple months ago, my boyfriend and I sought counsel from a wise elder in his church. After hearing the ins and outs of our relationship, this man spoke words I will never forget,

What I see when I look at you two is two young people who love Christ, understand each other’s shortcomings, have been honest about them, and are still willing to love the other.

That’s more to build on than, “When I look in his eyes, I see stars, and there’s this feeling in my tummy.” That may happen too. But long term, you want a more realistic picture of what you really need. Prince Charming is the grace of God ministering to your area of brokenness.

Oh, how grateful I am for my Prince Charming. How relieved I am that I chose to stick with this real-life relationship rather than rejecting it for some unrealistic, fairy-tale fantasy in my head.

And who knew: the romance has developed naturally over time, rather than hitting like a ton of bricks from day one like I expected.

How about you? Have you thought about what expectations you might have for a future dating relationship? Where are these expectations coming from: God’s Word or the culture?

When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Paula (Hendricks) Marsteller is a compassionate, bold Christian communicator offering you gospel hope, thought-provoking questions, and practical help along the way.

4 thoughts on “When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One”

  1. Ok sweet Paula…how did you meet said boyfriend?!? Inquiring 34-year-old single women want to know!!! HA! 🙂 And, most of all, congratulations on a healthy, happy, dating relationship! It sounds wonderful – a gift, indeed. God is good.

    1. Dear Lindsay,

      Inadvertently on Twitter. (Which, if you knew how much I’ve resisted social media, you would find quite humorous!)

      Keep trusting God. He will NOT withhold His very best from you.

      Thanks for asking–and caring. 🙂



  2. Thanks for sharing, Paula! I’m glad this is a lesson you are working through now. Unfortunately, my dating relationship with my husband was full of romance…. Then marriage and real life hit. And I had to work through these expectations in the midst of that. And I didn’t always do a great job of communicating or relating in a respectful way when my hopes and expectations were disappointed. Thanks be to God, he rescued me from my skewed perspective, and though I still struggle with selfishness, my vision of what marriage should look like is much more God-centered and eternally focused now! Blessings on you, friend!
    Hannah Norton

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