I’ve been in love with a male video game character for two years he’s perfect to me and I like everything about him but I know he’s not real and I want a real boyfriend but I don’t feel any real guy could compare. I don’t want to feel this way but I really worry I’ll never find real guys attractive again. I’ve liked many real guys but none have made me feel like he does. What do I do?
The purpose of a fantasy is to fill in the gaps in our life. The fantasy often allows us to protect ourselves through the distortion and absorption it generates. But whatever protects, inhibits. So for all that it does to fill in the gaps in our life — it also becomes a way that can prevent us from getting what we want. This happens when the fantasy becomes more of a drain for attention than an activator for action.
It sounds like something like this has happened in your life, but with one major difference. A video character, by definition, is a created artifact — not a real person. What has happened here is that you have chosen for your fantasy something that cannot be an activator for a real relationship. It is held up as an ideal, but the ideal is out of reach before it can be explored. In this instance, the fantasy is based on a fantasy. This is different than someone having a fantasy about someone else’s boyfriend, or a movie star, or a random person walking down the street. In these instances the realm of possibility, even if it is far-fetched, leaves the fantasy as a way to fill in a gap. But when the fantasy is about a fantasy video character my guess is that it is more of a protective device than fill in the gap. Because you don’t have what you want you are using the fantasy to make real boyfriends less desirable—less worthy to pursue.
All this being said I believe there is a way to use this fantasy in a way that can be helpful in finding real guys attractive again. The key is looking beyond the video to the personality elements of the video character’s character. What are the qualities he has that you find desirable?
To help with this I am going to encourage you to take the character strengths survey for your self. After this, I’ll encourage you to ask yourself which of these character strengths reflect your video love’s character. What are the aspects of who he is portrayed as that you can highlight, identify, and then look for in a real boyfriend? Is it his bravery? Love of learning? Perspective, or hope that you are drawn to? Whatever it is that is beneath your attraction the character strength survey can help you define it, and look for this in someone you may want to develop a real relationship with.