The Challenges of Rainbows and California Dreaming

I spent a few minutes daydreaming today about what I would do if I won the lottery. Not just a million or two but more like $100 million, something I could really be secure with. I basically ran through a modernized “If I Were A Rich Man” performance during which I wrote huge checks to some of my favorite charities (all anonymously, of course) and spent my days studying the holy books in one of my many homes throughout the world.

It was wonderful while it lasted but then, alas, I was pulled back into the world of reality (specifically, my reality) and continued on with my life, the sweet memories of my wealth stored safely away to be accessed on demand, as needed. Did my daydream make me change the way I lead my life? No. Have I done anything differently as a result of it? No. Has it motivated me to work harder to attain great wealth? Not really. I enjoyed a few moments of escapist fantasy and emerged unscathed. End of story.

So daydreaming and fantasizing is harmless, right? Only if you realize that they’re not reality. If dreaming about being rich is going to make you depressed about your non-rich reality, then your dreaming is harmful. What the heck does this have to do with dating? Many singles are doing the daydream/fantasy thing big time, and it’s significantly effecting their ability to commit to relationships and marriage.

Here’s how it works.:

Joe is a good guy. Decent looking, ambitious, stable career path, friendly, well put together. Lots of women would like to date Joe, but he tends to reject, decline, and blow them off almost as a rule. What these women don’t realize is that Joe is already in a relationship. No, not a real relationship with a real woman. You see, Joe is a bit of a dreamer. He visualizes himself with his arm around what he considers to be his perfect woman, probably someone he saw in a movie, magazine, or maybe sunbathing in Central Park. Maybe it’s the hostess in the restaurant he took his last date to, who models and acts when she’s not taking reservations. It doesn’t really matter who the woman is. What matters is that Joe has chosen her as his model of the kind of woman he should – must – be with to be happy. Every real life woman he meets is viewed against his dream gal, and guess what? Nobody seems to make the cut. What a surprise!

Jane is attractive, friendly, and sweet. Lots of men ask her out. She rejects most of them. Yes, you know where this is going. Jane is dating her fantasy dream guy, someone she once went out with or met or read about or created from a blend of daddy, big brother, Wall Street banker, Soho artist, Rhodes scholar, Dalai Lama, and movie star. Whoever it is, he doesn’t exist in reality, or at least not in Jane’s reality. So instead of going out with nice, real men Jane chooses to wait for Mr. Right, willing to sacrifice her youth in her quest for perfection.

For Joe and Jane, daydreaming can destroy their chances of finding happiness in a relationship and/or marriage. As long as they live their lives in their dreams, they’ll have zero chance of living their lives in love.

California dreaming on a rainy day or yearning to be somewhere over the rainbow is great, as long as you clearly comprehend that fantasy is not reality. By all means keep on dreaming as a way of momentarily escaping reality and exercising your imagination, but don’t live your life based on your fantasies. Fantasies are perfect. Real life isn’t. Real people aren’t either.

Are you living, and dating, in your dreams? Please share your thoughts on this subject in the comments section below.

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