I’m not proud of or happy about anything I’m about to say—I believe the colloquial expression for that is ”Real talk”:

It’s important, we all agree, to discern the line between fantasy and reality. But this is about the impact that fantasy has on reality.

The thing is, I see this pic, and I yearn. I wish I had that, where “that” represents some imaginary life with some imaginary partner.

And so, when I have a real life, with a real partner, and she doesn’t look like that, when she turns around and smiles at me in her underwear whilst pouring a cup of coffee in the morning… Has something been cultivated inside me that thinks, “But this isn’t good enough”?

Thinking that women are “out of your league” is problematic for a lot of reasons, not least of which is that it separates people into leagues, and makes the exploration of connection and relationships into some kind of contest or struggle for conquest, like you’re duping a mark or sacking a castle.

Also: on the one hand I can never really be satisfied with people “in my league” because there’s always someone “better” around the corner, and, on the other hand, this makes it hard to talk to a woman I find extremely attractive, which only alienates me more from a “type” of person that I am drawn to.

So now I can’t look at an actual relationship just on its own merits, it has to compete with the desire to fulfill this imagined lack: Oh, sure, SHE’s dating me, but I’ve never managed to ask a really gorgeous girl out…

So then I start to believe I’m “settling”, and one mustn’t do that, and where I’m going with this is:

Am I just running away from good partnerships because I’m always chasing, chasing, chasing this one imaginary moment in the imaginary life of a woman who dressed up and posed in carefully-arranged lighting to create a fantasy that I trained myself to think I wanted?

In blunter words, how hot does my girlfriend have to be before I won’t want to go seek a hotter girlfriend? Because the difference between some pic of a very nicely-shaped blonde woman pouring a cup of coffee and an actual nicely-shaped-but-because-she’s-real-I-can-see-her-flaws brunette pouring an actual cup of coffee in my actual kitchen is,

the latter is a person,

and the former is a trigger to imagine a person who doesn’t actually exist.