I can add another sign to tell if someone was in love with the idea of you or the actual you. If they use one of the reasons for their initial attraction as a reason to break up then it’s likely you were idealized to some extent.
I’m pretty sure this happened to me. I had a beautiful relationship, or I think it was, with a pretty dynamic individual for almost three years. Shortly before we started dating she told me that she had always wanted to date a bisexual man. I knew I was being fetishized to some extent and that her urge was built upon what she believed a bisexual guy would be like, but it is important to me that my partner accept my sexuality and on that front this seemed like solid ground.
Fast forward to the end and it was the primary reason given for our breakup. She accepted me being pansexual intellectually, but had a negative visceral reaction to me liking men. Identity issues are a big deal for me so for the person I cared the most about to reject me on a very fundamental level was deeply hurtful to say the least.
I struggled with this for awhile, until I read the article below and it started me thinking that maybe this is what had happened to us. The idea of dating a bisexual guy was a romanticized one. The actual experience was apparently drastically different for her and it was too much to handle.
I want to leave you with a slightly different approach to handling the reality of who a person is. For me learning the ways someone violates my expectations is one of the exciting things about getting to know them. In the television series Firefly there is a line that has always resonated with me, “It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sommbitch or another.” It’s about nuance and the juxtaposition of the ideal verses reality. It’s what I love about people and eventually it will be one of those things that someone loves about me.
So what about you? Has this ever happened to you and which side of the relationship were you on?