Ah, so you’re in love with a fictional character? Good to know I’m not alone. After all, the undying loyalty, utter acceptance and sexy demeanour most make knees weak and tummies flutter.
The truth is, whether it’s a tv show, movie, book or game, there is a moment when those fictional characters tug on our heartstrings to the point we wish they were real.
Fear not, these five steps helped me overcome heartbreak, so how about you give them a go!
1. UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT
In a world full of fictional people there is some great science behind our emotions that take us back to reality.
The scientific term for falling in love is ‘neologism’ which describes
The theory behind neologism is an attraction to and idealisation of a character’s features, actions and traits, which then makes them more desirable than humans.
Fictional characters are created with the purpose of making us feel strong emotions. The author has created them specifically to be viewed by and appreciated by fans. This means every knee-weakening gaze and the heart-melting line was created with the purpose of tugging on our heartstrings and making the character appear desirable.
The characters become familiar to us, which then renders them ‘emotionally potent’. At a biochemical level, it’s an emotional truth, similar to what we would experience with close friends and families.
Developing an understanding of every aspect of the character makes them familiar and therefore holds a special place in our hearts.
After all, one of the most common reasons to read a book, watch a movie or binge a tv series is to experience what we haven’t experienced, understanding other people’s lives.
Although most people openly dig on fanfiction, it can be really beneficial. Writing or reading fanfiction can help us move on from our fictional character in multiple ways as it allows us the opportunity to fantasise about this character.
When writing or sharing fanfiction we give ourselves an outlet to engage with the fictional character directly. We can either continue their character development to appear too perfect or completely wreck them through flaws.
Fanfiction is also a great way of developing a deeper understanding of the character, we may find that by flooding our system with them we are quicker to remove them from our system.
Some popular fanfiction sites include
- WattPad – https://www.wattpad.com/
- Tumblr – https://fanfiction-au.tumblr.com/
- Fanfiction.net – https://www.fanfiction.net/
Similar to when we have our favourite song on repeat, eventually we listened to the song so much we grow sick of it and cringe every time we hear it play. Allow yourself to be overstimulated by the fictional character to develop a cringe vibe about them.
3. SHIP THEM WITH SOMEONE ELSE
I don’t know about you but the minute I discover my crush is already in a relationship, they instantly become ten times less attractive.
Turns out it works for fictional characters too. If the author has given our fictional character a love interest, we can’t fathom taking them away from that love interest. After all, they may be fictional but don’t we all deserve true love! And what better true love than the kind that doesn’t… actually… exist… Yeah ok never mind.
The point is, that shipping our crush with someone else invokes feelings of discomfort to picture ourselves with them instead. 90% of the time authors are providing us with love interests in one form or another, and if the author isn’t the fanbase definitely is. Capitalise on that!
4. HANG OUT IN REALITY
If none of these options appeals to you, take the next big step and walk away from the world of fiction for a bit. Hang out with friends and family. We can cement ourselves in a reality where the world of fiction doesn’t exist.
One of the main appeals for fictional characters is their lack of flaws compared to a reality full of flaws. So, be immersed in flaws, distracted by friends and family and remember instead how grateful we are for the people that do love and support us in the real world, flaws and all.
5. OVER TIME CRUSHES GO AWAY
There’s a common saying ‘time makes the heart grow fonder’ which is true… for a while. But eventually, it gets to a point where the heart just doesn’t care anymore.
Time is a miracle worker when it comes to missing someone. One day we feel physical pain at the thought of not being with them anymore and the next, whether it’s a couple of days, weeks, months or even years, we’ve moved on, content with the memories we had.
As we grow, we find our interests and desires change. I know the fictional character I was in love with when I was 12 is definitely not the same character I’m currently in love with. Over time, We change, including our thoughts, hobbies, desires and understanding of ourselves.
Allow time to naturally soothe your love for your fictional character.
Overall, remember it’s ok to be in love with a fictional character. Just don’t let the fictional world stop us from functioning in reality. As J. Maya reminds us through her song ‘Library Card’, we are not the only ones in love with a fictional character.
Let it be a teaching tool to understand our wants and desires. After all, fiction is in some ways based on reality. Let’s find that reality and chase it to our heart’s content!
Original photos by Olivia Paull