If you've not already fallen into a TikTok hole of delusionship content, here's your need to know…
If you've logged into TikTok lately and you follow relationship creators, or pretty much anyone who talks about their love life, you might have noticed a new word entering the dating lexicon: delusionship.
It might sound kind of scary, but a delusionship is something we're all probably familiar with, but maybe under another name.
So what are the signs you're in one? Ask yourself: do you fantasise about someone a lot even though you're not together? In fact you've just started texting. Have you imagined a life with someone even though you've not even been on a single date yet? Or closed yourself off to potential dates because you're really focused on just one new person… Who just so happens to be as good as a stranger? Then you're probably in a delusionship. Yes, you could be in one with your barista, Timothée Chalamet or your boss.
If you want an expert definition, Bumble's dating coach Dr Caroline West says: “it's the infatuation that you have for someone you don’t have an established relationship with - someone you see on the train every morning, or someone you have matched with on a dating app but haven’t met up with yet.”
Effectively, a delusionship is 2023's way of saying you're thinking a lot about a crush. So, yes, we've all been there. TikTok proves it, as there's over 16.1M tags for the term, with a tonne of super relatable videos of people detailing their experiences.
“You were never mine (you actually were never mine, I was just delusional and thought you were secretly in love with me)” reads the relatable text on one TikTok by mainlyemma, and another by user Jaden reads “when my mom asks why I'm so sad but I can't tell her it's because my delusionship I talked to twice ghosted me.”
If this all sounds very familiar, and now you're worrying whether it's a potentially toxic habit, fear not — Dr Caroline West says, they're not inherently bad: “It's ok to daydream about people and potential relationships."
Think of your delusionship as a way of trying that person out. Your delusionship could be a way of figuring out if you're a fit with them and means you're backing yourself to be with someone you think is desirable. As Caroline puts it: "Being outwardly confident in yourself and recognising the value you could bring to a romantic relationship is totally fine." Though she warns: "it can be very easy to get carried away with idealising a relationship or our interactions with another person.” Read as: the real person might not be as good as your delusion of them.
Bumble backs that being a delulu (someone who enjoys the occasional delusionship fantasy) could be a good thing, as the trend coincides with an overwhelmingly positive outlook to dating. 73% of global Gen Z singles on Bumble are said to be “'Seizing the Date’ and saying they feel positive about the romance that lies ahead.”
This article was originally published on Glamour UK.