You've probably seen the ‘delulu’ trend making waves on TikTok. And if you’ve been living in the dreamy world of romantic optimism, you too might be a little delulu in the face of modern dating.
The birth of the delulu girl
The delulu concept has sprung from a dating landscape that, let's face it, can feel like a minefield. The world of ‘situationships’ and infinite dating options is a far cry from the love stories we saw in Disney movies growing up.
And in this new era of dating apps and undefined relationships, it can feel like you're on cloud nine one minute just to be left obsessively checking if they’ve viewed your Instagram story the next. It's against this backdrop that the delulu trend has blossomed.
Being delulu refers to when we over-romanticise our dating experiences and stay optimistically unrealistic, even when the signs suggest the relationship isn't heading in the expected direction.
What causes us to be delulu?
Relate Counsellor, Josh Smith says that the dating phase creates the ideal conditions for delulu behaviour, as we don’t fully know the person yet, flaws and all, which leaves room for us to project our ideal scenario onto them.
“We often know so little about the other person that there’s a lot of space for us to project our hopes and wants onto them, even if they’re not that interested” says Josh.
“Not everyone finds it easy or sexy to talk about the intricacies of the relationship at the start, and sometimes, what remains unsaid is part of the initial intrigue or allure in a relationship. It’s about subtext. When we go into relationships, often it's very unclear what's going on, and for some people, that can be what’s sexy about it while others may crave communication.”
After the initial mystique and intrigue has worn off, so usually too does the delulu phase as we come to accept reality. However, in some instances, the intensity and intrigue may develop into what is called limerence.
Being delulu vs limerence
While being delulu refers to being hopelessly optimistic and overly romanticising our dating lives, it's important to distinguish between being delulu and experiencing limerence. Limerence refers a state of intense obsession for a romantic or platonic interest. But unlike being delulu, which is more like a passing infatuation, limerence can stick around for years or even decades. It's characterised by intrusive and unwanted thoughts and involuntary desire for someone to return your feelings of affection.
Looking after your mental health
While the delulu trend is a fun, light-hearted way to navigate dating, it can be useful to check in with ourselves and make sure it’s not doing more harm than good. At the end of the day, our feelings and mental health are important and deserve to be respected. If being delulu feels like it’s becoming too much and is impacting your ability to enjoy dating, it might be time to set some boundaries and get clear on your needs and wants in your relationships.
So enjoy your delulu side – we all have one and it's part of the fun of dating. We’re here to help you decide what type of relationship is right for you, establish your boundaries and build relationships that help you to thrive.
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