By continuing to hope for the best, you can fool yourself and get deeper and deeper entangled in a toxic relationship. Check to see if a similar thing is happening to you.

You have been in a relationship for quite some time and you have been waiting for your partner to change for the better. It seems to you that this person has the potential for such positive changes and if it is realised, your union will turn into something you can only dream of. But time goes by, nothing changes, and it becomes increasingly difficult to leave this person.

If you are familiar with this situation, you are far from alone – many people fall into this trap, who focus on their fantasies rather than reality. As psychotherapist Lea Aguirre explains, if you look at a relationship “through rose-coloured glasses”, it’s hard for you to realise that this person may not be who you imagined him to be. He’s just not right for you, you’re at odds in your core values, and he’s never going to change in the direction you’d like.

Here are six major signs that you’re stuck in an imaginary version of a relationship:

  1. You’re constantly thinking about the future of your relationship, how things could have been, rather than enjoying your partner in the present.
  2. You often reminisce about the past, about how great things were between you when the relationship first started. This initial version of your partner attracts you much more than who they are in the present.
  3. You keep looking for and finding excuses for your partner’s toxic behaviour.
  4. You catch yourself trying to hide the problems between you from friends and family and become defensive if anyone questions your happiness in the relationship.
  5. You feel that you are much more invested in the relationship than your partner, trying to change, adjusting to him, and he remains the same.
  6. You are endlessly unhappy, but you try to find rational explanations for it, ignoring your instincts that say you need to escape from this relationship.