The group chat is called ‘We’re a throuple and we know it (clap your hands)’.
You’ve attached a word effect to someone’s name. I’ve attached one to the term ‘Delulu’. I tell you everything that’s happened, and the first thing you decide to point out is that you’re very concerned I said it wasn’t a ‘sexy’ mate text, as if there is a way to use the word ‘mate’ sexily. I argue my defence and your partner takes my side. I’m already embarrassed I might be getting excited over nothing, so when we get carried away discussing the seductive possibilities of the word ‘comrade’, I drop the previous subject and try to let the hope simmer down.
Inside us all, there are two wolves. In my case, they are both delusional. And they have both been starving because I’ve refused to feed them.
To be delusional is to face facts with fantasy. It means to dare to dream in the face of a concerning lack of evidence.
Being delusional is a very artistic pursuit, I think.
You have to reject rationality, embrace abstract breadcrumbing, develop a parasocial relationship with a TikTok tarot reader who encourages your pursuits, choose to hope despite having little to nothing to go off of, and then you’ve pretty much got it! (This isn’t the only route to delusionality, but it’s a well-worn path.)
Suffering from delusionality, being delusional over someone, and identifying yourself as part of a ‘delusionship’ are all ways of saying you’ve unilaterally attached yourself to the idea of someone and are unable or unwilling to let go.
*A very important thing to note is that delusionality should not excuse or forgive stalking, persistent attempts to engage with a person who has expressed they are not interested in you, or any other creepy and inappropriate behaviours.
I think innocent delusionality can be fun, in small doses. As long as you don’t get too attached to the illusion, and it doesn’t cause harm to you or anyone involved, I’m all for it. There’s joy to be found in the excitement of a brush of hands, and the belief that it could be something more. Sure, they might have sent that TikTok around to a bunch of people, but what if they only sent it to you? What if they were looking for an excuse to text? The childlike giddiness feels good. And it’s nice to hold on to that nice feeling, especially when so many other things (contemporary major historical events, cost of living and housing crisis, loneliness epidemic, mental illnesses, overwhelming sense of dread etc.) make you feel not so great.
I like to dip my toes in delusionality when I need a pick me up, or when I need to distract myself. To be delulu can be a (temporary) solulu to other things, such as boredom or a general lack of thrill in your life.
I am a self-aware delusional girlie, which means delusionality is a choice and I ration her fiercely. As long as I’m not too attached to the delusions, I’m fine with them existing momentarily, in a vacuum in my brain.
But – and although I am fantastic at compartmentalising – not getting attached to the delusions isn’t always easy. I know that I can’t just will them to life, but it’s hard when I don’t want them to fade away into the dusty storeroom of what could’ve been.
I like to think I have a pretty solid grasp of reality. I touch grass every once and a while, I see people other than my own reflection on my work monitors, I definitely have friends. (I definitely have friends). However, my grasp of reality was recently challenged.
I had a casual friend – a medium-term, short-distance, low-commitment casual friend, if you will – who I’d hang out with on a somewhat regular basis. From the very beginning, I knew nothing could develop between us, and I found the lack of commitment comforting in a lot of ways. But a part of me wanted to be delusional over them. A ridiculous thing. I knew we could never happen; I knew wanting it would just be painful and dramatic, I was determined not to ruin a good time… and yet, I still yearned to be delusional.
Starving the urge to sit in the whimsy of it all and imagine different outcomes was a full-time job. And it wasn’t healthy.
Rationalising the situation helped dim the illusions, but I didn’t feel it was enough. So, after I finished reciting all the reasons nothing could go further between us, reminded myself of their definitive lack of romantic forwardness, unpacked my own emotional unavailability, and convinced myself it was most probable that everything we did just meant nothing, I began turning on myself.
My internal monologue was harsh.
Every Wait, do they like me? Was swiftly answered with a Of course not. Why would they?
Every What did it mean when they… ended up in a Nothing. I mean nothing to them.
I kept the delusions at bay by keeping myself insecure.
If you haven’t gotten to this conclusion on your own yet, let me spell out: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT follow my example. I fuck around and find out so that you don’t have to.
For all the obvious reasons, making myself feel insecure was a terrible coping mechanism.
I think the discomfort of being mean to myself might have ended up being greater than the discomfort of possibly getting attached and potentially embarrassing myself could have ever been.
Once I got my shit together, I started being a lot kinder to myself. And I started to worry a lot less too. We must all resurface to reality at some point (at least that’s what I’ve been told), but the painfully self-aware delulu side of TikTok can be pretty funny.
Even though I haven’t been delusional for a while, I’m not as afraid of it anymore. What’s the worst-case scenario – I get rejected? I end up embarrassed? I’ll live.
And you know what? I’ll probably write about it too.
Stay delulu, stay winning xx
UnSEXpected is a Glass column dedicated to the things we learn about sex and intimacy through conversations with friends. If you have any unique, funny or interesting stories you’d like to share, please get in touch! It’s the team’s goal to make this column a fun, safe and diverse space.