Can you truly fall in love with a fictional character?

Analyse a human being’s ability to fall in love with a character – written, portrayed or presented in any form – despite the fact that that character can never acknowledge that person or return their love. In essence; is it possible to love a fictional character unrequitedly.

  • A truly fascinating topic. One reason someone might fall in love with a character is because the story that character was in helped that person through tough times. I and many other people go through rough spots in our daily lives, and we often escape reality through a book, or a TV show, or what ever else . We might attach ourselves to a specific character because we feel they fill in a gap in our real lives that is surely lacking. Maybe a character made us laugh, cry, or inspire bravery we never knew we had inside ourselves. – Aaron Hatch 8 years ago
  • Fictional characters are never completely "fictitious" in nature. As readers we often find ourselves related to them in way or another. To take superheroes for example, apart from their powers, their life struggles are never too far from our own challenges. – aferozan 8 years ago
  • This seems like it would be incredibly interesting. As readers, we get to know the main character of a novel incredibly intimately, more so than any other character in the story. I suppose it depends largely on one's definition of love, but we certainly have powerful emotional attachments to these characters. – Null 8 years ago
  • Fictional characters can be every bit as well fleshed-out as any real person in our lives, I think. It is the depth of a character that allows someone to experience a depth of emotions in relation to that character. But is love possible? I don't know myself, which I suppose is what makes this an intriguing concept for me. If I were to posit a single question, I would have to wonder whether someone could ever love someone that would be completely unable to ever react to their own presence. People fall in love with fictional characters all the time--it's a big reason why some relationships fail, I think--the misperception and misrepresentation of someone as something desirable to that person. The real question at hand is whether it can be love when this very "person" does not even truly exist outside of a limited fantasy world. I wonder if you could maybe find instances of this? Or perhaps case studies related to the topic? Most certainly, you'd have to relate someone's personal feelings for a fictional character, and whether or not those feelings truly exist. – Farrow 8 years ago
  • Absolutely, it is the safest way to fall in love. All the vicarious pleasure and non of the pain! – Munjeera 8 years ago
  • This is an amazing topic. Seriously, really, really cool. I think it's definitely possible, especially, and the writer of this topic may want to touch upon this, if the person who is falling in love is the actual author of the story. – Jaye Freeland 8 years ago
  • I really like this idea. I think the concept of "love" here would be a bit different, naturally, from the bond between two real people. You could explore how it may be comforting or maybe build confidence when someone finds interest in a fictional character. In other words, it can possibly help prepare them for a relationship in real life perhaps. – Filippo 8 years ago
  • I would love to see the examples you use to analyze someone's ability to fall in love with a ficitonal character. I think perhaps going from different aspects (film, movies, novels,) would be a great approach. I think it's definitely possible especially with some of the fanfiction I've read in recent years. – alexusariana 8 years ago
  • I wouldn't say truly, I would call it more of an infatuation, since you are not getting a two sided relationship. Much like when you develop a crush on someone and you are seeing them with rose colored glasses. – Quinzel 8 years ago
  • I think people can truly fall in love with a fictional character. As another user has mentioned, this is especially possible if the character is two-dimensional and relatable, or just overall very likable and courageous. This makes for a very interesting and fascinating topic. – enizzari 8 years ago
  • Wow...as a literature and psychology major I am placed in a precarious situation while approaching this topic. The book lover in me wants to say, "of course you can," whereas the psychoanalytical thinking side is about to grab the DSM and see if there is a clinical diagnosis for this. I think, as with all things in life, a key facet to consider is moderation; to truly admire the qualities of a character and find them to be an incomparable being is fine. Yet, if a reader becomes so fixated with a character that they are unable to engage in a real relationship due to holding their standard of acceptable partnership based on this particular character--then this is problematic! But, when we find a character we truly love and hate to finish the last page because it means saying goodbye, this is the bittersweet beauty of writing that we all hope to emulate. – danielle577 8 years ago
  • Courtly (not Courtney) love, anyone? Seems similar since the public self is not the private self. – Tigey 8 years ago
  • Yes. It is absolutely possible. How do I know? I've been dealing with this for almost 9 years of my life. I thought that after a few years of growing up and maturing, I'd be out of all of that, but it's still here, and I'm about to turn 20 years old. I'm not claiming to be all mentally stable, as I can perfectly tell it's not normal, nor sane; I know this because I've read about some people claiming to ''be in love'' with a character, but it's, at least in all cases I've read of, superficial, and it's over a few months later. For me... it's a tad more complicated. I don't really know how to explain it myself, but someone above said this: ''The real question at hand is whether it can be love when this very "person" does not even truly exist outside of a limited fantasy world.'' and I feel I can answer this perfectly. In order for the ''romance'' to work, one would have to live inside of that fantasy world, or at least in a way, ''bring it'' to reality. Take the character, and adapt it to our daily lives, and constantly imagine his/her reaction to given situations, even if he or she's not really there. I know it sounds crazy. But it was something that I couldn't control. It was as if my mind was working autonomously, and to be honest, I loved the feeling, because those ''crushes'' wouldn't last a few months, but years. I had trouble dealing with reality, and I became obsessive more than once, in an incredibly high level. I used to feel the character's presence all the time, as if I had to ''prove'' I was worthy of him. I used to fuel my feelings by learning about that character, so I could properly imagine his reactions, as if he was real. And then, I could get all the ''reciprocation'' in my mind, all the time, even without asking for it. I know, it's totally mental. As of now, I've learned how to control this, and it doesn't nearly affect me like to that level anymore. But I guess I can find a reason why I used to feel all of this. I've tested myself and got Avoidant Personality Disorder in the past; I was incredibly self-conscious, and had extremely low self-esteem. It was a long way, but I guess falling in love with characters was a way of coping with this, all this lack of love I've always felt I had. As I said, it still happens to me, but I more or less know how to control it, and I don't even feel anxious, or all that stuff anymore. Still, it was incredibly hard for me to walk away from all of this, as no one ever thought it was a pathology (I can clearly see it was, of some sort, as I didn't feel it was very natural), merely a very funny and peculiar characteristic of me, and I've never found any other case of it, at least not like mine. I guess people never knew it was a problem for me, because I've always acted very happy and ''cutely-obssesive'' over those characters I used to be in love with, but... Yes, it is possible, though I wouldn't wish it for anyone the way it happened to me. Beside all the happiness one could get by ''feeling loved'', it comes with a pretty messed up secondary effects, really. – IsabellaGranger 8 years ago
  • IsabellaGranger I am currently going through the same thing. I lost the feelings I had for my girlfriend when I fell in love with the character. – AidenBender 7 years ago
  • I'm currently experiencing this, it's been 5 years. It's so severe I decided to never find "real life" love because I'm just... Not interested. No one compares to him. Nobody understands and I don't even dare to explain, honestly I'm just wishing to die. Loving someone so much and never see him it's not worth it, but I can't seem to forget him. I'm so ashamed of me for getting myself being this ill and never did anything to get "normal"... – Crossinguniverse 7 years ago
  • This has happened to me a variety of times with video game characters not to the extreme of denying a potential mate but I have always wanted to fall in love at some point in life and no person has ever (that I know of) felt the same way about me and I tend to gravitate to fictional video game characters. I currently have it very strongly with a character and I think its my fault that i got back into this feeling for playing this particular game (farming living a peaceful life and finding someone to marry and giving gifts to make them fall for you). This has really made me think non stop about this character who shares the same feeling that I have for her. And believe me i really wish I could completely erase these feelings away but they are very strong right now, I just hope that in a month or two I completely loose them because loving someone that doesn't even exist is very painful. So all in all I think its very possible to fall in love with fictional characters because its happened to me many times. – N8004 7 years ago
  • Cogito ergo sum my friend, the only one truth If you think outside the box reality is just another fiction and fiction is just another reality, yes you can fall in love with a fictional character but you can't create any bonds – Sham 7 years ago
  • Guys... If you happen to be going through this right now...Please send a PM to my facebook account adressing the problem...I'm still going through this too, and I feel I kind of retraced my steps into mentality again... I can't seem to completely let go of it and it worries me, but I feel maybe talking about it can help us all. We could do a helping group of some sort. My facebook is Isabella Granger, I'll add the link below if you want to message me and see if we can help each other. https://m.facebook.com/isabella.granger.16?ref=m_notif&notif_t=wall – IsabellaGranger 7 years ago
  • I will fill this array, it happened to me too. For me it's maybe different from you, since I'm a guy, married, got kids, still fell in love with fictional woman. I love my wife a lot and it happened I got close to the lady off story. Than I realized I feel unusual towards her, almost same when I met my wife, yet different. Life story of this lady somehow resembles mine from past off younger age and then how it unravel and so one on so forth, it just happened. This woman is different from my wife, got less valuable everything than my wife, kinda rebel - devil - like my younger me, contrary angelic nature of my wife. Since I changed later on, seems old habits reside my memory. I'm fascinated not so much by those feelings rather the fact its possible in terms of psychology. I mostly take logical stances towards opinions and this is more fascinating than anything especially due empathy. Anyway I decided not to feel bad for this, rather fully submit to this for purpose of testing my mind. Plus it feels great, I'm somehow happy all the time my eyes are open, want to sing all day, everything is awesome. Everyone noticed I changed a bit, not so gloomy, smiling, less stressed, sleep better... Miracle or curse, have yet to discover. At least my next love doesn't argue about my scientific intentions :) – Khimari 7 years ago
  • I have yet to find a Della Street in real life. – Antonius865 7 years ago
  • I really want to see this topic investigated and researched in more depth. I think it would be important to look into the psychology of love and the variety of emotions that accompany each type. The love I have for my mother or best friend is not the same as a male or female fictional character. However, is one more superior or more valid than the other? Why do we feel connected to certain characters? Are they some kind of archetype for people in our lives? Perhaps they represent what we are personally missing. Interested in what others think. – Emily 7 years ago
  • you can fall in love with the idea of the character as being real. We all have a fantasy of a person that we would like to be with – Karenwest8 6 years ago
  • I doubt any true research could be done on this topic, because the variables are too great. Just the definition of "falling in love with a fictional character" means different things to different people, and is experienced differently by all those above who have experienced it. One definition of "falling in love" I've found on the Web is one by Fredric Neuman, who states the following: "Let me define falling in love as well as I can, so we know what we are talking about. One person finds himself/herself excited and preoccupied with someone else and desirous of touching that person and being with that person as much as possible. That strong physical attraction usually includes sexual feelings. There is a frequent desire to share thoughts and experiences, even trivial experiences. It is a headlong, pleasurable feeling that, everyone seems to agree, colors judgment so that the loved person is not seen clearly. Vague fantasies of a dramatic nature enter into the lover’s thoughts. The rest of life fades a little behind this dramatic daydream. It is as if there is a magnetic attraction to the other person that transcends rational thought. It is so powerful that, like other powerful feelings, such as grief, it seems to the affected person that it will last forever. It is the sort of thing people write songs about." The above is probably true for the infatuation phase of falling in love. It's a chemical reaction that eventually fades into attachment and companionship. If it's true love, then when the infatuation is done with, the attachment still remains. If someone falls in love for a few months or a year with a character, then moves on to another one, then maybe it was just a temporary "fling", like in real life. But I think the author of the subject above meant the love that comes after the infatuation. I think it's possible for a lot of people to fall into infatuation with a fictional character, but to actually fall in love, to be attached for years and years to the same character, even after it's not all butterflies anymore? All I can say is that, from personal experience, it's possible. I've only been in love with one fictional character, and it's been fourteen years. I also need to mention that presently I've been in a stable and happy real-life relationship for the past four years. Before that, I've had a few other normal relationships too. But when I first "met" that character 14 years ago, I couldn't even fathom a real life relationship for about five to six years. That character did not consume my life; I wasn't obsessed with him every single second of every day. I had other personal hobbies and social events that I enjoyed, during which I did not think of him at all. But I thought of him often. I could easily picture him in the bus next to me, or across the table from me. I could picture conversations with him, especially at night in bed, talking about my day, him talking about his day. In moments when I needed encouragement or comfort, I could picture him saying the words to me, and I felt much better afterwards, ready to tackle whatever obstacle. When I thought of him, my feelings were as real to me as anything I've felt after him. He was my first love. I didn't know what love was back then, so I just thought it was some teenage obsession that would fade in time. Except it never did, even to this day. I've fallen in love with two real men after him. Each was different, but each time I knew it was love. Presently, I'm very happy and in love with my boyfriend. But that's also why I know it was also "love" with that character. In fact, because of the fictional nature of him, it's the most perfect love of the three. Nowadays, I think less about him, but when I do, it is with the same fondness as fourteen years ago. I can still picture him clearly with me if I want to. For example, today I haven't thought of him at all, but now as I write about him here, I feel the same rush, the same love, I've always felt. I think, just as a first love, he will always stay with me until the day I die. Due to his nature, ours is a bond that is special. I always thought time would erode this bond, but so far it is still as vibrant as it's always been. And truly I'm thankful for it. I would never wish it to be otherwise. I consider my life to be better because of what I experienced and continue to experience with him. Whether it's delusion or something else, it doesn't hurt anyone. Not me nor my present relationship. So it's all good in my book. Not sure if sharing this helped to shed any light on the subject, but I hope it did. – burningsunset 6 years ago
  • Isabella Granger. I have felt the same...I have always wondered if other people have actually experienced it – darthrevan17 6 years ago
  • Why not? What’s the difference between a fictional charachter written by a real person, with feelings and consciousness, than falling in love with someone you meet through internet? The first moment when you meet someone through internet is through words. That’s pretty much the same when reading a book and for the first time meeting the fictional charachter. Written words. That’s all. Unless the fictional charachter is played by an actor, but let’s talk about the in-book charachters instead. Now imagine that you ask the author if they can talk to you in charachters name... And they do it. Now, is falling in love with charachters any more/less real than it is with falling in love with actual people through internet? As much as I know, there are many couples who met through internet and are years happily together. It is possible! Love knows NO boundaries. No limits. Love is free. It’s giving, it’s healing. The more we love someone unconditionally, the more we heal ourselves, thus why people (above and on other sites) talk how fictional charachters helped them through life. Why is Leonardo Da Vinci more “real” than it is, say, Samwise Gamgee, charachter from LotR? First of all, we cannot meet Leonardo, unless we read books about him and see some of his art work. Same goes for Samwise. We can only read about him in the book. However, what if the author would have had drawn few scribbles in Samwise’ name, then add that they are Sam’s drawings, while the author (when drawing for himself and not in the name of a charachter he created) would draw with completely different art style. Can you now see how ‘real’ Sam would suddenly appear to be compared with Leonardo Da Vinci? It’s like a fictional charachter just “borrows” the mind of the author to write about themselves on a paper, OR the author just merely talks about a person from their memory... What makes the ‘person’ the author talks about more or less real? The fact that he/she says “my charachter is strictly fictituous”? Who says it is, even if they do say so themselves? The author observes human behaviour, takes inspiration from others, or merely just writes about people they want to meet, or hate? A lot of authors said “My protagonist was inspired by ....” and some say ‘best friends’, the others ‘my idol’ aaaaaaand then there are those authors who even give the main charachter THEIR OWN TRAITS. All they do is simply change name or age or even gender (physichal appearance). I personally could now “create” a charachter out of my head... describe him/her here to you everyone, then add at the end that it is fictuous... while noone would know that in real I was just merely describing myself. This is why the question “What makes us all more real than the fictional charachters?” It cannot be that we are made of flesh and bones, right? This is not ‘reality’. It is just 3D reality (aka Matrix). What makes us ALIVE even after we die, is our consciousness. THIS makes us REAL. Consciousness. Without it... well... you are none existent. Even if all you have is body... you don’t exist, or you are like a human plant. So what is a fictional charachter? It is born from our conscious minds. Who knows... maybe the fictional charachter you just came up with is perhaps a distant memory your consciousness forgot (but subconsciousness not) of a past friend from your past life?Possibilities are endless. This is why a charachter, be it fictituous, historic person like Da Vinci, or a person through internet are all the same... Say you meet a stranger for a short time, they end up becoming your aquaintance... You only got to touch/peek the surface of their personality, meaning you don’t know them too well. Something happens and you never see them ever. But that little MEMORY is all that’s left of them. Memory, meaning it’s just inside your head now (especially if you took no pics of them). What’s in head is instantly illusion created by your brains. Now you miss that aquaintance sooooo much, you start to imagine a life with them. Or you being friends with them. Since you don’t know them too much you can only imagine (or guess) what kind of personality they will have if you’d have had spended more time with them. The same goes for fictional charachters. Therefore to call ourselves more ‘real’ because we exist momentary in a 3D reality, the physichal realm, is absurd! There’s a HIGH chance that the fictional ‘person’ we came up with, has a similar (if not the same) personality like perhaps a human looking Extraterrestrial from another galaxy. ;) As I said, possibilities are endless, and if the fact that people are STILL discovering this TINY planet called Earth (Terra), and also no amount of books about psychology can 100% describe a human complex mind... now add the infinite multiverses and you can pretty much feel how little we are and how the universe itself is beyond magical, and the reality we per – Orion 6 years ago

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