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  • Understanding the' Fantasy Bond'

    A “fantasy bond” describes an illusion of connection between a couple that is substituted for feelings of real love and intimacy.

  • How Do I Know if I Have a Fantasy Bond?

    The fantasy bond exists when the reality of a deep, loving feeling is replaced by a more robotic form of going through the motions of an intimate relationship. Many factors including childhood experiences, the repeating of past patterns and a fear of being alone can drive people to a fantasy bond.

  • The Fantasy Bond: A substitute for a truly loving relationship

    A fantasy bond is the antithesis of a healthy personal relationship where individuals are free to express their real feelings and desires. This destructive tie functions to perpetuate feelings of distrust, self-hating thought processes, and the inward behavior patterns that each person brings to the relationship.

  • Breaking the Fantasy Bond with Our Mothers

    As women struggle to become their own person, to develop their own identity, to feel confident in their personal and professional goals, and to keep passion and love alive in their relationship, they often experience a kind of anticipatory fear that their independence and sexuality will threaten the illusory connection with their mother.

A “fantasy bond” describes an illusion of connection between a couple that is substituted for feelings of real love and intimacy. Forming a fantasy bond is an often unconscious act of self-parenting and self-protection, in which two people become pseudo-independent, replacing the real relating involved in being in love with the form of being a “couple.” The degree of reliance on a fantasy bond is proportional to the degree of frustration and pain experienced in a person’s developmental years. In this section, you can learn why fantasy bonds are formed, what qualities make up a fantasy bond, and how to avoid falling into an unhealthy “bond” in your own relationships.

Stay in Love by Staying Out of Fantasy

Learn to Love

There may now be hard science behind the notion that true love can last a lifetime. A neurological study from Stony Brook University revealed that couples who experience “romantic love” long-term can keep their brains firing in similar ways to couples who ...

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Real Love or a Fantasy Bond

fantasy bond webinar

A Webinar with Dr. Lisa Firestone – Living a life in which we are truly loved and loving toward another person is not as easy as it is assumed to be. The challenges we face in getting close to someone can ...

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Working with High-Conflict Couples


A CE Webinar with Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. – In 2004, a national survey revealed that “how couples argue was more related to divorce potential than was what they argue about.” As therapists, many of us observe this reality on countless occasions throughout ...

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Fantasy Bond


Film supplement to the book “The Fantasy Bond”. In this dynamic interview, Dr. Robert W. Firestone discusses his concept of the “Fantasy Bond” and its relationship to the neurotic process with Dr. Richard Sieden, suicidologist, and Barry Langberg, attorney. The ...

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The Fantasy Bond


A CE Webinar with Dr. Lisa Firestone – What is real intimacy? How do we define a close relationship? When working with couples what are we trying to help achieve? How do we distinguish between a truly close relationship and an illusion ...

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Sex and Society


Subtitle: Everyday Abuses to Children’s Emerging Sexuality. Distorted attitudes towards sex and prejudicial views of men and women are often learned in family interactions, explicitly through imitation. These disturbances about sexuality are retained throughout life and cause serious problems in ...

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Exploring Relationships


What are people looking for in a mate? Why are many people deceptive in their closest relationships? Why do they find it so difficult to sustain love and closeness? In this film, the participants, with refreshing candor, discuss topics of ...

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Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships

Sex Love

by Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D. Lisa A. Firestone, Ph.D. Joyce Catlett, M.A. Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships proposes that sexual problems are largely related to defenses acquired through painful childhood experiences, and that individuals can be helped to overcome these ...

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The Fantasy Bond

The Fantasy Bond

by Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D. Foreword by R.D. Laing, M.D. Based on 28 years of research into the problem of resistance, this book offers a consistently developed set of hypotheses centering around the concept of the “fantasy bond,” an illusion ...

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