The Deceptive Art Of Future Faking Isn’t Exclusive To Narcissists

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In the world of dating, there’s a subtle tactic known as future faking. It involves making grand promises about the future to gain favor in the present, even if there’s no intention to follow through. While often associated with narcissistic behavior, future faking isn’t confined to that field; it’s prevalent in the dating scene for its manipulative allure.

In simpler terms, it’s about telling someone what they want to hear about the future to get what you want from them now.

In this article, we’ll delve into the complexities of future faking, going beyond its surface to examine its impact on relationships beyond just being a tool of narcissistic manipulation.  When you know the signs of future faking, there’s no need to do meticulous research, get a PhD in toxic relationships, or determine if someone is a narcissist (or what their story is).

Understanding Future Faking

The term ‘future faking’ is older than the current material we have about narcissism and isn’t exclusive to narcissists. 

Future faking is the act of making false promises or commitments about the future to manipulate or deceive someone in the present. While it can manifest in different forms, its essence lies in creating an illusion of a beautiful or shared future, usually without genuine intent or commitment.

No one in the current niche of narcissistic abuse and recovery coined the term ‘future-faking’. It gained prominence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries with the rise of self-help literature, relationship counseling, and online forums discussing interpersonal dynamics.

Aside from its associations with narcissism, it can be used to describe anyone who wants to paint a picture of a beautiful future, from the person you went on a date with to a car salesperson to the ingenuine employer who uses future faking to make it seem that your possibilities at their company are endless. 

This deceptive tactic can take various shapes, from outlandish declarations of love and commitment, to detailed plans for shared experiences and life milestones that never seem to transpire.

Motivations Behind Future Faking

Contrary to popular belief, future faking isn’t exclusive to narcissistic individuals. It can also be used by the emotionally unavailable and those with little emotional intelligence. 

Future faking usually happens most intensely and frequently at the start of a relationship.  Future fakers engage in this behavior for many reasons, each stemming from their unique desires, self-centeredness, and agendas.

  1. Self-Interest: Some individuals use future faking to fulfill their desires or maintain control in the relationship. By painting an enticing picture of the future, they seek validation, attention, or emotional fulfillment in the present moment, without genuine regard for their partner’s feelings or expectations.
  2. Avoidance of Confrontation: For others, future faking serves as a shield against uncomfortable conversations or potential conflict. By making grand promises about the future, they postpone addressing underlying issues or making real decisions, effectively buying time while maintaining the status quo.
  3. Manipulation for Personal Gain: Much like narcissists, certain individuals employ future faking as a calculated manipulation tactic to exploit the emotions or resources of their partners. Whether it’s eliciting trust, financial support, or unwavering loyalty, they use false promises as a means to an end, without any intention of fulfilling them.  They may want to paint a flawless image of themselves and stop you from choosing other options or partners.
  4. Conformity to Social Expectations: External pressures from societal norms or peer influence can also drive individuals to engage in future faking. They might feel compelled to make commitments about the future because it’s expected in their social circle or perceived as the norm, even if they harbor doubts or reservations about their intentions.
  5. Instant Gratification: Lastly, some individuals indulge in future faking to satisfy their immediate desires for affection, validation, or attention. By weaving elaborate fantasies of a shared future, they seek validation and emotional fulfillment in the moment, often without considering the long-term consequences or implications for their partner.

Impact on Relationships

The repercussions of future faking can be profound, leading to disillusionment, distrust, and emotional turmoil within relationships. When false promises are exposed, it shatters the foundation of trust and undermines the authenticity of the connection between partners.  

The betrayed partner is left grappling with feelings of betrayal, confusion, and resentment, while the perpetrator may face consequences ranging from being deemed untrustworthy to engaging in further manipulation and deception. It generally only works on those who are already needy of something or who are unsuspecting.  Thus, if you stay mindful of possible future faking while you’re dating, and don’t imprint onto someone too early, you will already be ahead of the game.

THRIVE programAvoiding the Disney Trap: Pacing and Realism in Dating

In today’s society, the influence of pop culture, particularly media portrayals of love and romance, can shape our perceptions and expectations of relationships. The notion of finding “the one” and living happily ever after, often perpetuated by Disney fairy tales and romantic comedies, can instill unrealistic ideals and fuel the desire for instant gratification in our dating lives. However, it’s essential to recognize the pitfalls of falling for the Disney trap and approach dating with a sense of realism and appropriate pacing.

1—Tempering Expectations: Disney culture often presents an idealized version of love and romance, where every encounter is imbued with magic, and every relationship unfolds effortlessly toward a fairy tale ending. However, real-life relationships are far more complex and nuanced, with challenges, conflicts, and compromises inherent in the journey. By tempering our expectations and embracing the messiness of real-life connections, we can avoid setting ourselves up for disappointment when reality fails to meet the fantastical standards set by Disney fantasies.

2 – Appropriate Pacing: In the whirlwind of romance, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new relationship and rush headlong into declarations of undying love and grandiose promises about the future. However, it’s crucial to maintain a sense of perspective and pace the progression of the relationship appropriately. Building trust and intimacy takes time, and rushing into commitments without truly getting to know the other person can leave us vulnerable to future faking and deception.

3 – Remembering Reality: While the initial stages of dating can be filled with excitement and anticipation, it’s essential to remember that the person we’re dating is still virtually a stranger until we’ve spent enough time with them to understand who they are truly. Just as we wouldn’t trust a stranger with our most intimate secrets or make life-altering decisions based on a brief encounter, we shouldn’t invest our hearts and futures in someone we’ve only just met. Taking the time to cultivate genuine connections and assess compatibility allows us to make informed decisions about the relationship’s future, free from the illusions of Disney-inspired fantasies.

By resisting the allure of Disney culture and embracing a more realistic and measured approach to dating, we can guard against the pitfalls of future faking and build genuine connections based on trust, mutual respect, and shared values. 

If you’re not sure what future faking looks like in real life, following are nine common examples.

9 Clear Indicators of Future Faking

  1. You’re swept into a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true, fulfilling your ultimate fantasy overnight.
  2. They incessantly talk about a promising future together, but when you inquire further, they become defensive, irritable, or change the subject.
  3. Despite their grand promises, their actions don’t align with the intensity of their words. Instead of genuine warmth and connection, they seek control over you.
  4. When you confront them about unfulfilled promises, they react aggressively, and shift blame onto you.
  5. Your family members express doubts about your newfound romance, contrasting with your enthusiastic descriptions of your partner’s supposed generosity and kindness.
  6. You’ve suffered significant losses—financially, in relationships, time, or even employment—due to their empty pledges. Perhaps you’ve invested in plans they proposed, like buying plane tickets or making down payments on a house.
  7. If you question their sincerity, they undergo a drastic transformation overnight, exhibiting inconsistent behavior characterized by alternating between being affectionate and distant.
  8. They exhibit hot and cold behavior, changing their demeanor drastically depending on the circumstances, especially when their sincerity is questioned.
  9. They may simply ghost you altogether. 

Navigating the Terrain of Future Faking

In a landscape rife with uncertainty and deception, navigating the terrain of future faking requires a discerning eye and a steadfast commitment to authenticity. Here are some strategies for identifying and addressing future faking in relationships:

  1. Cultivate Awareness: Recognize the signs of future faking, such as extravagant promises without tangible actions, inconsistent behavior, and a pattern of unfulfilled commitments. Trust your instincts and be wary of individuals who seem too eager to paint a picture-perfect future without substance or sincerity.
  2. Communicate Openly: Foster open and honest communication in your relationships, encouraging transparency and vulnerability. Share your hopes, fears, and expectations for the future, and be receptive to your partner’s input. Address any discrepancies or concerns openly and respectfully, without resorting to accusations or blame.
  3. Evaluate Actions Over Words: Pay attention to your partner’s actions rather than their words. Actions speak louder than words, and consistent behavior is a far more reliable indicator of commitment and sincerity than empty promises or grandiose declarations.
  4. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries in your relationships and assertively communicate your needs and expectations. Be prepared to enforce consequences if those boundaries are violated, whether through disengaging from the relationship or seeking support from trusted friends or professionals. 

Conclusion

Future faking is a pervasive phenomenon in the realm of relationships, extending beyond narcissism to include a spectrum of motivations and intentions. By cultivating awareness, fostering open communication, and setting boundaries, individuals can navigate the terrain of future faking with clarity and integrity, preserving the authenticity and trust that form the cornerstone of genuine connections.  

 In a world where deceit is commonplace, let’s prioritize honesty and authenticity as we navigate the journey toward lasting fulfillment.

One way to prepare yourself for authentic love is with the THRIVE program.  Embark on a transformative journey towards finding true love after emotional abuse. The first step is acknowledging your worth and believing in the possibility of a brighter future.

If these words are speaking to you, then know that you have come to the RIGHT place. Click here to learn more about THRIVE.  


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1 comment
M says April 16, 2024

Another great article! This is so on time. I’m now 40…met my husband at 23 (he was several years older) and after years of being married, I realize that he “future faked” me.

I won’t share all the details, but I have woken up to how deceitful he has been about things that matter.
So now I’m in a position of not really knowing what to do, because there is no way out of this.
I still love him (or maybe who he pretended to be?) but after 16 years together, I see that most of it has been fake.

He has also been showing a side of himself that has me a bit concerned. Very distant, aloof, showing contempt and indifference, sometimes being rather unkind.
He claims that it is “stress” making him act this way. I feel that there’s more to it…gambling/sports betting, porn addiction, and possibly affairs with several women in real life (one of them is old enough to be my mom).

He future faked me by saying that we would have a family someday. He knew that I wanted children, especially with a man I loved.
He knew how important this was because I grew up in a situation where I often felt unloved and unwanted.
I was abused and neglected at times by my family. So I always wished for a healthy, intact, loving family.
That’s not based on Disney…I don’t believe in fairy tales. It was based on a very real and normal desire for happiness in my life.

If I could rewind time to be 23 again, I probably would not have married him or wasted all this time.
It may sound terrible but that’s how I feel. I love him but he isn’t the person I thought he was.
When somebody future fakes you, it is a blow to discover that they are so dishonest and shady. You can’t believe most of anything they say anymore. It also puts you in a vulnerable place where you can’t make the best choices for yourself, because you have been deceived for a long time.
Thanks for this helpful article.

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