All About Future Faking, The Dating Strategy Narcissists Love

Future faking is a term you might not have heard of before, but that’s not to say it isn’t extremely harmful and manipulative. Read on for more details about what it is and how toxic people use this dating strategy to take advantage of those of us who are legitimately looking for love.

What is future faking?

  1. It’s a promise used by narcissists. This isn’t just one promise in isolation, either, but an entire relationship founded on this desire to lie and manipulate. People who practice future faking in the dating world will make a host of increasingly ambitious, empty promises that they have no intention of delivering on, and never do.
  2. It’s inconsistent affection at its most harmful. We all know how inconstant affection or validation encourages people to chase that form of love. It’s because we always believe that the love we crave is just around the corner. It’s threatened and shown to us, as though it is always within reach, even when it isn’t. It’s toxic on so many levels to say that you want to be with someone forever when you don’t at all.
  3. Future fakers exploit our vulnerabilities. When we love someone, or when we’re in a relationship, we want to be understood and loved for who we are. However, future fakers will learn that information about us and use it to their advantage to exploit our vulnerabilities. If we share that we want something, or that we’ve been burned before, they will use that to make promises that lead us on. For example, if you had a horrible breakup or divorce, a future faker will promise you a safe space for your kids, even though he will never actually meet them. It puts lots of people’s emotions at risk.

What are the effects of this dating practice on its victims?

  1. It erodes your sense of trust. In essence, you’re constantly being lied to. That’s the harsh thing. There are no two ways of putting it; Future fakers are liars and deceitful. They’re calculating and know exactly what they’re doing when they plant the seeds of hope in you. It forces you to follow them around, always under the belief that they’re about to make good on their promise to look after you. It’s like a parasitic relationship — completely one-sided.
  2. The emotional abuse doesn’t stop. Future faking is a way of lying and pretending to a partner that you are as invested in the relationship as they are. If anything, they pretend to be even more invested than the victim. This is a form of emotional abuse because it changes and distorts the truth, and encourages people to put their life on hold while they play out their sick power trip fantasy.
  3. It also encourages gaslighting. Another form of emotional abuse that is associated with future faking is gaslighting. Often, when future fakers are called out on their actions or failed promises, they will pretend that they never said it. It’ll make the victims doubt themselves and convince them that it’s all in their heads. That’s really backward and you shouldn’t be sleeping with a guy like that.
  4. There are many consequences of future faking. Some of the impacts can be felt in emotional trauma, as well as in future relationships. In addition, there are real financial implications of living life on someone else’s timeline, such as down payments on a house or paying rent on a house that your partner has no intention of living in or paying back. It’s big, life-changing money.

How do narcissists use the strategy?

  1. It’s a tool of control. There are no two ways about it, Future faking is a way for insecure people to maintain control in a relationship so that they never risk losing anything. It’s not how people with emotional availability do things, and it often creates victims who go on to do the same because they never want that to happen again. Vicious cycles like this are the worst.
  2. It keeps people reliant on them. Everyone wants to be wanted, I can appreciate that. But that doesn’t give anyone the license to treat people like trash. We all deserve some basic respect and honesty. Denying partners that is really dangerous. They create that reliance only to take it away and feel the power over their victims.
  3. It forces victims to crave their attention. Victims waste away without the future faker and become weakened by their misguided love for them. The future faker instills in their victims a pathetic need to get validation. It’s almost a master-servant dynamic and is therefore hugely problematic.
  4. Victims of future faking have really low self-esteem. This impacts all the future relationships that victims of this abuse pursue. It fundamentally lowers their standards for a partner while also destroying any ability to trust other partners. It’s so damaging.
  5. The manipulative narcissist will do it again, experts say. Mental health expert, Darius Cikanavicius writes that “future faking preys on your dreams and goals to fabulate a possible future so that they can string you along.” It prevents other people from achieving their ambitions and is a mechanism by which future fakers can elevate themselves at the expense of others. It’s how they work, and sadly, they will always behave that way. We can’t control it, we can only recognize the signs and get out of those situations.

The bottom line

What sucks is that love and dating aren’t foolproof. You can never tell if someone is being genuine no matter how good of a judge of character you are. All you can do is try to be aware of red flags (and act on them when you see them). You should also learn to trust your gut. If something is telling you that the person you’re dating is full of crap, listen to it. Your intuition is there to protect and guide you. The best thing you can do is let it.

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.