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Why Do I Pretend I’m Someone Else?

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From a woman in the U.S.:  I never grew out of the act of pretending to be someone else when you were a kid.  I will become obsessed with someone (famous or otherwise) and pretend to be them when I am alone.  I will even come up with scenarios to act out, and pretend there are others around that I will have imaginary conversations with.  I am female, and the people I usually become obsessed with are male.  Whatever they do, I will try to do the same thing (sing, play guitar, train for marathons, etc.).  I copy their hairstyle and clothing and if they have a significant other, I pretend that I am talking to them, sleeping with them, and having sex with them.

This past Christmas, I bought presents for myself and my imaginary spouse, and then acted out a scenario where we opened all of them.  Then when I get into a real relationship with a man or woman, I stop doing this altogether.  But as soon as I’m single again, this process starts over.  I don’t want to stop doing this, it makes me happy.  I guess my question is, am I schizophrenic or is there another term for what I am doing?  Do other adults my age still do this?

Why Do I Pretend I’m Someone Else?

Answered by on -


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines diagnosable mental disorders as:

health conditions involving

  • Significant changes in thinking, emotion and/or behavior
  • Distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities

It sounds to me like you have found an antidote to being lonely. At 58 and single, you have lots of practice with a fantasy life that is harmless. It doesn’t negatively impact your work life or your ability to make personal relationships. It isn’t distressing to you. It’s a private activity that you enjoy.

I don’t see any reason to change what you do unless it starts getting in the way of functioning or you start feeling regularly upset by it. If that happens, then see a counselor to talk about whether you should be concerned and, if so, what to do about it.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

Why Do I Pretend I’m Someone Else?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). Why Do I Pretend I’m Someone Else?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Feb 2020 (Originally: 15 Feb 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Feb 2020
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