Should i be treating my relationships with my f/o’s like they are with real people?
There is no ‘should’. You get to interact with your F/Os to the extent that makes you happy, and that’s it.
The exception to this is if your F/Os are fictives, soulbonds, etc. But you make it clear that– as is the case with MOST self shippers– your F/Os are something you have full control over and they’re not in any way independent of you.
I think it’s likely that you get the impression of a deeply real and intense relationship between F/O and self shipper from the answers they give to asks about the details and events of their relationship.
I would hazard a guess that the case for most self shippers is that these elaborate answers and details are a mix of recurring daydreams, daydreams in the moment produced in response to the questions, and creative writing exercises in response to the questions.
Are there self shippers who have deep, ongoing, intense mutual relationships with their F/Os to the point that there is interaction in daily life? Absolutely, I’m one of those people. But my impression of the community is that that’s not always the case, and not the case for most people, and that’s fine!
I think there are levels of involvement in self-shipping, going from more common to less common (in correlation from least intense to most intense involvement.) ALL of these levels are perfectly valid self shipping relationships to have, and you’re not a “better” self shipper for being involved at a more intense level.
Here’s my perception of these levels, which absolutely aren’t rigid in any way, and definitely blend with one another in places. People who usually interact with their F/Os on a level 2 intensity might sometimes interact temporarily on a Level 4 intensity for instance, etc.
Level 1 Intensity
- Appreciating and consuming content of your F/O in their fiction
- Appreciating, consuming and sharing content of your F/O in fanart and fanfiction
- Daydreaming about your F/O and interactions with your F/O, probably with no ongoing continuity between these daydreams
Level 2 Intensity
- Creating fan content of your F/O without involving yourself or an S/I, unless the “you” is an x reader.
- Daydreaming about interactions with your F/O, possibly with an ongoing continuity between daydreams
- Buy, creating or displaying merchandise and pictures of your F/O in your real life spaces
- Talking with people about your F/O, but relating to them as a fictional character
Level 3 intensity
- Creating fan content of you and your F/O involving yourself or an S/I (includes answering asks about your relationship)
- Daydreaming about interactions with your F/O with an ongoing continuity, possibly imagining your F/O communicating with you sometimes in your daily life.
- Talking with people about your F/O as if they were a real person
Level 4 intensity
- Engaging in elaborate internal/mental interactions with your F/O, as a muse, soulbond, fictive, etc.
- Genuinely interacting with your F/O as if they were a real person.
Level 5 intensity
- Involving interactions with your F/O in your day to day outside world life in any capacity, such as buying things specifically for them to enjoy, taking them on dates, etc.
No matter what level or levels you find yourself interacting with your F/O on, anon, you are a valid self shipper, and there is nothing wrong with what you’re doing. Your relationship is for YOU to enjoy.
Please let me know if what I’m saying here made sense, and was helpful to you, and please feel free to send more questions!