Background: Dating relationships of individuals with impostor phenomenon remains unexplored. Studies on impostor phenomenon restrict its conceptualization to academic or achievement tasks. The expression of impostor phenomenon in relationships in general, and dating relationships in particular stays under-researched.
Purpose: This qualitative study aims to understand the expressions and characteristics of impostor phenomenon in dating relationships: Dating impostor phenomenon. It purports to understand how emerging adults experience impostor phenomenon and describes the expression of the same within their dating relationships.
Methodology: In-depth, semi-structured interviews of 12 Indian emerging adults experiencing impostor phenomenon were collected. Criteria for selection included those who were or had been in a heterosexual dating relationship for a minimum duration of 3 months and showed a negative discrepancy between self and reflected appraisals. Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis framework was used for analysis.
Findings: Five broad themes namely- dyadic perception, self-view: looking in the mirror, over-preparation, perceived fraudulence, and impostor fears, were developed to explain how impostor phenomenon extends to dating relationships.
Originality/Value: This is one of the first studies, highlighting impostor dynamics in dating relationships. It holds significant therapeutic implications in enhancing relationship dynamics and broadening its theoretical base.
Keywords: impostor, dating, dating impostor phenomenon, impostor phenomenon, relationships