The Temp

Sometimes it feels damn good to have that mushy, connected-deeply-to-another-soul crap in our lives doesn’t it? So much so that you’ll go to strange (though maybe not great) lengths to get it from places and people you maybe shouldn’t. Most likely from some guy (or girl) who is there to fill in for just long enough to make you feel loveable and capable of real human emotions on occasion. Because sometimes you forget how to feel feelings when you aren’t constantly bickering with the one you love. And that’s no good, right? So what better way to deal with it than some truly unhealthy and delusional fauxmance? (See what I did there? That’s a portmanteaux kids. Pretend like nobody’s ever used that blend before.)

The transitory figure known as the counterfeit boyfriend (or girlfriend—for the purposes of simplicity just assume all this pertains to the opposite gender as well) can take the form of that one ex you’re inexplicably drawn to despite all the really good reasons that he became an ex, some poor sap in the friend zone, or a guy who’s relegated you to the friend zone—or worse the friends with benefits zone. (Side note: my grandma used that term the other day and it was decidedly unsettling.) It’s so easy to fall into a destructive pattern because you enjoy being with your fake boyfriend.

For one reason or another there is some level of connection there. Whether it’s the previous moments you actually shared together as a couple or the relationship you wish you could have with this great new non-committal dude, you feel naturally comfortable, safe and about a million other sickening things that boyfriends make you feel. It’s so instinctive to be all cuddled up next to him, attending events with him and doing superfun coupley things except for antique shopping. Because you can’t make him do that. Because at the end of the day, you’re not actually a couple.

It’s at this point you have to ask yourself, is it really worth all of this if I can’t make him take dance classes or get him to stop wearing those Crocs? The answer will always be “no, it is not worth it.” Because anyway you look, at it these fauxmances are only going to end tragically for all involved. Most likely on some night when you’re out having one too many vodka cranberries. Nice and public like. You’re going to get more attached than you thought you would because that’s what happens when you go through the motions of a relationship with a guy you like but can’t actually have. Or worse, your sad little friend zone guy is going to become even more attached to you, and you’ll crush his miserable heart, making you even more cold and unfeeling than you were before you got in this mess.

Sure, many great relationships begin as friendships: Ross and Rachel, Will and Kate, Gumby and Pokey, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s those situations where it has been made abundantly clear by one person or another that an actual relationship is not going to happen. Either because you don’t want one, because he was a terrible boyfriend or because he just wants you to be the transitional interlude in his romantic pursuits. You’re smart enough to tell the difference between someone who might want a relationship with you and someone who just thinks you’re ok to go apple picking with when there’s nothing good on TV.

Mostly because he’ll tell you. If not flat out “I don’t want a relationship with you” then through subtle cues like not fully committing to plans, not being comfortable with the boyfriend/girlfriend label after an acceptable amount of time, making everything else a bigger priority or dating multitudes of other women. So if your subsisuitor (ok that one is a stretch) is giving you the runaround, maybe get out before you get hurt. Because you deserve better and it’s better to be alone than with someone who doesn’t care about you and, I dunno, all those other platitudes that are true but annoying because they typically mean you can’t get what you want right now. But for real, you deserve a real-live boyfriend who wants you to be his real-live girlfriend. It’s better that way. I promise.