It all happened very quickly. I met Fake Boyfriend Frederick and within weeks we were inseparable. We did everything together. I was under the impression that our relationship was developing slowly into something that would ultimately lead to marriage … until that painful moment when I realized, “I’m just the girl to occupy his time until he finds someone he actually wants to be in a relationship with.”
We spent a lot of time together … a LOT.
No matter how you sliced it, we acted like a couple. Anywhere I went, he wasn’t far behind and vice versa. We went to dinner together frequently, sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with groups of friends. We went to the gym together. I loved watching him lift weights and I tried to entice him by wearing things that were borderline inappropriate for a serious workout—I mean, who wears a push-up bra to the gym? This girl. We spent Sunday afternoons reading the newspaper in the park after grabbing brunch at one of our favorite restaurants. During the week, he’d come over to my place and we’d make popcorn and watch movies in our sweats. I loved just being near him all the time. I don’t know how we didn’t get sick of each other.
Other people assumed we were a couple.
I can’t say I blame them. We were spending pretty much all of our time together so it’s easy to see why people would get the impression we were more than friends. His friends would give him a hard time: Dude, you’re hooking up with Kate, right? Nope. My sister would ask probing questions: So is he good in bed? I wouldn’t know. His grandmother would give him unsolicited relationship advice: She’s a nice girl, don’t fuck this up. Thanks, Grandma.
… but we never had sex.
The only thing that was missing from my relationship with Frederick was the physical part. In my previous relationships, sex happened not too long after the initial meeting. But every time, it seemed like a mistake and I didn’t want to make that mistake again. I was REALLY attracted to Frederick but, like Grandma warned, I didn’t want to fuck this up. Although Frederick was flirtatious with me, he never made a move. I figured, “Well he just wants to take things slow … get to know me.”
As my mother once told me during one of the most uncomfortable conversations I’ve ever had with her, “No red blooded man wants to get to know you, Katie. Unless he’s gay, he’s going to try to bang you.” My ears were bleeding.
I realize now, although crassly phrased, she was right. You can’t spend THAT much time with someone you’re attracted to and NOT have sex with them. And when I found out that he’d slept with someone else, I was devastated.
I was jealous of a one-night stand.
The night started out much like any other night. Frederick and I met up with our usual group of friends for dinner and we all decided to get drinks afterwards. Jessie was a friend of a friend. She would hang out with us occasionally but wasn’t truly part of our core group. She had a mouth like a truck driver and was proud that she could go drink for drink with guys twice her size. She was also the town bicycle and whenever she showed up, Frederick and I had fun placing bets on who’d end up being the lucky rider for the evening.
It was a lot less fun when Frederick was the one she was taking home.
I couldn’t understand it. He always told me how unappealing she was, yet she was all over him at the bar that night and he didn’t seem to mind. I didn’t want to be jealous and clingy. I had no claim on him, but I couldn’t stand the sight of her hands running up and down his back or her lips against his ear as she whispered to him. I was physically ill and it wasn’t the sushi from dinner. I tried to distract myself from the spectacle they were making. One of my dear friends who knew how I felt about Frederick kept reminding me, “You’re so much hotter than she is … you have nothing to worry about.”
That was right before Frederick left the bar with Jessie in tow. I was crushed.
How did this happen? How did I end up heartbroken over losing a guy who was never really mine to begin with?
I didn’t listen.
I only saw what I wanted to see and heard what I wanted to hear. In all of our discussions, Frederick never once said he was interested in a relationship … with me or anyone else. In fact, he would often tell me he preferred a no-strings-attached approach to dating but all I chose to focus on were the times he’d tell me how much fun he had with me. Basically he didn’t want a girlfriend and he liked being my friend. End of story. I ignored the former, then took the latter and extrapolated it into a Fake Relationship. I assumed, “Well if he loves spending time with me, obviously he wants to be my boyfriend at some point.” False. Not that your boyfriend shouldn’t love spending time with you, but not every guy that likes spending time with you wants to be your boyfriend. What makes friendships complicated between men and women is that at some point, the question “can this be more?” comes up and usually one person says “yes” while the other says “no.” In retrospect, Frederick’s “no” was loud and clear.
Secondly, there was the lack of sex. Sex isn’t the only indicator that a relationship is a REAL relationship. But for me, it’s a big one. I’ve had relationships, probably better described as friends-with-benefits, that were only sex and it wasn’t what I really wanted. Frederick was my friend-with-no-benefits but THAT wasn’t what I really wanted either. Unless one or both of you is the type to save yourself for marriage, not having sex with someone you’re attracted to is just strange.
So what’s a girl to do?
If you find yourself in an imaginary relationship like this one, my advice is simple: LISTEN CAREFULLY. If he says he’s not interested in a relationship, it means he’s not interested in a relationship. If he says he is interested in a relationship but isn’t pursuing one with you—well, that still speaks volumes. You’ll save yourself a LOT of time and heart ache if you accept the fact that it is what it is instead of playing Fake Girlfriend in the Fake Relationship that he’s only going to destroy when he Fake Cheats on you.
Kate’s Dates is a column that runs every other Wednesday on Kate-book.com. It is written by the lovely Kate Richlin-Zack, who fully admits to majoring in engineering to meet guys. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.