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My Pretend Boyfriend

by Kristie Vosper

There he goes. He’s texting me again. I thought I was done with this. I promised myself that I would stop this text-relationship. I vowed to only go on real dates with real men, real men who live in my real life! It’s been 2 weeks since the real man I like has called to have a real conversation, and so here he is, the other man in my life, the “substitute-pretend-boyfriend,” texting me sweet things this Friday night. It’s raining outside, I’m home watching The Devil Wears Prada, and I wonder, “How does he always know when I’m feeling the most lonely and hopefully romantic?” Perhaps he feels the same way too.

He seems to have radar for these moments.

I used to think my pretend boyfriend could be a real potential boyfriend, but then he flaked a few times when we set up real dates, and most notably didn’t show up for my birthday party. After a string of disappointments and forgiven “misunderstandings,” I suppose it’s clear that I’m taking what I get, but is what I’m getting enough? Are a few flirty text messages capable of filling in for the real potentially amazing boyfriend who I haven’t met yet?

Probably not.

Well, let’s be honest, most definitely not.

The strength inside of me wants to push away from this proverbial bag of “Cheez-its”, because the “carrot sticks” of waiting are unquestionably better for me in the end. But on this Friday night, the “Cheez-its” are somehow helping pass the time more comfortably.

What’s so wrong with it anyway, right? It’s just a text message. But we all know it’s not just a text message. It’s about 500 text messages. Back and forth, ebb and flow, here we go…and I’m attached again. I find myself annoyed when he pauses too long. It feels like rejection. Or is it like addiction? Maybe he’s my “instant gratification pretend boyfriend.” No consequences, no responsibility, just nice things back and forth…attachments formed that will never fully be known. I’m emotionally attached to him, and I barely know the sound of his voice.

The thing is, I don’t want a life all strung together with half-way, half-hearted relationships, fantasies and Cheez-it instant gratification pretend boyfriends. I want the real thing. I want real love, real phone calls, real dates, and a real man on the couch someday growing old with me. It seems I have to get better at waiting, better at living fully in the moment rather than wasting away the time with chit chat in an imaginary text message land.

So I text him one more time, “I need to be done with this whole late night texting thing with you. This isn’t working for me.” We have to make a choice to live our real lives rather than creating an imaginary one that will never fill us up. Real life is just too good to miss.

The next time he texted, I simply didn’t respond.

And that’s how I broke up with my pretend boyfriend.

Do you have a few pretend boyfriends in your phone? Are you afraid to have open, quiet space to wait well for a good man to come into your life?

P.S. Here’s a helpful tip…In my phone I replace any guy’s name that I don’t want to respond to (but might be tempted to) with a phrase like “Don’t do it!” or “You are valuable.” Their text next to an encouraging phrase like this are usually incongruent. It helps remind me when the text comes up to leave it alone and live fully in the life I have before me.

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