Is He Really Your Boyfriend?

I had an awkward conversation a few weeks ago with a friend of mine.  She’s “seeing” a man who she pretends is her boyfriend, although he is not.  In my opinion, he’s a guy she hangs out with and sometimes sleeps with.  He’s recently divorced and told her that, though he likes her, he has no desire for a girlfriend.  I think that’s pretty clear.  She still, apparently, doesn’t believe him.

So I get regular calls and texts from her when she’s upset about something he did or did not do.  Something a real boyfriend probably would have done…but since this guy is only her “boyfriend in her head”, he keeps falling short of her expectations.  And I keep getting “I’m upset” calls from her.

Apparently, one of the seemingly most common trip-ups in dating is that the two people in the so-called relationship have differing opinions about what kind of relationship they’re in. Invariably, someone’s feelings get hurt because expectations are different from what is actually being delivered.

She thinks they’re BF-GF, and he thinks they’re just “friends”…with a really loose definition of what a friend is.  This happens a lot.  And it doesn’t always improve with age.

So, for my friend (and anyone else who may be in this situation), here’s my 2¢ on how you can lessen the likelihood of this situation happening to you, how to tell if the guy is serious about you:

10.  He holds your hand in public – A public display of affection in this way is a sweet way to connect you two.  Holding hands is actually more of a commitment than, say, kissing because a kiss can be driven by other needs. A kiss doesn’t “claim” you.

9.  He’s usually where he says he’s going to be. This is easy. He’s not hiding from you.

8.  He introduces you to his friends (and family)…and they already know about you.  He’s not keeping you hidden.  That he’s been talking about you is a sign that you matter.

7.  You have a title (My Girlfriend, Lady, Woman…). This is an important one. If you’re just Shirley (or whatever your name is), then who are you?  What do you represent? If you don’t have a title then your relationship is probably a different one than you think it is.

6.  He doesn’t just come over late and leave early.  Again, another easy one. If his visits are primarily booty calls, that’s a problem.

5.  His Saturday night belongs to you. Saturday night is date night for people in a relationsip. If he’s not with you, where is he?

4.  You have more than just his cell number (assuming he has more than a cell number). He who has nothing to hide, hides nothing. You should have all his numbers…home, cell, work, and whatever else he has.

3.  You spend time at his place…including overnight. If you’re not spending the night there, who is?

2.  If he has a landline at home, he answers it when it rings while you’re there. Again, nothing to hide, right?  No concerns about another “chick with expectations” calling.

1.  He calls you more than he texts. If this isn’t happening, he’s just having fun with you.

Of course, this is not a fool-proof list, but if most of these things aren’t happening, you’re probably not his Girlfriend.  Now what?

Spinsterlicious readers:  anything you want to add to this list?

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14 Responses to Is He Really Your Boyfriend?

  1. This woman is probably really hoping for a boyfriend in her world and heart, but settling and – once again, you have to be true to your heart's desires. She's selling herself short and expecting much more out of this person than is realistic, sadly.

  2. Oh if this were true… he does many of these things and even lives in my house.. his kid calls me the hebrew word for mom, I call his parents mom and dad… we hold hands… we generally go everywhere together…

    Yet I am everything but the romantic interest…

    It's no wonder I stay confused and have decided this is never going to be anything but what it is and I have decided that apparently marriage and happily ever after just isn't in the cards for me.

  3. eleanore says:

    @Smokie and @Missy: Thanks for the two really good additions to the list

  4. Missy says:

    I would look for 'future plans' – not the heavy, serious kind, but the show tickets, weekend trips, discussions about the the next holiday or season which signal the joint expectation that you will be part of each others' lives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    #2 “If he has a landline at home, he answers it when it rings while you're there. Again, nothing to hide, right? No concerns about another “chick with expectations” calling.”

    Same could be said of cellphone usage.

  6. txsexygirl213 says:

    OMG Eleanore please tell your friend to “wake up and smell the coffee” however I am quite sure you have many, many times already!!! I was in a relationship where EVERYTHING I mean EVERYTHING you wrote in your post he did was the exact different !!! Someone told me “He will never be serious and NEVER marry you, he text messages you all the time cuz he does not want to talk to you..” I started looking at us and then realized we had quit going out and he was just coming over for a couple of hours once a week. I was becoming a booty call. When I questioned him about this he said I am working so hard and it is for us baby !! but now that I come to think about it IDK it just does not add up. Something is wrong. He might be married or living with someone. I broke up with him and ever since then I feel so much better. I no longer feel so emotional and I no longer sit here at home on Friday or Saturday nites and cry because I am not “out on a date” with my boyfriend.

    Tell her to MOVE ON… there are a whole lot of great men out there better than him. She just needs to give someone else a chance like I did. Never know until you let go and try again. Good Luck to her.

    Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year to everyone. 2012 is MY year.

  7. Great post, Eleanore!!

    I cannot and will not tolerate having those sorts of women as close friends.That sort of drama and delusions brings down the group-think.

    After a few months of that sort of nonsense I asked a gal pal, when are you going to leave? If they don't leave him yet try to use me as an emotional mammy or a gratis therapist…time for them to get the ax.

    Said so long to a lady like that, this past spring. I loved her as a sister but she is stupid as hell about men…and a mother of a teenage girl! (Just in cause you're wondering, she is a WW).

    If a woman is 40+ and acting like a dumb teenager she has no place in my life.

  8. Jamila says:

    This was a good list. It covered the basics pretty well.

    Your friend knows she's not his girlfriend, despite what she says. She's just trying to turn the relationship be something it is not–eventually she is going to realize that her plan is not going to work. She's probably just really lonely right now. Singleness gets to the best of us sometimes.

  9. MilanoGirl says:

    *The past is gone, the future isn't here yet, so be in the moment. Bear the good & bad, the pain & the joy of the moment. Because time is short and this moment will pass. Enjoy the journey.

  10. MilanoGirl says:

    I was in a similar situation. It's really, really hard leaving it 'cause the fantasy is so nice, and you like him, and the potential is there…but no. It ain't gonna happen. Here is some great advice a good friend gave me that helped a lot:

    “If a man wants a relationship with you, you’ll know it.

    Trust me we all want to find that one that actually cares about us and who we can share or experiences with and life with. It's not unrealistic at all, but it is hard to find that right one. He was not the right one for you at all because he did not want to share any of that with you.

    You have to say goodbye and you don't need him for that. You have to decide what you want out of life, and I think you are almost there but guess what he doesn't want to share it with you so you need to say goodbye to him alone. and move on. It's easier said than done but it's what you need to do.

    We always want what we can't have, but at a certain time in our life we have to go after what we want and can have. You can't have him, so you need to find something/one you can. But before any of that happens you have to be happy with yourself, if you are not entirely happy with you and love you, you will never find someone who will love you too.”

    I learned a lot and grew from this “relationship.” He was a nice man, and I have some nice memories. But that's it. I'm working on myself now, realizing some of my dreams, and creating a life for myself that I am happy with. And then maybe one day I'll go after what I want AND can have.

    The past is gone, the future isn't here yet, so be in the moment and enjoy the journey!

    I hope this helps. Good luck to your friend!

  11. Janine says:

    An accurate and comprehensive list you've compiled there, Eleanore, and yes, we should all keep it as a checklist when dating (really, we should!).
    I do think in any matter of the heart, delusion comes before common sense. We tend to project those “boyfriend” fantasies on to people we really want to be with, for the same reasons I believe those “actual ghost” videos on YouTube are actually ghosts – because I want to, and don't want any amount of rational explanation to get in the way of my most enjoyable fantasy.
    But good on you for knocking some sense into your friend instead of doing what some of my friends do as soon as I say I “like” someone I'm seeing, ie, squealing, “Oh my God! That's so exciting! I'm so happy for you!” while totally ignoring the FACTS. In fact, I should call you next time I start dating someone who's possibly not on the same page as me…

  12. Smokie says:

    You spend time together without having sex.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There's a name for what your friend means to that guy –


    “Friend with benefits”


  14. Stella says:

    Thanks eleanore- if I ever date again I will refer to your list. (Clearly I need help in this area!)

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