This juicy tidbit marking the romantic distinction between males and females recently made its way onto my Twitter feed. Enjoying a brief chuckle after reading it, I soon realized how closely this alleged truth hits home: my friend Jay is in a fake relationship and I’ve been wondering if I should tell the girl.
Jay is one of those good-looking, charismatic fellas who rarely have trouble finding a female companion. A decade ago, he was madly in love with a special lady who dumped him after his ego decided to feed itself by convincing him to cheat. Since then, Jay has steered clear of anything “too heavy,” opting instead for casual relationships with dippy bores or overly controlling kooks whose mania gives him the perfect excuse to jump ship.
But every so often, Jay wants someone to care enough to check in on him each day, someone for whom he can make elaborate dinners and buy gifts, someone to offer him regular sex and hold him in the middle of the night. And so, Jay gets a “girlfriend.”
There was the pretty actress with whom he spent every weekend for nearly six months and the slightly neurotic realtor with whom he went on a Roman vacation. Both of these women were mighty surprised at the end of their relationships to find out Jay was never really feelin’ it even though his actions suggested otherwise.
Then there was the Latin American gal who flew herself back and forth to the States whenever Jay reemerged begging for her company. The night I met up with them, I watched him walk hand-in-hand with her down the street, introduce her to his friends and fill her imagination with daydreams about a shared future. Jay’s behavior offered the kinds of clues every silly women’s magazine might say is evidence a dude is thinking long term. Obviously, the Latin American believed herself involved in a long-distance romance. But in fact, she was one of a handful of women satellite-ing within Jay’s orbit.
My friend may be an extreme but he’s far from an exception. I’ve known many guys who’ve gone through the romantic motions with women in an effort to avoid loneliness. I even know a guy who stayed with a woman for five friggin’ years, knowing every single day there was no way in hell he’d ever marry the chick.
My gut tells me no woman would ever do such a thing and not for any noble reason, like sparing someone else’s feelings. I just think most women are too gung ho on finding Prince Charming to waste time on a peasant. And I can’t imagine any woman being able to turn off her emotions or even worse, pretending to feel something she doesn’t feel. If you’ve ever seen a Sharon Stone movie, you know how to fake an orgasm. But love?
So, Jay has started up again with the Latin American and is even considering giving in to her demands to be more exclusive. From the beginning of this relationship, he has said, “I don’t love her and know I never will.” Meanwhile, his girl is fantasizing about lifelong love, marriage and family. So is Jay…with some other woman he hopes to meet one day.
I only met the gal for the second time over a group dinner, when she indirectly expressed doubts about Jay’s intentions. She dropped hints about being open to any insight those of us who are his female friends may be able to provide. Whenever I considered cueing her in, I remembered how perilous it is to place oneself in the center of a couple’s battlefield.
However, I also wonder if sometimes all it takes for a man like Jay to finally make a commitment is to force himself into one. If certain men tell themselves they’re not in love in order to make sticking around seem less confining. In the end, can fake love ever become true?
What say you?
[Photo from the film Lars and the Real Girl, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment]