Twenty-four hours after Deadspin blew the lid off a story that the dead girlfriend of Notre Dame’s star football linebacker never existed, the sports world is left to figure out why. Was it a hoax, as Notre Dame and Manti Te'o allege? Or was the football player aware she wasn’t real the whole time?
Either way, he wouldn’t be the first to claim to be dating a person who—it turns out—doesn’t exist. People make up fake boyfriends and girlfriends all the time! To find out why, we turned to you, our readers, to ask for stories about fake girlfriends and boyfriends past. We'll continue publishing your stories as we get them. For submission instructions, scroll to the end of the post.
The boy I had a crush on since freshman year (we're now juniors) asked me to pretend to date him so he could set up the girl who liked him with his best friend. It worked and they got together. He kept me as his friend with benefits for a few weeks after that. And I'm not sorry for everything we did. Not at all.
—Anonymous, San Francisco, CA
I used a fake boyfriend to get a creepy regular to leave me alone while bartending one summer. This guy was racist, sexist, and had just gotten out of prison. A real charmer. He would sit at the bar for hours, staring at me and touching his gross tattoo. Then he started asking me about my boyfriend. Oh, he's great. He plays football and gets very jealous. Fortunately I have a friend who a) is very intimidating and b) would meet me after work. It made the guy lay off... a little.
I have fake boyfriends because sometimes, I'm a heartbroken girl trying to get over someone else, so I refuse to get involve with anyone. But unfortunately, I still have guys pursuing me and some of them are really nice. I just don't have the heart to break their hearts or bruise their ego by telling straight to their faces that the feeling is not mutual and that I enjoy being single. So I have fake boyfriends hoping that the guys would take a hint, or be a great gentleman and just back off.
I used the fake boyfriend, sort of. Multiple times with very pushy men I've had a boyfriend, but one particular instance I lied about my best, and very gay, friend being my boyfriend. Not to mention multiple facades of playing girlfriend with my friends to get more people off my back in High School. One time I actually had to create a fake facebook for my friend's "girlfriend" to get the same person off of her back.
I often use the fake boyfriend tactic at work, either with fellow employees or customers. I routinely have customers hit on me very persistent—to the point of making reasons to come back to my place of employment to talk to me with the intent of trying to ask me out after being refused multiple times. Coworkers often ask me when I am getting married, having kids, or why I am not dating. I don't want to constantly deal with this in a work environment. I just want to work.
—Anonymous, Woodbridge, Va.
I was at a bowling alley once and a really sleazy guy asked me (a girl) out, instead I told him I had a girlfriend. I didn’t. and at that moment I didn’t even know why I said “girlfriend”, I should have said boyfriend, right? Yet, whenever someone asks me if I’m dating (if I answer untruthfully) I say I’m dating a girl. Through that imaginary girlfriend, I realized that I can only imagine myself with a girl.
—Anonymous Bethesda, MD
I've had an imaginary boyfriend. Many of them in fact. Why? Because here in Egypt you can't have sex before marriage, and you can't get married if you're poor, fat, or ugly. Girls just wait for a man to propose, they must be shy, soft and weak, regardless of their desires, instinct, or sexual identity. I feel I won't marry and I'll be stuck with my imaginary boyfriend forever. I just hate my country.
—Reem Essam, 22, Egypt
I'm a guy and in high school I bragged about a fake girlfriend. My reason was because I'm gay.
I once made up a fake boyfriend (with a Facebook account) so that this one guy who barely knew me—but thought he was in love with me—would back off. We eventually fake mutually ended the relationship.
—Micalyn, St. Marys, WV
I did have a made up boyfriend when I was 13, just to get the other kids off my back about not having (wanting) one.
—NomdeB, Washington, D.C.
I do not have a fake girlfriend. But I do imagine a girl and making love to her. This gives me mental satisfaction. Whenever I feel bored or dejected, I take asylum in my imaginations. Which, usually, consist of what I just said. Whenever I go to bed, I imagine a girl beside me and make love. I am unmarried.
When I was in high school, all of the people around me started meeting and sexually experimenting with girls before I did. I was pudgy, awkward, and generally not ready for that stage of life yet. So I created a girl that I'd met at camp and used her as a general excuse for not flirting with girls in my immediate vicinity. Eventually it became a form of storytelling for me as the stories got more elaborate and eventually more salacious. It lasted longer than I'd like to admit.
Have a tale of a fake significant other of your own? Share it with The Daily Beast in the comments, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add it to the list of stories on this page. Make sure to specify if you’d like to remain anonymous, or leave your name and location if you’d be OK being identified.