How to tell the difference between being more than friends and friends without benefits.
So there’s this guy. You hang out all the time, he texts you all the time, he takes you everywhere all the time – but things have never gone to the next level. Are you best friends, are you going to become more than friends, or are you a filler girlfriend?
“The filler girlfriend is someone who fills in until someone better comes along,” says relationship expert April Masini. “Much of the time guys want a date or someone they can bring to parties or just hang out with so they’re not alone. This can be very disturbing to a woman who thinks she’s dating someone with whom there’s a genuine future, but has these inklings of feelings that something isn’t right.”
Are you making yourself available to a guy who isn’t? If you’re not sure whether you’re becoming more than friends or if you’re just a substitute until he finds someone else, here are 9 red flags to consider:
1. You talk daily and hang out… when he’s single
Plus, the dates are super casual – he never acts like you’re someone he wants to win over. “When a guy wants you to be ‘the one’ and not just one of many, he’ll try to impress you and win you over,” says Masini. “When you’re filler, he’s going to just make sure you’re there, and he’ll do enough to keep you in the game, but nothing more.”
2. You have more contact with him over the phone than in person
If he wants to keep you around, but also keep his options open, he’ll call, text and email more than he’ll see you in person. “You’re the one who keeps him from being alone, so he’ll throw you a line while he’s scoping out other options,” says Masini.
3. You’re his plus one at weddings and work parties
A very platonic plus one.
4. He has a keen (and totally hypocritical) interest in your love life
When you ask about his, he does that awkward pretending-not-to-hear-you-even-though-he-totally-heard-you thing.
5. People are always asking if you’re a couple…
And you have no idea what to say.
6. He jokes about the two of you hooking up
And not in a good way, yet five minutes later he’ll flirt his way to your side of the couch.
7. You do hang out when he’s dating someone…
But only when that someone is out of town or unavailable.
8. He compares women he dates to you
Of course he does! One, you’re fabulous. Two, it’s easier to be with you than with her because he basically gets to do whatever he wants and you’ll be there for him to wipe his feet on.
8. You joke that if you’re both not married by a certain age, you’ll marry each other
Remember how “My Best Friend’s Wedding” turned out?!
9. You know, deep down, that you’re going against your instincts
As someone who was once the filler girlfriend who did everything she could to become the girlfriend girlfriend, trust me: It’s not worth it when you get there. Deep down you’ll know that you forced the relationship to happen and that it’s not quite right – and it’s an icky feeling that follows you everywhere. Deal with the short-term pain of cutting him loose now, rather than the long-term pain you’re about to put yourself through.
So does this mean you’re best friends? This is where it gets sticky, because many women try and suppress how they feel about their so-called “bestie,” while secretly hoping he’ll look her way eventually. “A guy isn’t your best friend if you’re attracted to him,” says Masini. “So many women who are deep in the friend zone try to leverage ‘best friends’ into more than friends. It always fails, eventually.”
The downfall of being the filler girlfriend is that you’ll likely miss out on real love because he’s filling this void for you. “The best thing to do is have the difficult conversation about staying in the friend zone or taking the leap and getting romantic,” says relationship expert Nicole McCance. “Get clarity, so you don’t resent him later and end up ruining the friendship you do have.”
The only way you’ll be able to make an informed decision about your love life is to know where you stand. The truth might hurt, but it’s better than stringing yourself along and breaking your own heart.
Are there any red flags you’d add to this list?
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Image: Fe Ilya