I have been depressed for over a year now, one cause of which I believe is loneliness; I have a small group of friends I regularly socialize with, I’m very intelligent — modest, I know — and have a wicked dark sense of humor, most people consider me to a be a joker and I can adapt to most people with relative ease despite my actual feelings towards them. However, I have no one that I’m close to, no best friend I can confide in and I’ve never had a girlfriend — nor even kissed a girl, of which is a source of considerable bemusement for me — and thus I find myself alone and contemplating a lot.
Desiring to avoid a particular party that had far too many people, most of whom I had no desire to associate with, a couple of months ago I lied and stated that I was going out with an old friend of mine that doesn’t actually exist- being a private person, no one questioned this- however, this concept rapidly evolved without me really thinking and to make a long story short, today all of my friends and family believe that I have a girlfriend. Unfortunately, or fortunately dependent upon how you perceive it, I am too good at manipulating and deceiving these people, a simple facade of emotions and a bit of intelligence in formulating a backstory are disturbingly simple enough to appease people. Anyhow, the situation has progressed to the extent that my lack of foresight and impulsivity have induced the simple dilemma of people questioning why no one has met this girl.
Honestly, I’m worried that there is something significantly wrong with me for fabricating this whole concept, evidently my loneliness has surpassed a threshold considering this whole charade makes me feel better about myself, yet I don’t quite know why and it makes me hesitant to simply end it. Presumably, not having had a relationship of some sort affects me more than I would care to admit even to myself, all of my friendship group have been or are in relationships and I probably crave some kind of human intimacy. I have past experiences from my childhood that have incurred trust issues, so I attempt to deal with things by myself, of which I’m evidently not doing particularly well at. There is no particular crux to a question, but it is an issue.
Since you don’t have a specific question, I will offer you a general answer. It’s difficult to know precisely why you have generated a fake girlfriend, but it could stem from your desire to be seen positively by your friends. You seem to believe that you should have had a girlfriend by this time in your life. You believe that so strongly that you have created a lie to conform to that narrative. If it were because of your loneliness and depression, then you may not have shared the lie with your friends. Your need to share the lie with your friends might indicate that you were attempting to shape the way they saw you.
Stereotypes exist in our culture about how people are supposed to behave. These stereotypes put pressure on people to behave in a particular way. One way to be perceived as a “man,” in our culture, is to date many women and to have many sexual conquests. Some men brag about having had many sexual partners, even if their claims are untrue.
You have a decision to make. Your friends are wondering why they have never met your girlfriend. An easy way out of this dilemma is to say that the two of you broke up. That would immediately end the lie.
You are a great candidate for counseling. It could address your depression and help you to analyze why you feel compelled to lie about a relationship. Depression is a highly treatable disorder. Counseling could help you tremendously. I hope that you will consider it. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle