“Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.” – Ismail Haniyeh
When a person with a good heart is trapped in an unauthentic relationship, it’s a painful and exhausting experience. Painful because, deep down, the person knows the relationship is a façade. Exhausting because the person must constantly suppress or ignore any impulse or emotion attempting to reveal the relationship for what it truly is: a mirage.
A fake relationship is not a relationship at all. Instead, we have this scenario: a genuine person, full of devotion and good intentions, is eager to make a relationship work. In the meantime, their “partner” is checked out; the notion that they’re even in a relationship is distant and alien.
Such a scenario is depressing, sad, infuriating and perplexing. It also begs the one-worded question “Why?” (You can throw “What?” in there too.)
How a fake relationship transpires
Every situation is different, but here’s a general idea of how a fake relationship unfolds:
A well-intended person commits themselves to someone who appears to reciprocate the much-needed feelings of love, devotion, and respect. After a period, expressions of such feelings are all but gone, and the faker’s real character begins to reveal itself. Unfortunately, their partner is emotionally invested at this stage and is determined to “make the relationship work,” while the faker has no particular interest in doing so.
The love that the victim feels for their partner clouds their judgment, making them vulnerable to deception. Infatuation interferes with rational thought, circumventing logic and placing emotion in the driver’s seat. In this state, the person overlooks the “red flags” while continually “ignoring” the reality of the situation.
Why is it so difficult to admit to and exit a fake relationship? The victim is afraid of one of three things: being alone, admitting failure, and/or the anticipation of negative emotions post-separation.
Getting out of a fake relationship requires that one see the truth for what it is, no matter how uncomfortable. It necessitates quieting the irrational mind and coming to grips with the facts.
The sooner that we’re able to admit we’re in a fake relationship, the sooner we can healthily and happily move on!
Are you or someone that you know in a fake relationship? Let’s take a look at ten signs:
1. They’re emotionally distant in absence
When your partner is away, do they make any attempt to communicate? Do they return your text messages or calls?
In a relationship, fakers have a tendency to be non-communicative. They’ll provide little to no substance to what’s going on in their life. They’ll also make excuses why they “couldn’t” communicate.
2. There’s little to no romance
Where there is no romance, there is no relationship. The victim often attempts to initiate intimacy, but such attempts are often in vein. It is evident when intimacy is forced, as well.
Again, no romance = no (real) relationship.
3. Conflicts go unresolved
Conflict happens in every relationship – and intermittent conflict is the sign of a healthy relationship, as it demonstrates a level of care for one another.
That said, every conflict demands a resolution. If you’re the only one trying to resolve any conflict or problems that arise, it’s often a telltale sign of emotional detachment.
4. There’s no effort to meet you halfway
Are you always the one to plan things? Pick up the check? Handle domestic responsibilities? If so, what concessions, if any, is your partner making?
Relationship and compromise are two peas in a pod. A lack of effort is a universal sign of disinterest – and a relationship is no different.
5. No inquiry into what you’re feeling or thinking
Two people in a genuine, healthy relationship realize the importance of understanding what their partner is feeling or thinking. Asking about their partner’s disposition is an essential element of communication. They want to know what’s going on, even if it’s nothing at all.
When’s the last time your partner asked how you were feeling or how your day went? A question worth considering.
6. No discussion about the future
In any meaningful relationship that lasts, it’s inevitable that a discussion of the future will take place.
If one’s partner is avoiding this conversation or is unresponsive when the topic surfaces, it’s usually due to one of two things: (1) they’re not interested in a future with you, or (2) they’ve never given it any thought. Both are bad signs.
7. They’re indifferent to most things
An authentic relationship sparks feelings of passion for each other. Meanwhile, a fake relationship reeks of indifference. (Indifference is an antonym of passion, as it turns out.)
Someone who continuously acts indifferent isn’t engaged, likely detached, and unfit – not to mention unworthy – of a real relationship.
8. You’re uncomfortable in your own skin
If you’re afraid of being your true self, there is no point in having a relationship. Putting up a façade only to keep around someone who doesn’t want you anyway is a form of self-abuse.
Why put up with it? Find someone who accepts and loves you for who you are.
9. They’re withdrawn and aloof
Being withdrawn and aloof is not a bad personality trait – many introverts display these behaviors. But even the most introverted open up and let loose around the person they love.
Withdrawal and aloofness are not commonly displayed behaviors in a healthy relationship.
10. You know something is “off”
You’ve known something is “off” for a long time.
Be honest with yourself. Are you wasting your time? Money? Energy? Wasting these precious resources on someone who will likely never return the favor?
Summon the courage, pack your bags, and get the heck out of there. Either that or try to get some counseling.