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Substitute girlfriend syndrome

Sometimes you’ll feel a bit confused about your relationship.  It could be a relationship.  It feels like a relationship – at times.  You’ve never had a talk about having a relationship (or perhaps you did and he insisted that *this* isn’t a relationship but then he certainly acts like it is).  So what do you do with this?

You might be a victim of Substitute Girlfriend Syndrome.

What is SGS?  It’s when you’re semi-involved with someone who looks and acts like your boyfriend but refuses, for whatever reason, to make it official.  It could be your best male friend that you act relationship-y with.  You go out to the movies, you cuddle up together, you’ve probably even made out a time or two.  It could be that guy you’ve been dating for a while.  If neither one of you is dating anyone else and you’ve developed a sexual relationship, it’s a relationship right?  Or it could be your ex that you’ve gotten close with after the breakup.  It all seems so comfortable, so it must be right.

There are three main problems with SGS:

  1. You’re basically stuck in relationship purgatory without confirmation of your importance in someone else’s life.  He’s refusing to make it official but he’s refusing to let you go.
  2. You’re someone’s relationship wubby. You’re comfortable enough but you’ll be dropped when something better comes along.
  3. It stops you from going out and finding an authentic relationship because you’re spending all your time and energy on this one.

If you find yourself in this situation you should first try to resolve it with him (same advice holds if you find yourself with Substitute Boyfriend Syndrome).  Do not issue him an ultimatum!  Simply, if he won’t give you an answer within a reasonable time frame then you should make your own decision.  However you should never let his confusion confuse you.


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