There are so many dating terms nowadays that it seems one has to constantly be ahead of the vocab to stay in the game. Things are no longer as straightforward as they were back in the era when couples met, courted, and married. Today, we hear all sorts like situationships, friends with benefits, serial relationships, and whatnot—all in the name of romance.
But say what you will about those relationships. At least those involved usually know not to expect too much. Even if they end up slipping by catching feelings or wanting more than their partner can give, they ideally start the relationship on the same page with the other party.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of a fake relationship. This one projects the illusion of all things sweet and romantic. From the outside, it can look like a love written in the stars, or nothing at all, depending on what the involved parties want the world to see.
Fake relationships are also not always known as such to all involved. You might be in one thinking you are building a real relationship while your partner is practically whiling away time with you. If you are looking for ways to tell this illusion of a relationship apart from the actual thing, here are some signs.
- 1 41 Signs of a Fake Relationship
- 1.1 1. Your partner only has the hots for you in public
- 1.2 2. …or vice versa
- 1.3 3. The relationship is mostly based on sex
- 1.4 4. You don't have much to talk about
- 1.5 5. One or both of you avoid talking about the future
- 1.6 6. You don't really know each other
- 1.7 7. It's all happening too fast
- 1.8 8. You don't get to meet the people who matter to your partner
- 1.9 9. Your partner avoids meeting your people
- 1.10 10. It feels more like an arrangement
- 1.11 11. You don't go on dates
- 1.12 12. You only talk when your partner is in town
- 1.13 13. You don't talk about the little things
- 1.14 14. No memorable moments between you
- 1.15 15. You find yourself making a lot of excuses for your partner
- 1.16 16. You have little rules about communication
- 1.17 17. Your partner can’t be your first call in a crisis
- 1.18 18. You are always the one to reach out first
- 1.19 19. Your relationship has no label
- 1.20 20. You find it hard to explain your relationship to an outsider
- 1.21 21. Your partner always acts like you're doing too much
- 1.22 22. Your partner isn't one to cuddle
- 1.23 23. You can't be yourself with your partner
- 1.24 24. You don't argue or fight
- 1.25 25. Your partner treats you like Ms. Right now
- 1.26 26. Consistency is generally low between you
- 1.27 27. Your relationship lacks emotional depth
- 1.28 28. Confusion is the order of the day
- 1.29 29. You keep things superficial to a fault
- 1.30 30. You don't tell each other secrets
- 1.31 31. You know nothing of your partner's insecurities and fears
- 1.32 32. Compromise is a strange term in your relationship
- 1.33 33. There is someone else somewhere for your partner
- 1.34 34. He is married
- 1.35 35. The relationship exists only on your partner's terms
- 1.36 36. Things feel forced between you
- 1.37 37. Your partner was never keen on starting a relationship
- 1.38 38. Fake relationships are all about comfort
- 1.39 39. You are comfortable lying to each other
- 1.40 40. Your partner always has a logical explanation for everything
- 1.41 41. You don’t feel like a real couple
- 2 FAQs
- 3 To Conclude
41 Signs of a Fake Relationship
1. Your partner only has the hots for you in public
One of the more common signs of a fake relationship is an ostentatious display of affection. It is also quite easy to miss because who thinks to find a problem in a relationship where the partners can’t keep their hands off each other?
But unless you are both in on it, you’d always be confused. This is because the vibe you guys give off in public wouldn’t align with what you have indoors. People may see you like this power couple #relationshipgoals, but once the doors close, you two are barely even friends.
2. …or vice versa
On the other hand, the reverse can also be well indicative of a fake relationship. That is, the only people who know you guys have a thing going on are just the two of you. You are forced to act like regular friends, acquaintances, or even strangers in front of other people.
You can’t talk to your friends about your relationship problems, post pictures of you and your partner, or so much as hug them too warmly outside. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping your relationship out of the public eye, there’s a thin line between privacy and an affair. If that isn’t defined, yet you act that way, your relationship is very likely fake.
3. The relationship is mostly based on sex
Sexual chemistry is such a strong indicator of great romance, but it would be doing a lot of the work if an entire relationship is based on it. If you are asked to count your blessings in your love life, and all you can point to are all the different ways your man takes and pleases you, that may be a red flag.
The feral attraction may appear enough to go on at first, but that has been known to dwindle over time, and orgasms won’t always be enough. This is why fake relationships can never quite stand the inevitable test of time, and they almost always deteriorate as the chemistry fades.
4. You don't have much to talk about
A tell-tale sign of a fake relationship is a lack of flow in communication. And no, dirty talks alone don’t count. If it feels like you and your partner always run out of things to talk about once the pleasantries and logistics are out of the way, it’s a potential red flag. (This happens in real relationships, too but not always.)
While it may just be a communication barrier between two individuals, if none of you is pressed about fixing it, it may be because you’re both subconsciously not in it for real.
5. One or both of you avoid talking about the future
Communication barriers between couples usually do not surface out of anywhere. Sometimes, it’s due to recurrent actions like filtering your words and topics of discussion to manage your partner’s reaction. Today, you are afraid to bring A up because they are not ready; tomorrow, you can’t do it because you are afraid or shy.
Before you know it, vital conversations become taboo. Even the small talks start to decline. Being one of the defining drives in real relationships, if discussing future prospects is something that gets dodged in yours, it may not be much of a relationship, to begin with.
6. You don't really know each other
Another way to gauge your relationship's authenticity is how best you can say you know your partner. Yes, you may know the restaurant your boyfriend frequents or what he looks like when he’s about to finish, but what about the other stuff?
Can you confidently say ten things about him that other people don’t know? What are the things that drive him? Do you know anything about his childhood or why friendship is so important to him? Have you met his friends? It may not be those exact stuff, but such background knowledge of the other person is usually missing in fake relationships.
7. It's all happening too fast
Again, fake relationships can have all the semblance of a real one, especially at the beginning. The whirlwind nature of early romance can be exhilarating, which is why those who want something lasting out of it tend to slow down to keep it steady.
Without that, the flames burn and burn, and then they die. The signs that you are moving too fast in a relationship can differ from couple to couple, but they all usually involve skipping significant steps in favor of momentary gratification.
8. You don't get to meet the people who matter to your partner
One characteristic of people who are serious about being together is a tendency to want to make each other an even bigger part of their lives than they already are. You want the other side of your world to accept this person who means so much to you and vice versa.
You talk up your partner to your friends and family, and once you get the feeling that they are ready, you introduce them. This doesn’t have to be some ‘meet the fam’ ceremony, especially at first. It can be over the phone, on social media, or during a casual hang out in person.
But if you’ve been in your relationship a while, and none of your partner’s close circle members even remotely knows about you, much less being introduced as the girlfriend, I’d worry.
9. Your partner avoids meeting your people
On the flip side, not everyone makes a huge deal of introducing a girl to their family and friends. Some guys are so open with those closest to them about their lifestyle that meeting the new broad is basically business as usual. If your significant other tends more towards this category from what you can tell so far, you can gauge his authenticity by how he approaches meeting your own folks.
If he doesn’t extend the same attitude when it’s your turn (a usual free-spirit avoiding meeting friends), he may be trying to tell you something. And even if he does, make sure you have more than just the one sign to go by before assuming he’s legit.
10. It feels more like an arrangement
Earlier on, I mentioned situationships and fwb relationships as things that pass for seeing each other. However, they’re a convenient arrangement. But at least, if it goes as it should, those involved know what it really is, even if one person ends up falling head over heels in love.
If you are under the impression that you are in an actual relationship but don’t get to feel like a girlfriend unless your partner wants the benefits, it’s probably fake.
11. You don't go on dates
While going on too many dates can be a troubling sign in itself, not going on any is even worse. If all you do is hook up, Netflix and chill, hookup, fight, more hookup, with some conversations in between, you can hardly call that a real relationship.
While you may argue that those can qualify as dates, too, the fact that it always happens indoors and almost always involves sex, doesn’t make it rounded enough to count for much. You should be able to tell what your other half is like in social situations and get to know each other outside of your little bubble because that’s what makes it real.
12. You only talk when your partner is in town
Unless you are both in on it, fake relationships usually don’t make it across borders. You may be hot for each other in person, but the love often goes on a break when long-distance enters the equation.
And this isn’t even only a matter of cheating on your partner because you miss the physical touch, it’s the emotional radio silence that follows every goodbye. If you barely exist in each other’s world or stop being a priority whenever one of you is out of sight, that’s a sign.
13. You don't talk about the little things
It’s attachment 101. You talk to someone often enough, you become attached. And contrary to the way it may seem, what counts as getting to know a person isn’t just the occasional major ‘bare your soul’ moments. (Although those are absolutely priceless too.)
But it's also the little goings-on in their daily life, the spontaneous conversations that keep you both up late into the night. The things you spend your Saturday mornings doing in bed and over chores. In the grand scheme of things, these small talks may not seem like much, but they foster intimacy in such a way that phony partners can’t relate to.
14. No memorable moments between you
None that you can both point to anyway, not in a real way. Don’t get me wrong, a fake relationship can be all shades of exciting. Case in point: social media love. We see SM influencers who suddenly get close for the clout, traveling, gifting, and generally doing stuff that brings the “awws” out of their followers.
That it is essentially a business arrangement doesn’t mean those activities they share wouldn’t be fun or enjoyable. However, those memories wouldn’t be special from an emotional standpoint because the very romance they are trying to project is fake. They may be registering milestones online, but their real-life interaction would tell a different story.
Fake relationships can also have moments that feel real, but the things you hold on to as remarkable wouldn't count as such to your so-called partner.
15. You find yourself making a lot of excuses for your partner
A guy who cancels plans at the last minute more than he shows up doesn’t pay you enough attention or generally respect you most likely doesn’t love you. If you find yourself in a relationship with this type of person, you’ll have plenty of reasons to make excuses for him.
As they say, what a man loves, he takes care of. If you don’t feel like a priority to your boyfriend or particularly taken care of by him, odds are your feelings are one-sided, which does not make a real relationship make.
16. You have little rules about communication
You can’t text your boyfriend at certain times, and calls are off the table unless they are from him. You can't think of random stuff and hit your man up because you'd be too afraid of catching him at the wrong time and getting on his nerves.
The truth is, treading water like this in relationships is usually indicative of secrets, that’s if at all both parties involved even count it as a relationship.
17. Your partner can’t be your first call in a crisis
Because not only do you not feel free calling them without notice, you are also used to being ignored. Somehow, relationships like that condition you to believe that you have no right to your so-called partner’s attention.
It may be true that love isn’t an excuse to monopolize your partner’s time and space. But if you can’t even reach out to your significant other in times of emergency and be assured they’d show, I don’t know that they find you so significant.
18. You are always the one to reach out first
That people who are genuinely in love don’t define their intimacy by who calls or texts first doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be noticeable if it’s one person doing it. Don’t let anyone manipulate you with BS like you wouldn’t mind being the first to reach out if your love for them is unconditional.
Relationships are supposed to be a two-way street. You deserve to feel wanted and sought after as much as your partner. If your boyfriend can go a whole week without hearing from you unless he needs something, you’re probably in a fake relationship.
19. Your relationship has no label
Labels may not be the ultimate sign of a healthy relationship, but they sure help put everyone on the same page. Despite their several benefits, however, some people genuinely find them limiting, those who don’t usually love to conform.
While it is understandable not to want to live your life based on preset rules, it’s also necessary that you and your partner share the same perspective on this. Make your own rules, so to speak, because without those, the lines will keep shifting, and that’s how fake relationships come about.
20. You find it hard to explain your relationship to an outsider
One of the downsides to going along with an undefined relationship is that you are confused about where things stand. Beyond the fact that you guys are in love and currently seeing each other, every other thing is a blur.
Introductions in this situation can be tacky, and when friends ask what's up between you, direct answers won't do your relationship justice. That's when the excuses and the white lies start coming in to save face or avoid unsolicited advice out of concern.
Given the upside to such open-ended relationships is the fact you and your partner are on the same page (at least), not having even that can suggest you’re in a fake relationship.
21. Your partner always acts like you're doing too much
In a fake relationship, even the most basic things that people in love do might be deemed doing too much. For example, you ask your partner to be more expressive of their feelings towards you, they flair up. You say I love you to them, and they complain you’re saying it too often.
Communication and intimacy suffer between you because everything that helps improve them seems to have the opposite effect on your guy. It can be exhausting, to tell the truth.
22. Your partner isn't one to cuddle
A classic example of guys who end up leading women on in fake relationships is the one who you can never pin down to cuddle. Although some may have genuine reasons like being averse to touch or close contact, most of them just do it to keep you from feeling sentimental.
The majority of the time, these guys aren’t with you for the romance, no matter how often they come back. They only show you love when they want an itch scratched, and soon as it is, they grow cold again.
23. You can't be yourself with your partner
Sadly, when being yourself results in nothing but bouts of arguments with the one you love, suppressing those sides of you seem like a reasonable compromise. Except it isn’t. Once you do it the first time, the subsequent times become easier until one day you realize you've changed so much you can barely recognize the girl in the mirror. Not good.
True love and genuine relationships are supposed to be nurturing, and any relationship that causes you to disconnect from your core identity to keep up can’t isn’t that.
24. You don't argue or fight
On the other hand, it also doesn’t inspire confidence if whatever you or your partner does goes because you're both avoiding conflicts. You see, real relationships need fights to improve. No couple is 100% compatible, we all have our differences, and they sometimes come out in the form of arguments.
If you never fight, you don’t get the opportunity to learn what the other person is like when mad, nor would you improve as a team. Hence, if you often suppress how you’re truly feeling to keep the peace and your partner goes along with it without query, chances are you are in a fake relationship. At least one of you knows it's not going anywhere.
25. Your partner treats you like Ms. Right now
When we meet Mr. Right or start seeing signs that a guy might be the one, it's natural to throw caution in the wind and just sink your teeth into him. You want to know all about his life before you, what he likes, what he dislikes, what gets him off, and the things that piss him off. You are thoughtful regarding him, and his happiness is always a priority to you.
Even if you don't like him a lot sometimes, you can't help but be affectionate towards him because you know he's the one. On the flip side, Mr. Right now doesn't get all that consideration, just immediate satisfaction, and vibes. Well, if you get the feeling you are your partner’s Ms. Right now, you are certainly not in a real relationship.
26. Consistency is generally low between you
Another one of the tell-tale signs of a fake relationship is a noticeable lack of consistency. It can have you feeling over the moon and in love one moment and questioning everything the next. When it looks like your patience is finally paying off and your partner begins to show interest in actually making the relationship work, something happens again, and it’s back to square one.
Progress is a term you’ll generally not describe it with because you don’t see enough of it too. Unlike authentic relationships with love, devotion, commitment, trust, etc., at their core, the only thing you can expect to be consistent in a fake relationship is the lack of progress.
27. Your relationship lacks emotional depth
What do you expect from a relationship where you can’t be yourself, communicate effectively, or even cuddle? Every single point on this list of signs reiterates in their own way the reasons why emotional depth and fake relationships don’t go together.
How could it? When one partner either won’t open up to the other or are too busy keeping things on the surface to share anything tangible.
28. Confusion is the order of the day
From feelings to where you and your partner stand on things, you'll find yourself waiting around and looking for answers… a lot. While this may not necessarily be a red flag in a new relationship, it's worrisome if you guys have been racking up the hours, and you are still every bit as confused as you were the first day you got together.
29. You keep things superficial to a fault
There are no rules against keeping things in a relationship, but what differentiates a real relationship from a fake one is the balance. Actual couples can act silly, be playful and have fun with each other like new lovers. But when it comes time to get serious and talk things out, they are just as down.
They have goals and plans and actively work towards making them a reality. When one partner slips, the other isn't afraid to check them, and that's what really defines real relationships.
Being casual with your partner, especially at first, isn’t what makes for a fake relationship per se, it only does when you get stuck there.
30. You don't tell each other secrets
To get a bit more specific, an inability to confide in your partner can point to phony business. This is not to say you can no longer share your secrets with your best friend once you get into a relationship or even marriage. But you should be able to confide in your spouse as well.
Given that people in love have to get comfortable with each other first before sharing the gory details (for fear of being judged), it’s understandable that a fake relationship may never get there.
31. You know nothing of your partner's insecurities and fears
Confiding in a real partner transcends discussing money or sex issues that you can only tell a select few, if at all anyone else. Sometimes, it looks like the truth behind the decisions you make on the outside, the deeply private and personal stuff that ends up bringing you even closer together.
But if you can’t even adequately thrash the issues that concern you both in a fake relationship, how likely do you think it is that you’d be discussing insecurities and whatnot?
32. Compromise is a strange term in your relationship
At least joint compromise is, as far as a fake relationship is concerned. If there's any sacrifice going on, it's one of you doing it. The entire task of making the relationship work is assigned to one person. And that’s usually the one who is head over heels in love. The other partner is either too bothered to care or too busy to try.
33. There is someone else somewhere for your partner
Either an ex he can't get over, or the love of his life he never got to be with. If you keep feeling like you have to compete with this other woman for his heart, chances are your boyfriend doesn't count what he has with you as a real relationship.
You probably serve a purpose right now, someone to talk to when he wants, keep him warm on cold nights, but only because she’s not available. This is even more likely if everything he does with you only points to the temporary, and things tend to get inflammatory between you whenever the elephant in the room comes up.
34. He is married
Things can be even trickier if the other woman in question is his wife. Not only would you have history to compete with, but there’s also their marriage, and truth be told, statistics aren’t on your side either.
You may get all the love, attention, and even the better function of his penis. Heck, he might even have genuine feelings for you. But if you’ve been at it for a while, and all you keep getting are empty promises that he’d leave the missus, odds are he never will.
In the raw sense of it, you may have a relationship with him alright. But it may never become officially real, not as long as a simple breakup can mean sayonara.
35. The relationship exists only on your partner's terms
Another potential red flag in a relationship is when one partner holds all the cards. You get intimate on their terms, settle fights when they make a move, move to the next milestone or initiate breakup when they say the word.
Your love life may not necessarily be as phony as the aforementioned social media influencer type. But until you stop being a passive participant in what should be an active combined effort, you may never fully experience what it’s like to be in a real relationship.
36. Things feel forced between you
One of my favorite things about love and relationship is how insignificant they can make time feel sometimes. How you can spend an entire day talking about nothing and everything with your favorite person in the world and not get tired.
Authentic ones are that easy, but it’s hard to get that kind of flow going in a fake relationship. True relationships take effort too, but not so bad that you can’t even hold conversations with your partner without preparation.
37. Your partner was never keen on starting a relationship
Speaking of force, a fake relationship can also come about by pressuring someone who is clearly unwilling to get into a relationship. As much as some of us don’t love to admit it, female wiles are a thing, and many of us are good at deploying it when we really want something.
If there is even a slight possibility that this might be your case, and some of the signs on the list are consistent with your reality, your partner is probably faking it.
38. Fake relationships are all about comfort
They may be pretty and bubbly, good for the gram, and make everyone watching from the outside drool, but there's nothing real underneath. They can be based on what most people describe as the good life – sex, money, status, escape from loneliness, etc.
And while you may be thinking those aren't so bad, what happens when those urges are satisfied? When being around someone, anyone is no longer enough to keep the loneliness at bay. When your heart craves something real, something you can truly call your own? Because you sure can't count on a fake partner to hang around when you no longer serve their purpose.
39. You are comfortable lying to each other
It starts with the little white lies; something you say to keep the appearance of perfection up. For instance, if your relationship is based on you both being well to do financially, and things start going south in that area. Not only might you not carry your partner along on your money problems, but you may also go to lengths to make it seem like things are rosy.
So, you keep going on those expensive outings and committing to things that involve spending just so they don’t get a whiff you are no longer green. If you’d sooner get into more trouble to cover one up with someone you call your partner, it’s obvious you’re in a fake relationship.
40. Your partner always has a logical explanation for everything
From why he always has to work whenever you have something serious planned to why you are in a fake relationship, to begin with. Fake relationships aren’t entirely this hard to sense thing if you’re honest with yourself. But for every doubt you have, your partner will have something sensible to counter it as long as they are still interested. Being there, it’s not an easy place to get out of.
Unfortunately, that ability never seems to surface when it comes to making the relationship work in the face of real problems. Rather than get in front of the big deals, they’d be more invested in making you not see them as such. Talmbout “let’s just live in the now and not worry about such things.”
41. You don’t feel like a real couple
Not everyone in a fake relationship can act oblivious to their reality. Sometimes, the lack of flow in the couple’s interaction is enough indication that there is an issue. Sometimes, it’s the complete lack of intimacy.
Other times it’s how the love seems barely existent until he wants something, you’re in front of his friends, or the internet is watching, in which case the ostentatious display begins. No matter what you do in a fake relationship, something always just seems off.
Some of the more common signs of a fake relationship include an absence of effective communication and emotional bond, capitalizing on physical attraction, and ingenuine, often forced display of love. People in fake relationships usually do not make a lot of plans towards a future together and may avoid all things that suggest real commitment.
Like all things fake, a fake relationship is a sham, even if it looks like the real thing on the outside. It’s the kind of thing desperate people resort to escape singlehood. At least one of the people involved in a fake relationship usually knows they are not really in it.
There is only so much acting one person can do before they slip. A guy who is faking love would inevitably betray the defining features of the feeling no matter how long it takes. He would only be at his best when he’s had time to prepare, so catching him off guard can reveal his true intentions.
Whether it’s a feeling or an orgasm, people who fake things tend to either understate the real thing or overcompensate by embellishing their act. For love, his words won’t always align with his actions, and if it’s the latter, there would be no proof that he indeed finished.
In addition to verbally expressing his feelings, if your boyfriend loves you, his actions would also indicate it. He’d pay close enough attention to all that involves you, put real effort into your relationship, and above all, treat you delicately and with respect.
Fake relationships are nothing but an illusion of the real thing, just as the feeling of infatuation is often mistaken for love. Remember, just because you want something badly doesn’t make it true. I hope this helps. As always, kindly leave a comment and share this article if you liked it.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.