Advice

The 5 Signs You’re A Filler Girlfriend

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I have a lot of straight male friends: guy friends who invite me to movies, to plays, who take me to dinner with their bosses, who call me on Tuesday nights when they want to get out of the house, who bring me to weddings, who GChat with me all day. I’m not dating any of them, but it recently dawned on me: I’m their “filler” girlfriend.

Related: The 9 Types of Pre-Exclusive Relationships

These guy friends are never all single at the same time: usually only one or two of them is unattached at any given moment. This means I spend a huge amount of my free time with the single ones, and see the attached ones every few weeks for dinner.

About every 10 months or so, the rotation changes: a guy who was in a relationship will break up, while a different bachelor will settle down. I’ll reconnect with the newly single one (“Why’d we stop hanging out so much? I missed you!” he’ll naively say), while the other guy will probably spend the next six months happily cocooned with his new girlfriend, emerging half a year later when said girlfriend is out of town, and, listless and alone, he scrolls through his Contacts List and remembers my existence.

I am the constant in all of this: the affable, forever single girl friend who can’t quite “hang with the guys” but fits in perfectly for those situations where a guy friend can’t: a wedding, a Sunday Night, a college buddy’s party.

Being friends with guys is fine; being a filler girlfriend is not. A friend is someone you see at a constant rate, regardless of your relationship status. A filler girlfriend gets dumped when there’s a real girlfriend to take her place.

Related: I Like You, You’re Really Great, But…” The Danger Of Wafflers

The Five Signs You’re A Filler Girlfriend

1. You go through periods of hanging out all the time. You realize these periods correspond to when he’s single.

2. When he’s in a relationship, he only spends time with you when his girlfriend is out of town or unavailable.

3. Even if you maybe hooked up in the past, your relationship is now strictly platonic. You never cross the line.

4. He’s overly invested in who else you’re dating. He wants you to confide all the details in him because it reassures him that you guys are just friends.

5. You go out to lunch, to dinner, to plays, to parties: He brings you as his plus-one to weddings and work events. People often think you’re dating, and you’re not quite sure why, exactly, you aren’t.

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It’s the male-female equivalent of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” A filler girlfriend will never lack for plans on a Saturday night: she’ll always be doing so many “date-y” type things that she’ll never quite realize she’s single. If a filler girlfriend needs a couch moved, or a date for an event, or someone with whom to grab Indian food, she’s almost always guaranteed to find a volunteer.

But eventually, the filler girlfriend will realize, (as I did), that maybe she’s letting herself be used as a filler girlfriend, so that she’ll always have filler boyfriends. And that being the filler girlfriend to lots of different people isn’t nearly as good as being the real girlfriend to one.

If you’re a filler girlfriend, value your friendships with guys. But make sure you’re also making room for the real thing.