Let's make this clear: I am single AF. I was in a relationship with the same guy since I was 15, and it ended last summer. Now I'm 22 and going into my senior year of college, and I've never actually taken time to be by myself. So when my relationship with my long-term boyfriend stopped being fun and became too toxic, I reached my limit, dumped him and ghosted him.
I needed to learn to live without a guy by my side and that it's OK to be single because I chose it for myself. I've been dating here and there, but I haven't found anyone quite worthy yet. So instead of forcing it with someone new, I thought to myself, "Why not create a fake bae and leave people guessing?"
So, I concocted a master plan.
Step 1: Get a hot, gay best friend who's willing to be your pretend bae.
Step 2: Make the Instagram account public, just incase any exes or their friends are lurking.
Step 3: Take a "couples" picture with your best friend and new bae, and post it on the 'Gram. Don't tag him, though. You want to leave people guessing who it could be.
Step 4: Wait for reactions.
Step 5: Buy yourself flowers (roses, of course).
Step 6: Have your pretend bae write a cute note (in sloppy boy handwriting), and then place it strategically in midst of pedals.
Step 7: Pick a random name. I picked "Derek" because I don't know any Dereks, and the only one I am aware of is hot AF. (I'm talking about you, Jeter.)
Step 8: Watch as the master plan unfolds.
Since posting about my "new boo," I've been asked when I go out in public who it is I'm dating, where I met him, when I met him and the whole shebang. There were so many times during this experiment I completely forgot I had a pretend boyfriend. I literally had so many “oh sh*t” moments when I would “like” a picture of a cute guy on Instagram, or reply to guys hitting me up (which they still did, despite my expertly crafted facade. They truly DGAF).
I only let the people I'm really close to in on my secret. But to people who didn't know me, I had to go along with the story to make the experiment go off without a hitch.
And it did. I just didn't predict what happened next.
When I was pretending to have a boyfriend on Instagram, I realized I don't need a man to make myself happy. I can take myself out on dates and have just as much fun by myself as I would with anyone else.
With this experiment, I learned to date myself. I didn't let the lack of a bae stop me from going out with other couples.
I went everywhere alone and had a perfectly good time (possibly an even better time than when I was out with a guy). I went to the movies, concerts, the mall and to dinner all on my own. It was liberating.
Being alone taught me to live more in the moment, and it has made me more self-aware. I make decisions differently now. I'm more spontaneous because I don't have anything holding me back anymore.
I can literally get on a plane tomorrow and never return, just because I can. That's a really powerful thing to realize.
Everyone should be spontaneous. Give yourself an adrenaline rush, surprise yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Go to a coffee shop alone. Screw it all and go to a bar alone with just you, your laptop and your confidence.
I love the time I spend with myself and the time I spend with my friends. They keep me sane, and I have no idea what I'd do without them.
At the end of this experiment, I realized I taught myself how to be in love with myself. I learned being myself was enough.