Why fake a relationship? For some, it means warding off questions from families and friends about settling down, For others, it means getting an unwanted suitor off their backs. But if you’re unhappily unpartnered, a pretend lover doesn’t make you any less lonely.
That’s where Invisible Boyfriend/Girlfriend comes in. Founded in 2013 by Matt Homann and Kyle Tabor, the app allows you to create a love interest who interacts with you in real-time. Some use the service as a way to convince their friends—or ex-lovers—they have a hot date, but a growing number of people are signing up for Invisible Boyfriend/Girlfriend because they’re seeking an emotional connection they can’t get in the real world. Through voicemails, texts, and handwritten notes that bolster the fictional relationship, your invisible boyfriend or girlfriend can interact with you as if they really exist. Except they don’t; who you think of as your virtual partner is actually made up of hundreds of for-hire writers.
Is a fantasy app a healthy substitute for genuine human connection? We talk to the founders of the company, a woman who works as an Invisible Girlfriend, and a sex therapist about the pros and cons of faking a relationship.