This is waaaaay too much work. How hard is it to draw boundaries and why is it bad to say - my relationship is none of your business? Of course people pry, that doesn't mean you have to allow it.You're right. I'm an atheist, and I'm familiar with telling little white lies and fudging the truth in order to keep peace in social settings.
Of course, the difference with a story about a fake girlfriend is that people pry. They feel it's okay to ask about details, ask how you met, ask what it's like putting up with an LDR, etc. But whatever. I guess that's the price one pays to keep the peace. Like I say, I've been in an actual LDR previously and had to explain it socially. So I know what's required. I'll just prep a good story accordingly.
I also dug out an old, plain, back-up wedding band from my first marriage. I'm thinking of putting it on my right (non-marriage) ring finger. It may seem like overkill, but I've definitely noticed that walking around without any jewelry on my hands these last 5-6 years is like having a target painted on my back. Older women look at older men's hands the same way that young men look at young women's cleavage. Sometimes I feel like saying to older women, "Eyes up here!"
The ring wouldn't be on the marriage finger, but it should at least cause women to pause and ask. I envision conversations with female friends going like this:
Friend: You have a ring on your right hand?
Me: It's kind of a "going steady" ring. We're not engaged or anything, but my girlfriend wanted us to wear something to show that we're in a committed relationship. Just so that there are no misunderstandings.
Friend: But it's a wedding band.
Me: It's all I could find when "Liz" brought it up. But "Liz" was fine with it being a wedding band. She seemed to like it.
Friend: I'm guessing that "Liz" wears the pants in your relationship.
Me: Happy wife, happy life. But that works with girlfriends too.
It may seem kind of silly to go to such lengths as wearing a fake ring, but people really do pry. When I was in a real LDR, some friends would poke and pry about my girlfriend, wanting details. Some even refused to believe that an LDR could be a serious relationship, and they would quiz me on it. So today, if I'm in a social scene, I know that people are going to want to hear about "Liz," invite me to bring her to events, etc. So it helps to have a seamless story, with the help of props if needed. Besides, a ring will remind *me* to keep my story the same with everyone. In a way, embarking on a lie of that magnitude is a big endeavor. I feel like I'm a gay guy 50 years ago who needs to marry a straight woman as a "beard" in order to pass in straight society.
It would be a whole lot easier to tell the truth. But if I do that, then I'm just a "woman-hater in need of therapy." So I guess I have to prepare a whole song-and-dance about "Liz," the elusive girlfriend who never seems to be available to meet my friends. At least with "Liz," when the single older women lament, "Where have all the good men gone," I can just smile and shrug my shoulders. I'll be safely shacked up with "Liz," and it won't be my job to account for the comings and goings of all the single men in the world (as has been the case in the past).
Oh well, that's life. No complaints, no regrets. I now know my place in the grand scheme of things; I just need to firm up my story and pick up a few props as needed. There was a time after my second divorce when I enjoyed all the attention coming from the women around me. And I thought I was pretty good at deflecting them and dodging their advances. But sooner or later the drama would always start up. Nowadays, I just want some way to shut women down before they even get started. If a little white lie will do the trick, that's fine with me. The main thing is not to get caught in the lie. People get pretty disappointed if they find out you're not who you said you were. Also, then I would be back to being the "woman-hater in need of therapy."
Again, you've been helpful, kyuuei. Any other tips or suggestions on how to manage relationships with phantom partners?