The Brutal Truth About Having A ‘Back-Up’ Boyfriend Or Girlfriend


Relationships these days are shit! Whether romantic or strictly platonic, relationships are sheer and utter trash. You couldn’t buy a friend since 1988 and as for romantic involvements; they have been reimagined and reconfigured into various prototypes that are so far removed from the real thing it’s hard to fathom how people ever stayed together in the quote end quote good ole days.

These days, we don’t do relationships. We do relationSHITS that come in the form of flirtationships, situationships, textationships and infatuationships but not REAL ACTUAL relationships.

These relationshits are relationships that have taken a great big greasy shit in the toilet of our consciousness and the result are these emotionally frugal substitutes that we have accepted and even embraced as an alternative to love. One such subtype is the backup buddy. This is the person that we keep on standby as a backup plan just in case who or what we actually want doesn’t pan out. This is our spare tire, our in case of emergency, our last resort.

But are we really giving our relationships a chance if we secretly harbor a series of fall back partners on the side?

As a gay man, I have seen this firsthand as having a series of comfort men/BUB’s (back-up boyfriends) is standard practice when it comes to matters of the heart. Within the community of gay men that I live and work around, it’s commonplace to hedge your bets by keeping a harem of potentials as “friends” just in case the current flavor of the week happens to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Sure hope springs eternal but the reality of most of the relationships I have been in (and I’m sure many other gay men have been in) is one rooted in eventual disappointment as they don’t seem to make it past cumshots and appetizers.

I try to temper my cynicism with a resilient optimism that won’t leave me constantly paralyzed in a state perpetual grief but the reality is while not every man is the same, all men I don’t know are the same. They come with the same games, the same lines, the same cold and distant behaviors. It’s as though they are reading from the same tired old scripts which has forced me to entertain the idea of a Plan B Boyfriend once I get into my next relationship and I am not alone. I learned that my ex already had a “friend” waiting in the wings who he could connect with whenever his underdeveloped heart so desired. Here I was thinking that I was “the only one” and here he had another pocket option he could go down in the DM with and skip happily down infidelity lane. Silly me. And while I try not to over identify with my fucktard oppressors in this Stockholm Syndromesque disaster we call “millennial love,” there is something to be said about having a backup boyfriend.

The Benefits:

Having a back-up boyfriend comes with many benefits. For one, it spares your heart the expense of having to get over another person alone. Usually after a breakup you spend so much time in the waiting line – waiting to heal, waiting to get over him, waiting to meet your next opportunity/ your next mistake.

Waiting, waiting always waiting.

With a back burner lover, the flames are always kept high. There is no such thing as watching extinguished flames turned charred embers of what never was because with a backup buddy, the fire keeps burning hot. For two, you don’t have to waste time over processing your breakup. While it is a good idea to give yourself a cleansing period to analyze your breakup, sometimes the paralysis of analysis kicks in and does more harm than good. A well-oiled distraction is sometimes just what the doctor ordered to heal your wounded spirit.

A third benefit of having a plan B boyfriend is this: If you and your partner are having some serious relationship differences, having a fall back partner might serve as a reminder of your viability. It will let your partner know that you are not with them out of necessity but rather out of pure unadulterated choice. It will send the message that if they don’t act right and begin to demonstrate an actual desire and commitment to be with you, there are others just waiting to take their place. Somehow when dogs know another dog is salivating over what they think is their bone, somehow that bone starts to grow some meat on it. It’s like they see you through an entirely different set of salivary glands.

The Drawbacks:

Nothing is without its adverse consequences and having a backup boyfriend is no exception. When you are in a relationship, having a prospective plan B can be perceived as a self-fulfilling prophecy as it suggests an underlying belief in the relationships eventual demise. This underlying core belief can determine how much we invest in a relationship and ultimately affect our motivation to give our best.

Additionally, it just might undermine the trust factor that exists between you and your partner as it brings to mind the same dilemmas associated with a prenuptial agreement. The unspoken expectation of failure and the unwillingness to work things out knowing that there are always other options might be salient concerns that your partner might vocalize either outright or behaviorally.

Also, having a backup boyfriend can be construed as a form of emotional cheating especially if you begin to utilize that potential plan B as a source of comfort and support during times of relational turmoil with your current partner. Having a plan B panders to the temptation to feel that the grass is greener on the other side and subsequently act on such temptations which can prove fatal to the bond you are trying to establish and strengthen with your current partner. Truth is the grass is only as green as the water you apply to your own lawn. But somehow grazing in fresh grass always seems appealing and less demanding than the tired old cud we have been chewing on for years.

Relationships are hard and can indeed cause one to entertain the prospect of having a partner on standby. We live in very uncertain times and no one is promised to us. Our sincerest hope is that we can make our relationships work but sometimes no matter how hard we may try, how much we invest, sometimes they don’t. Having a plan B can be a breath of fresh air and relieve the anxiety associated with the possibility of a failed relationship however it can also result in a host of other complications with a current relationship. It’s important to explore the benefits and drawbacks before deciding on what course of action is right for you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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