“It happened again,” my friend Erin said as soon as I picked up the phone.
“What?” I asked.
“Jeremy’s engaged,” she whispered. This was her fourth ex to get engaged/married to the woman he dated directly after her.
Watch: What the Horoscopes are like dating. Post continues below.
“Oh,” I said and sat down. I knew this was about to be a long conversation.
“Why does every guy I date find his f*cking wife after we break up?!”
It was a valid question. Erin was beautiful, smart, and by all accounts, had her shit together. She had a great career, owned her own home, and had the cutest dang dog. But in the period I’d known her, I’d been married twice and she’d only had one romantic relationship that lasted longer than a few months.
There’s a new term for anyone like my friend: a “foster” boyfriend or girlfriend.
Urban Dictionary defines this as, “A guy/girl who dates someone until that other person finds their forever partner.” These foster guys and gals are placeholders, the “foster pet” someone has in their lives until they meet their future spouse.
While my friend Erin said she was ready for a long-term relationship, her actions showed she clearly wasn’t.
Her actions make up how you can identify whether you’re also a “foster” boyfriend or girlfriend:
1. You spend most of your energy focusing on your career or crossing things off your bucket list.
People who spend the majority of their time and energy advancing in their careers, seeking out new experiences, or pursuing a certain lifestyle are going to have very little time available for a serious relationship.
Erin’s worked overnight (7pm to 7am) 4-5 days a week as a nurse in our area’s top trauma ER. She was often overworked and exhausted due to her schedule and the demands of her job.
2. You communicate sporadically with the people you’re interested in.
Erin really liked Jeremy, her most recent ex, but she was terrible about reaching out to him. She’d let his text messages or phone calls go unanswered for sometimes days.
She always had her busy schedule to blame, but it doesn’t take much time to respond to someone with a, “Hey, I’m really busy, but it’s nice to hear from you. I’ll try to check in when I have some free time!”
3. You don’t particularly enjoy the “romantic” part of romantic relationships.
Erin didn’t care for public or private displays of affection. She wasn’t going to cuddle with a dude on the couch while watching a movie, and she certainly wasn’t going to sleep next to someone after they had sex. Even though she and Jeremy had dated for months, she only let him stay the night once.