Sex + Dating

I Started Fake-Dating a Boyfriend Pillow and It Might Be Ruining My Real Relationship

boyfriend pillow main photo
Daniel Fishel/Cole Saladino/Thrillist

As I write this, both of my boyfriends are lying on our bed -- separate, but together. One boyfriend is listening to a podcast, eyes closed, arms crossed over his body. My other boyfriend is draped on my side of the bed, half-covered by our printed bedspread.

They do not acknowledge each other. This might have to do with the fact that one boyfriend is a human and the other is technically a pillow. My human boyfriend doesn't like my boyfriend pillow. Meanwhile, my boyfriend pillow wants (I assume?) to be loved by my human boyfriend, but has likely given up hope.

I worry about them both because ever since I started fake-dating a boyfriend pillow, our pairing has messed with my real relationship.

boyfriend pillow
Daniel Fishel/Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Welcome home, baby

People are going pretty koo-koo-bananas over boyfriend pillows right now. They're popular because they are empowering in a unique way: by giving women all the physical aspects of cuddling, without the need to "lock down a man." At least, in theory. The whole concept sparked my interest.

As a sex and dating expert, I've tried some pretty interesting toys and tools -- and the prospect of having a fluffy, inanimate boyfriend who never complains, only wants to make you comfortable, and holds you into the night sounds pretty intriguing. Admit it.

I got my own boyfriend pillow for a few reasons, the main being that I'm a complete and total freak with a deep dependency on snuggles. Not just any snuggles, of course. I don't enjoy many people touching me and even give my friends butt-out hugs. I'm like a cat: pet me, but only with your eyes… unless you're going to give me a present. In that case, by all means.

What I DO enjoy is snuggling my domestic partner, Michael. I would crawl inside his skin like an amoeba if I could.

It's fine, I swear.

But since Michael and I both have jobs and lives and can't always be together for these addictive cuddlefests, I figured, "Why not get a boyfriend pillow to fill in the gaps?"

Arturo arrived, dressed in shoddy business casual. He's a half-torso with one arm, stuffed with foam air-beads that were just waiting to to be filled with my adoration. "Why not just have two boyfriends?" I wondered, giving him his name and one-upping my cuddly needs.

I introduced Arturo to my real-life boyfriend, and was totally ready to have the cuddle-threesome most women only dream of.

Maybe it's just me. This might just be my dream. Whatever.

BAE was inspired to "fight" for my love

My boyfriend would most definitely NOT fall into the category of alpha-jock asshole. Michael's rather quiet and demure. He's reserved, sweet, and sexy. These are all things I like about him. He is not the jealous type and never feels the need to remind me how amazing he is. But my, my, how quickly aggression can turn on.

He got weirdly defensive about Arturo, and very quickly. No sooner had I propped Arturo around my neck and interlaced my fingers with his cushy phalanges than did my partner object to his presence.

Michael suddenly wanted to display his superior masculinity to this inanimate object I was fake-dating. "He ain't shit," my real boyfriend said, squeezing Arturo's cotton bicep. He then flexed and squeezed his own.

Let's be clear here. My silver fox, 30-year-old boyfriend was comparing himself and competing with a goddamn pillow.

boyfriend pillow
Daniel Fishel/Cole Saladino/Thrillist

My mother took my boyfriend's side for some reason

My mother and boyfriend are low-key obsessed with each other and while this is all very sweet and good, they sometimes gang up on me when I'm doing things they don't like. Case in point: my liaison with Arturo.

Boyfriend and I were on the phone with my mother one evening, casually lying in bed, when I started rubbing Michael's head with Arturo's plush hand.

"Stop. Stop it," he protested. My mom, of course, wanted to know what was going on. I explained that I now had two boyfriends.

"Why do you need a boyfriend pillow if you have a real boyfriend?" my mother lamented. No one seemed to understand the nature of my relationship with Arturo or the purpose of it, only that it was somehow undignified.

I, for one, couldn't understand why everyone was having such a manic meltdown over a PILLOW whom I happened to be quasi in love with. It seemed only Arturo and I were in on the joke. Everyone else just thought I was a weirdo.

The next day, I sent my boyfriend a photo of me dancing with Arturo. "It would be nice if you had pictures of US dancing together," Michael responded.

boyfriend pillow
Daniel Fishel/Cole Saladino/Thrillist

I grew kind of attached to sleeping with my boyfriend pillow and my boyfriend didn't love it

We made a Gigi sandwich: I slept in the middle, spooned from the back by my boyfriend and in front by Arturo. BAE didn't love it, but for the most part didn't object.

He did put his foot down when I tried to get him to lace fingers with Arturo and hold hands over my shoulder. He thought that was too weird. So, I settled for being the PB&J while my boyfriends were the white bread.

To be completely honest, I'd become pretty attached to sleeping with Arturo after only a few days. He's very comforting. He is just the right size to support my neck and wrap his arm around me. I feel supported and safe -- much like you would with a REAL boyfriend.

boyfriend pillow
Daniel Fishel/Cole Saladino/Thrillist

With time, I could feel my partner's irritation growing

As the days and weeks progressed, I could feel Michael becoming more and more irritated by my love for Arturo. He would see me cuddling him and flatly say, "I don't like Arturo," before climbing into bed and putting on his headphones.

Things came to a head when I casually suggested that Arturo come along to the Bowery Hotel, where I had rented us a room (and procured a Lush "Sex Bomb" bath bomb) for Valentine's Day.

"Absolutely not. Arturo stays here." BAE looked at Arturo with such vehemence, such anger; I knew I would have to acquiesce and leave my poor, fluffy, fake boyfriend at home. It suddenly dawned on me that my fake relationship was actually starting to take its toll on my real one.

Where is Arturo now?

In the end, I stopped sleeping with Arturo every night. He's cute and stuff, but he actually makes my neck too warm and smells like the chemicals from the Chinese factory where he was born. He does still occasionally sleep in the bed with me -- I sometimes sneak him in to be my little spoon when my boyfriend has fallen asleep. (I'm not weird, you're weird!)

My relationship is OK and BAE has moved on from his annoyance. He's a really cool guy and I feel a little guilty for riling him up.

At the end of the day, I swear I understand that Arturo is still a pillow. I totally support women going out and getting Arturos of their own; but I'm not going to lie and say this fabric arm of foam makes up for a lack of emotional intimacy. Still, the pillow will be there in the morning -- unlike that random dude you met on Tinder.

You gotta do you, girl.

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Gigi Engle is Thrillist's Sex and Dating staff writer who has two boyfriends, one of whom is a pillow. Follow her lovable crazy on Twitter, iTunesFacebook, and Instagram @GigiEngle.