I am ‘fake dating’ my friend’s dying daughter

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I (30M) am “fake dating” (it may be a long story) my friend’s very sick daughter (18F) because her doctors think she’ll die soon, my feelings are now real though and that I don’t know what to try and do.

Yes, it is a bit of a long story but I’ll attempt to explain and keep it as short as I can.

My friend’s daughter has been Ill practically her whole life, she has heart problems and also has cancer.

Her doctors said back in January a bit after she turned 18 that she probably wouldn’t stay alive past October. So she asked me to try to do her a favour, at the time it seemed a touch crazy but I agreed.

She asked me that now that she was 18 if I could just pretend to be her boyfriend,

why, you must be thinking?

Because she explained to me nobody wanted to know her because she’s basically dying and she likes me and apparently had never been in a relationship.

Basically, it became clear that she just wanted to spend quarantine at my place, have me sit through her online meetings together with her, take her out on dates etc

While I didn’t really have any romantic feelings towards her in the least. I felt so bad knowing she probably wouldn’t live past October so I agreed (obviously I did ask my friend/her father if it absolutely was okay first since we’d actually be dating or doing anything affection and it absolutely was just pretending)

And now here is that the real issue.

I think I’ve actually generated real feelings for this girl but it’s September already, her condition is already most worse and also the doctors don’t think she’ll even make it past Halloween much less her 19th birthday in January.

I know she is incredibly keen on me that’s why she asked me to pretend in the first place and that I realise she only asked me because she was dying, that and her needing to know what having a boyfriend would be like.

I assume she just wanted to experience this experience as she couldn’t ever really do normal teenage things.

But now knowing that she likes me and now me having feelings for her, I just don’t even know if it’s worth me telling her since there’s a 99% chance that she’ll depart this world within a month or two.

It is tearing away at me inside and that I really cannot decide what’s the most effective thing to try and do. There is a component of me inside that wishes I never agreed to this in the first place and there is also a part of me which is happy because these are a number of the happiest months of my life whether or not it wasn’t a true or actual relationship.

Nothing at the time led me to believe that I’d begin to genuinely grow so keen on her.

I actually didn’t think I’d actually start liking her and all that’s in my mind is that the question “is it even worth telling her now?” What for? To what aim? So it stays ‘real’ for a month?

Inside, I actually want to but it seems so hopeless, it seems so pointless, so I actually want and wish for advice.

Is it better to merely continue as we agreed with the ‘fake relationship’ since it practically has an expiration date or does it make any sense in the slightest degree to confess to her that I now have true feelings?

I really just don’t know what to try to to, my head is full of doubt and confusion and my heart feels such a lot of pain and when the time comes it’ll probably break completely.

Anyway whether or not I don’t get the recommendation I’m hoping for, just putting all my thoughts down has helped me immensely and I am glad that I did it but nonetheless I still would really appreciate some advice.

Thank you in advance


Usually on a problem page there will be so many letters about relationship problems. girlfriend problems, boyfriend problems, love, cheating and many other problems but this is very different.

It is such a heartbreaking story, filled with emotion and dilemmas, sadness and regret.

There is a young girl, there is love and yes there is also a hero.

The hero is you John. (I am gonna call you John)

This is such a sad story, mainly because of Jenny (not real name). A teenage girl who should have her whole life ahead of her.

sick girl in hospital bed

While her peers are looking forward Jenny is looking back and wondering why, all the time, every day she is left with this question, why her? What did she do to endure this fate?

We all have to die at some stage and not all of us will go on to live until old age, sometimes tragically we can die before we have even really lived.

The truly heartwrenching element to this story is Jenny is in fact dying but she knows she is dying.

I do not think anyone could truly understand the thoughts that now enter Jenny’s mind unless you have yourself been there. To realise how poorly you feel and know that you will never get better, that you may never again experience your birthday or Christmas, or grow up to have the family you had always dreamed of. 

girl looking from window

For Jenny it is not about light at the end of the tunnel, this is life and life always is now and that light is you John, your level of self sacrifice is great to see, you have made such a positive impact on Jenny’s life you are a good person and I commend you.

The young daughter of a friend usually conjures up an automatic relationship red flag and relationships are hard at the best of times but your friend and you especially are putting the wellbeing of Jenny first and quite rightly so.

Relationship problems come as standard with all relationships but your situation is not usual therefore the relationship problems are also likely not to be usual.

Love vs in love, is love real, love your neighbor as yourself, no topic in life conjures up so many questions, feelings, emotions.

girl being comforted

The reality is, no one can tell you you are in love, you just know it.

If you really are now experiencing real feelings for Jenny I would say 100% tell her.

It is worth it, it is worth so much to her. Jenny does not want to leave this world without knowing, without feeling, without experiencing that feeling that only love can bring.

pensive man

Though everyone’s priority is Jenny, there is also you, yes of course you are also important.

Maybe you feel a bit guilty developing real feelings for your friends daughter and maybe you are concerned for your future friendship.

This though is love and when love comes to town those invited cannot help but to answer their doors.

Tell her, tell her, tell her. Sometimes it is easier to live with a lie than an untold truth and such a regret can be exactly what mental health is, an open wound, with no chance of healing or closure.

sad man

Hold her hand, kiss her gently and whisper into her ear about how special she is and the love you hold for her.

Let her leave this world with your words in her head, a twinkle in her eyes, love in her heart and great memories of the time you have spent together.

John, you are doing a great thing and your level of self-sacrifice will ensure that instead of just pain and sadness, Jenny might now leave with a level of happiness in her heart. 

couple together

This alone will bring great comfort to her parents but for you also.

Good Luck 

Source Reddit


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