Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Lists, Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Real-Life Relationships You’ll Never, Ever, Ever, Ever See In A Movie

"Why are you smiling?" "Just thinking about how lucky you are that I like your cologne."

I’m generally a fan of things Jason Segel has a hand in — “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Knocked Up,” etc — so it didn’t take much convincing for me to go see “The Five-Year Engagement” a few days ago. Without giving any spoilers, I’ll say that I enjoyed it but was somewhat disappointed by the fact that it started to veer into “Whoa. I’ve never seen this relationship situation really addressed in a movie before“ territory — which I greatly appreciated — but then got a bit more Hollywood towards the end.

Now, I understand why movies do tend to inch toward the “Hollywood relationship.” Although we bitch and clamor for realism, we still do generally want to be entertained and feel good at the end, and showing certain types of “real-life” relationships might cause people to enter the theater with buckets of hot buttered Zoloft instead of popcorn.

With this in mind, here are four types of real-life relationships you’ll probably never actually see in a movie

1. The man with the life-long side piece

In one of the most baffling types of real-life arrangements in existence, there are men who  have started and ended multiple relationships but managed to maintain the exact same side chick throughout each one. I guess it makes sense — comfort and consistency are, frankly, the shit — but if that isn’t the most ambitious-less, Everest College-ass relationship shit I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is.

2. The f*ck buddies who don’t even really like f*cking each other

A couple years ago, a friend told me about an arrangement she had with a guy who’d come through once a week, have a couple glasses of moscato with her, and then would proceed to have terrible, awful, unbearably awkward sex with her. They both hated it — apparently he once fell asleep while she was on top of him, woke up, gave a couple more pumps, and fell back asleep — but this “relationship” continued for a couple months.

Thinking that this friend was an just a sad anomaly of coital despair, I told the story to another friend, who expressed that she also was in a similar arrangement — a full NBA season (seven months) of awful sex. When I asked her why she continued a friends with migrant worker benefits arrangement, she replied “I don’t know. I guess I just liked the way he smelled.”

3. The people only dating because…wait, why the hell are they dating again?

I was actually in a relationship like this a few years ago. We didn’t really like each other all that much, we both knew it wasn’t going to last longer than a year, and, well, did I mention the fact that we didn’t really like each other all that much?

I guess you can say that we stayed together because of the sex, but is it really worth staying in a relationship where both parties give each other a 5.5 to on the “10 point Like Scale” just because you’re sleeping with them four times a week?

It ended after exactly one year, which was maybe 11 months too long.

4. The people who’ve always pined for each other…but die without ever actually getting together

In the movies, these situations usually get resolved with some contrived-ass deferred meet cute that puts them in a situation where they have no choice but to realize that they need to be together.

In real life, though, sometimes these people continue to see each other in passing and at parties and continue to wonder and fantasize, but never actually hook-up — a situation as sad as the thought of Derrick Rose proctoring a PSAT. (Too soon?)

Anyway, people of VSB, can you think of any other types of relationships you’ll never see on screen? Also, if anyone out there has actually been in one of the type of relationships described today, come to #REMINISCEDC Saturday night and either I or Panama will give you a hug (if you’re a woman) or a shot (if you’re a man). Actually, f*ck it. Hugs and shots for everyone!

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for And a columnist for EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't.

  • Mini

    Anything starring Chris Brown and Rhianna and a happy (sane) ending

  • Nei Jae

    3 and 4…. definitely been there and done that

  • Loving Me

    The you’re just together because you’ve been together so long it doesn’t make sense to split relationship. I know people who have been together since high school, lost the passion before high school even ended, but are each other’s best friend and have been together for so long that since they don’t hate each other, they’re just together. Not engaged, but still just together same as always.

    And although I do know one movie that featured this kinda relationship (although they gave it a totally Hollywood ending) it rarely gets mentioned so the we’ve known each other for 20 years, have really great grown up time every couple years, have love for each other but refuse to actually try being together relationship. I’ve had a couple of these and they don’t end happily like the movie


    The black married couple that has no baby mama drama, no mistresses and did not meet at a club. According to hollywood, these couples are like unicorns…

  • Tea

    love it…# 2 would be hilarious to see played out in a movie

  • Justmetheguy

    1. I like Jason Segel and want to see that movie now.

    2. Champ u had to get a restraining order on a chick? LMAO! Man, I always forget that that actually happens in real life. My radar for crazy is tuned pretty well so far (knock on wood). I know how to find them only slightly neurotic to moderately crazy or impulsive. Never batsh*t psycho tho lol

    3. I guess I’d say the people that always wanted to get together or at least it seemed like they were feeling each other, but before any solid confirmation could be made they started dating mutual friends before they got the opportunity to explore the attraction (Maybe there has been a movie about this one though. I wouldn’t know)

  • MadScientist7

    f*ck buddies where the f*cking is bad? what the hell? this doesn’t compute to me.

  • Aisha White

    Chortle! Chortle! Gasp…! Damn. This is funny as hell…Yep, I’ve been in the ‘Pine for a Dude’ category. The timing was always screwed up! In fact, he contacted me after he was freshly divorced and I was newly married. The irony of that is too much to bear. But…(sigh!) I always thought we would be so perfect together…

  • MJoy

    The ‘Im with you just because I don’t want you to be with anyone else” relationship. This is currently leading to my sister’s wedding in September. I’m already planning the divorce party, I mean bachelorette party ;)

    Does #2 actually happen? Eww

    If #4 was a movie we’d all jump off a cliff afterwards.

    And I love that you used the phrase “meet cute”. I thought only screenwriters talked like that. Bravo.

  • Yoles

    i can’t come up with movies titles that go against what you have said but:

    1) i guess a movie that shows a man with a long term mistress or whole other second family is the equivalent of long term side piece right?

    2) i have never, never ever, never ever, ever, ever, known, heard of or overheard (yall know i’m nosy) of FWB that don’t enjoy each other s.exually… isn’t usually they know it won’t work but the coitus is so good and they can push each others buttons so efficiently that they keep doing it?!?!? that sounds like some real bullshyt… i don’t like to waste my wet & i thought that most women were down with me on that respect!

    3) this would make the plot so plotless imo

    4) well i have seen movies with people that pine that never hook up for ex. the Legend of King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table, where his Queen, Guinevere fell in love with Sir Lancelot but they NEVER hooked up.

    the only type of relationship i can think of that i haven’t seen in a movie yet is a gay male couple in which both dudes are just guys who dig dyck, no femininity or softness, no over sensitiveness or sashay shante or whatever…

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