A new app goes to incredible lengths to create a fake partner who can keep nagging mums, curious colleagues and nosy friends at bay.
The aptly-named Invisible Boyfriend service charges $25 (around £16) to create a customised virtual lover of your choosing, complete with photos and a life-like back story.
The US-based web team behind the app "want to help those in want of a tailored, accessible boyfriend to avoid awkward social situations and questions".
"Maybe our real world girlfriends are in a same-sex relationship and they’re hiding the truth from disapproving relatives. Or maybe Larry, a Class 3 clinger, is bothering you at work because you don’t have a better half. Or you’re too invested in work to pursue romance," reads a mission statement on Invisible Boyfriend's website.
"Are you LGBT? Deployed overseas? Focusing on a promotion? An Invisible Boyfriend can help you manage real-world distractions."
Those interested in using the service can "choose a boyfriend from our extensive library, customize his personality to your tastes, and decide how you will interact. Then you’ll be able to live your life the way you want".
The website gets its photos from members of the public (18 or over) who donate selfies, in the cause of faked romance. Women are encouraged to submit their selfies too, as the app aims to develop a similar service for make-believe girlfriends.
Once you have your pseudo-partner's photo and back-story in place, the app will ratchet things up a notch by using a "lightweight auto-texting service" to formulate real-time text conversations between you and your "boyfriend".
The tech team are working on unique ways to communicate via phone calls and voice mail, as well as using gifts, personalized notes and flower deliveries to help flesh out a credible and believable figure.
How far you take it depends on how much you're willing to splash out on the service, and the app is currently developing a variety of different packages with tiered levels of forgery.
It's up to you what your boyfriend looks like but the archive of photos have a theme to them:
"In essence, your boyfriend will be someone you’re not ashamed to bring home to mom, a homebody bridging the gap between Plain Jane and a wildcard. Our boyfriends are credible proof who are obtainable and believable."
It's entirely up to you what your fake-believe man's name is, along with his characteristics. He may be sweet, charismatic and sensitive Dylan or slick, passionate and suited Nic.
You can call on your own powers of imagination for the back story but for those short of time, the app has created a template for you to simply fill in the gaps:
"We met in a bar called (name of bar) (name of city), (what he was doing) and I decided to introduce myself. (name of drink) (what you did) the whole night."
The only slight risk is that you might actually fall for your completely made-up amour; the app's faq section warns that this scenario "seems a bit far-fetched, and a sit down between you and Jerry Springer may not be out of the question".
What do you think? Would you invest in an invisible boyfriend service, or is it all just a bit too OTT? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below
Main photo: Getty Images