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har­ing a kiss in Hol­ly­wood re­cently, J-LO and on/off boyfriend Casper Smart looked like they’d put their very pub­lic split be­hind them. But if re­ports are to be be­lieved, their two-year re­la­tion­ship may never ac­tu­ally have been over.

Ac­cord­ing to a source close to the cou­ple, J-LO and Casper faked their break-up – which came about af­ter he was al­legedly caught sex­ting two trans­sex­ual mod­els – as a way to drum up pub­lic­ity for J-lo’s lat­est film, Boy Next Door. But while some have been quick to judge the singer over the ‘fake-up’, I’ll hold my hand up and ad­mit that I can un­der­stand why the idea might have seemed ap­peal­ing.

En­ter­ing into the me­dia in­dus­try eight years ago – where it’s as much about who you know as what you know – I pre­tended to be sin­gle in a vain at­tempt to boost my ca­reer. I didn’t think I should flirt my way to the top – I was very happy with my boyfriend of six months, Sam* – but in a work­place that re­lied on schmooz­ing over sau­vi­gnon blanc and can­celling evening plans to stay late in the office, it seemed wise to pre­tend I didn’t have a blos­som­ing ro­mance to dis­tract me.

For the most part, my plan worked. My sin­gle, care­free façade meant I made friends quickly, and I was asked to try my hand at more things than my loved-up col­leagues. At the start, Sam was sur­pris­ingly cool with it. He en­cour­aged me to get my­self es­tab­lished and seemed in­ter­ested when I re­galed him with tales from my nights net­work­ing. But his easy­go­ing at­ti­tude wasn’t to last.

Re­la­tion­ship ex­pert Re­becca Dakin isn’t sur­prised. “Pre­tend­ing to be sin­gle for your own gain proves that your re­la­tion­ship isn’t your pri­or­ity,” she says. “Deny­ing that a part­ner ex­ists will likely lead to feel­ings of in­se­cu­rity or even a split.” Founder of Women In The City, Gwen Rhys, agrees: “Net­work­ing is key to building busi­ness re­la­tion­ships, but your abil­ity to make a good im­pres­sion has noth­ing to do with whether you’re sin­gle. You do your­self no favours pre­tend­ing to be some­thing you’re not.”

They’re right. Within a short time I’d vaulted rungs up the ca­reer lad­der – but Sam and I broke up. And be­cause I couldn’t tell any­one at work about it, I re­ally strug­gled.

It’s only now with a bit of hind­sight that I can see how wrong I was to think my “sin­gle” sta­tus had any real im­pact on my ca­reer. I know now that it was my drive and am­bi­tion that helped get me where I am to­day, not the fact peo­ple thought I had no ties.

Per­haps with two years un­der their belt at the time of their ‘fake up’, J-LO and Casper had a stronger foun­da­tion to weather the time apart, but if my ex­pe­ri­ence is any­thing to go by, it could all still end in tears.’

The cou­ple were snapped kiss­ing two weeks ago

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