Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Great "Relationship" Debate
I received a text message the other dear from a dear friend saying "Erin, is there a difference between Dating exclusively and being boyfriend and girlfriend?"
That question got my brain churning.
In my dating span I've heard many variations of this question -- does being exclusive mean you're in a relationship? Does exclusivity mean a commitment? When do you go from "just dating" to "in a relationship"?
To my dismay, all of the questions listed above have no real answer. I will, however, shine some light on my point of view and the point of view of others. First, let's define the word "Dating."
Of a couple, to be in the early stages of a relationship where they go out on dates to find out what each other is like, as a prelude to actually being a fully fledged couple.
I think we all agree that "Dating" is that uncertain stage where two people enjoy each other's company and try to figure out if there is potential for a relationship there. After a couple of dates, that's where the lines get blurry...When/How do you make the transition from "Dating" to "Exclusivity?"
The state of being in a relationship with someone where you are officially boyfriend and girlfriend, and there is no-one else involved. Usually attained after going on a couple of good dates with someone.
In my experience, I see many people refrain from becoming a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" out of a fear of being locked down, instead they prefer to be "exclusively dating." This concept confuses me, however, because by becoming exclusive with someone you are in a way locking yourself down from meeting others, only there is no label attached to it.
The question really is, when do two people know if they are Boyfriend and Girlfriend - is it assumed after months of exclusive dating? Is there a talk? Again, let's see the actual definition of what it means to be a "Boyfriend" and "Girlfriend."
A male whom a female begins a relationship with. He is not essential to making the female a better person, but more so a person she can depend on for emotional support, sexual comfort, or life lessons.
The female in a male-female romantic relationship. She provides love and emotional support for her boyfriend and is loved the same way in return. The girlfriend is also a friend, and thus is loved and respected on that level of relationship.
Though I've heard variations in the past, I think that most women will agree that if you are exclusively dating a man and having sex with him on a fairly consistent basis then you are assuming that you are in a form of a relationship. Again, there are many forms of relationships - new, budding, old, committed, serious, troubled - everyone has their own definition for what their's is.
1. any type of connection that brings two individuals together for a period of time
2. something other than a friends with benefits
3. more than a mutual understanding!!
Now that we've examined about every definition associated with a relationship that I can find on Urbandictionary.com I've come up with one conclusion.
People are going to do whatever they want to do.
Relationship. Dating. Fuck Buddy. Friends with Benefits. Friends. Boyfriend. Girlfriend.
There is so much gray area in dating that no one can predict what another person is thinking --- which is why every year millions of books are sold on this same topic. The only advice that I can give is use your gut - if something doesn't fee right, then it probably isn't - but make sure it's really your gut and not paranoia - those come from two different places.
To answer my friends question though, I personally believe that to be exclusive means that you're in a relationship and yes, boyfriend and girlfriend can be used. However, on the flipside, just because you're in a relationship doesn't mean it's long term - so buyer beware!
Have a Great Thanksgiving, Master Daters!