I am almost positive that about half of the people reading this article right now have been in at least one, of what I like to call, “non-relationship relationships”. These are situations in which you’ve been seeing someone for a little while, maybe a month or more, and you’re not really sure what’s going on anymore, or where it’s going. It started out totally normal: you probably met in a bar or something and exchanged numbers. You start texting back and forth and eventually decided to go out for coffee or a meal together. You went on a second and a third date and both enjoyed each other’s company so much that eventually the more formal dates started to evolve into going on little adventures together and spending weekend nights at home watching old movies.
As much as you’re enjoying this new-found romance and are reveling in the newness of it all, as time goes on, you start to question things. You hang out a lot and you talk all the time and it kind of feels like you’re in a legitimate relationship but you haven’t had “the talk” yet. And so you end up in this awkward position where you’re spending a lot of time with this person and you’re talking all the time and yet, when people ask you if you’re single or who this boy is that you’re talking to all the time, you find yourself mumbling something along the lines of “well I’m kind of seeing this guy but we’re not really official so I’m kind of single maybe?” It sucks when you can’t give a straight answer and it’s confusing for everyone involved.
Despite the fact that you might not be looking for your soul mate right now, you start wonder where this “thing” is going. As much as you don’t necessarily feel a need to label anything, you start to wonder what this person’s intentions are and you’re honestly not sure how much they even like you. For all you know, they might be one of those people that can’t be by themselves and maybe they’re just keeping you around for extra company.
What started out as all fun, laughter, and exciting new romance has suddenly got you guessing all the time. You’re getting to that point where “the relationship talk” happens but – usually based on past experiences – you know that this could ruin everything. You could start a conversation about where this is going and before you even get the chance to explain yourself, they’re already stuttering a bunch of awkward “ums” and “ahs” and desperately trying to come up with a way to get out of the situation. This is the part that bugs me the most, because before you even get a chance to explain yourself and say that you’re not necessarily looking for anything serious, you just want to know what their intentions are and how you should introduce them as to your friends, they’ve already assumed you’re the “clingy girl” who wants to make things Facebook official immediately and introduce you to her grandparents, when honestly that idea makes you nauseous.
I know that I’m much too young to be settling down. I’ve got a lot of changing, growing, travelling, and learning to do in the next few years of my young adult life, and I know that settling down with someone in that time frame just isn’t realistic. But I’m also too old and have too much respect for myself to be wasting my time on someone who thinks they can have all the benefits of having a girlfriend without putting in any of the work. No matter what stage of a relationship you’re in, you deserve and should demand open communication, honesty, and the decency to know what the other person’s intentions are. I’ve spent enough time with enough guys trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter and that I don’t need anything more, but all I’ve learned is that it messes with your mind too much not to deserve and demand more.
As much as you try to convince yourself that it doesn’t matter and that you’re fine with things the way they are, all the nights sitting up in bed wondering to yourself if they actually like you or if you’re just being used are not worth it. I’ve learned that it’s always better to risk having “the conversation” and them ending things right there and then, rather than continuing things the way they are and constantly questioning yourself and your self-worth. If they bail as soon as you bring up any amount of real talk, it’s best that it ends anyway because that relationship – or whatever it is – just isn’t meant for you.