So what are we? Friends? Friends with benefits? Dating? Hooking up? In a relationship? In love? Just hanging out?
Why is it so important to define the relationship? Why put a label on it? First, when is it not important? When you really aren’t sure what you want and you are honest about that right from the start. The person can then decide whether they want to proceed with so much ambiguity going on. They may be willing to give you time to decide if you want to keep things casual or be more serious. It is better to say you aren’t sure then to tell someone something that you don’t think you can deal with in time. However, over time it can be hard to be stuck in relationship limbo. So at some point you will have to make a decision!
So why is it important to label the relationship? It is very helpful to know where you stand. Its good to be upfront and honest about what you want right away. If you know you just want to be friends with benefits, be honest so the other party can make an informed decision. Feelings get hurt very easily when you tell someone what they want to hear and then change your mind the next day after you get what you want. It isn’t fair for someone to get involved with you under false pretenses. A lot of times people are afraid to be vulnerable or rejected so they won’t say what they really want. This is when the games start. A lot of confusion happens when you are too scared to set the boundaries of the relationship.
Some people are too afraid to get serious right away. Some people are still working out feelings for another person at the same time they start getting to know someone new. This can be hard for everyone involved. It is easier if you can close one door before opening another. But life isn’t always easy or simple. Things do get complicated. So do your best to be honest with where you are at. If you aren’t ready for something serious, let the other person know. If in time you are spending all your time together and you aren’t seeing anyone else, why not label the relationship??? At this point you are in a relationship whether you want to admit it or not.
Some people say they want to keep their options open. If this is what you want then DON’T spend all your time with ONE person!!!! It is not fair to spend a couple months with someone exclusively, not commit at all and just leave when something better comes along. If you aren’t ready to commit then you aren’t ready to spend too much time with any one person. Men and women both develop attachments after spending so much time with just one person. It isn’t fair to let someone get attached to you if you don’t plan to stick around.
I realize sometimes it is your plan to stick around but things don’t work out after a couple months. That is fine. Life happens. No one can predict the future. The whole point of dating is to get to know someone better and find out if you want to be more committed. That is why you shouldn’t get married right away. It takes some time to really get to know someone. Break ups do happen with out that being the intent from the beginning. But, if it is your intent to eventually find someone else, be fair to the person you are hanging out with now and let them know you want to keep it casual. Then actually follow through and KEEP IT CASUAL!!! Which by the way, is defining the relationship at that point as NOT serious.
Labels are helpful for everyone to know where they stand and to avoid conflict and hurt feelings down the road. Like I said, break ups and hurt feelings can still happen, but if it is unintentional that is part of life. It is much worse when someone is intentionally using someone else and hiding behind the fact that they don’t want to “label” or “define” the relationship. If you are a player, let the world know and then you’ll find the people who really don’t care if they’re played. If you are looking for something serious, don’t pretend you are okay being friends with benefits. You will only get hurt in the end. Be true to who you are and be honest in the moment and you will avoid a lot of games and conflict on your road to finding what you want in a relationship.