My favorite fictional character, Carrie Bradshaw, once said “Women come to New York for the two L’s — labels and love.” What Miss Bradshaw did not address is our endless need to constantly combine the two. Instead of Chanel or Michael Kors, we are fixated on boyfriend, fiancé or wife. Can you have one big L without the other, and if so, how can you be sure you’re not buying a knock off?
A very close friend of mine had been dating a guy for several weeks but did not know where she stood as far as having a titled position in his life.
It got to the point where it was causing her anxiety and after a multitude of awkward introductions she finally had to break down and ask “What are we?”
His response was “I’m not seeing anyone else and you’re not seeing anyone else but why do we need to put a label on it? We are two consenting adults and it’s not like we are in high school anymore where we need to openly say this is my boyfriend or girlfriend.”
Understandably, my friend was less than satisfied with this response. She feels the title is very much an important factor in terms of knowing where you stand in each other’s life and I am inclined to agree. She was not pressuring him to be “Facebook official,” just established with each other. She asked me, “how can I introduce him to people when I don’t know what to introduce him as?”
“Hello, this is the guy I am sleeping with. I’m only sleeping with him but he’s not my boyfriend and I’m not his girlfriend, we are just together,” can get to be quite a mouthful. Hallmark does not make an insignificant significant other card.
The label matters.
Why are we so afraid to put a label on our feelings? Is it fear of things falling apart or fear of commitment? Perhaps it’s not fear at all, but instead a desire to remain independently free. Whatever the case, once a relationship gets to the point where one party is feeling the need for exclusivity, they should not feel afraid to speak to their mate about it, you are in this together.
Eventually, he decided that yes, they are boyfriend and girlfriend. She is happy because she knows where she stands in his life.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, ask yourself if it would be worth losing the person over your fear of having a label? Just because you call someone your boyfriend or girlfriend does not mean you are locked down for life. Move past your fear of commitment and let that other person know where they stand, otherwise they might leave you sitting in the dust.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.