In Relationships, How Much Do Labels Matter?

When most couples first begin dating, they describe their relationship as  just dating/seeing each other.” This undefined time can be confusing – is he my boyfriend? Friend with benefits? A guy to tide me over till the next guy comes along?

The boundaries of the relationship are also blurred. Can we see other people? We’re just getting to know each other, but are we exclusive? This is the stage that many couples go through before having the official Talk.

Generally, The Talk will lead to the next step of the relationship. People often look at it as a way of clearing any blurry lines and getting the green light from the other person to start labelling each other. Girls tend to be more in favour of the boyfriend/girlfriend label. It shows that the couple is progressing in the relationship and secures their status.

But what happens when one person in the relationship is not a fan of labels? This can cause much confusion and conflict. When someone refuses to wear the label, he or she might be viewed as someone who is copping out or scared of commitment.

Whether you’re for them or not, this simple word doesn’t change who you are to the other person. When a person enters into a relationship, she doesn’t say: “I’m this person’s girlfriend, so I have to do this, this and this…” Rather, when dating, people should say: “I’m this person’s girlfriend because I want to do this, this and this…”

Instead of wasting your energy deciding what to call the relationship or how to refer to each other, harness it and put it towards focusing on how to make that relationship work. You might think, I can’t consider him my boyfriend if he can’t call himself that. But a boyfriend is not just a label to wear; it is a role to assume.

So when did labels become such a huge deal? As we grow older and gain a better understanding of who we are, we need labels to help define ourselves. Are you a teacher because you earned your certificate? Are you a lawyer because you passed your bar exam? Are you his girlfriend because he introduces you to his friends as such?

For some, after dating for a certain period of time, the exclusivity of the relationship is automatically implied. They don’t need to go around wearing signs that say girlfriend or boyfriend in order to define themselves as a couple. For others, having the official talk and clearly defining the relationship acts as a security belt. Whether or not you’ve already called yourself it, if you’ve been dating for a good period of time, you text/call each other on a frequent basis, go out on dates regularly, aren’t seeing anybody else and intend on continuing in this way, you are his girlfriend!

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Tags: another woman, boyfriend, couples, date, Dating, exclusive, girlfriend, Relationship, the talk

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