What’s the difference between long-term exclusive hooking up, and being in a relationship? No, that’s not a rhetorical question, I’m seriously asking, because it seems like the exact same thing. There’s a new ‘thing’ happening with guys and girls that keeps popping up; the thing where they hook up, hang out all the time, are exclusive, but aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend. I kind of get it – when I first got with my boyfriend I was adamant that we weren’t ‘in a relationship’, because I was scared of all the emotions and pressure that could come with the label. But after a few weeks, it just seemed natural to upgrade into boyfriend/girlfriend territory – we clearly had serious feelings for each other, we hung out all the time, and we weren’t getting with other people.
But a lot of people don’t reach that natural graduation point, which doesn’t make sense to me at all. If you are doing all the things boyfriends and girlfriends do, what difference does a label make? Saying you’re in a relationship doesn’t change you into different people. It doesn’t even have to alter the relationship you have. Even for practicality reasons, it just makes way more sense to be official – it will help your parents understand why he’s staying in your house over Spring Break, and will make you sound much more sane when you tell random girls to back off your man.
The only reason I can think of that a couple would avoid being official is because someone is afraid of commitment – but if you’re doing all the things boyfriends and girlfriends do, you’re already committed! Sorry if I sound judgmental, but after a particular point of ‘no, he’s not my boyfriend, we just hook up exclusively’, you’re kidding yourself. You cannot be the single, free-spirited, ‘I don’t like labels’ girl (or guy) if you have an exclusive hook-up buddy you have feelings for. You need to decide what you really want; the super cool, laid-back identity you’ve created for yourself, in which case dump the guy and get with whoever you want, or your apparently-not-that-significant other. If you really like the person you’re in a not quite relationship, man up, get over your weird label-phobia and make it official. It just doesn’t make sense.
Basically what I’m saying is that the more you say that labels don’t matter, the more significant they become. Just call him your boyfriend! It’s so much easier and is literally just a word that defines what you’re already doing. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, and can actually be pretty cool.
What do you think? Are relationship labels a big deal? Leave a comment below and click here to see what He Said!
[Lead image via Warren Goldswain/Shutterstock]