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askadude

Dear Dude,

I always seem to be having the same conversation with my girlfriends. Our relationships, in whatever form they take to begin with, always seem to hit the same problem area eventually. The dreaded “gray area”. It’s where men tend to drag out the dating or hooking up phase, and avoid putting a label on “what we are”. When do men consider themselves in a committed relationship? Does a conversation always need to take place, or is there a magical number of dates that we can consider the finishing line/entrance to couplehood?

-Confused

Dear Confused,

Yes, talking is helpful. Making a decision together is required. Assuming provides an assbag of problems.

There’s no limit and no requirement. There’s no $200 for automatically passing “Go” because there’s no space marked f*cking “Go.” Because you’re not in a game and you’re not playing a sport. The rules are what you and he make them.

As to why guys seem to need the “talk”? I’d say that’s a bit of a stigma. I’ve known women who had no interest in committing. I’ve known plenty of people who date because they don’t like the labels. And you don’t need to label anything. Here’s the most revolutionary thing I can tell you: LABELS ARE OPTIONAL.

Defining doesn’t belong to one term. You come up with the language for whatever it is you have with him. You determine what you both want out of it. You get to decide when you’ve had enough or when the boundaries have to move or be established. You have that freedom. And you have the freedom to call it or not call it whatever the f*ck you want.

We’re obsessed with labels and benchmarks and landmarks and scratch marks. We’re a culture consumed by charting where we are and where we should be on any given spectrum, be it in relationships or career or education or on your freakin’ Medal of Honor scoreboard. We’re a goal-oriented society. Such thinking and expectations have been ingrained in us. However, IMHO, we’ve got to let go of that mentality when it comes to what we want/need/expect from a coming together, if you will, with a partner. Otherwise, we’re always measuring the immeasurable and creating conflict where there actually might not be any, or at least not as much of.

Be label free until you decide to be. But no, you can’t just expect that decision to make itself.

Climbing the mountain of promise,

The Dude

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]

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