The other day I had to remind my sister to update her Facebook status from "engaged" to "married." She was being a bit lackadaisical with letting her world know that she was officially hitched.
Indeed it is a right of passage to update that Facebook status. The "single" on my Facebook status is old, dusty and rotting. If I ever try to change it, I think the whole system will break as the gears on my Facebook status are dry and rusty...and a bat might fly out of there.
I talk to many friends who get hung up on "status" of a relationship. I can't decide if this is a legitimate concern. On one hand, if you're dating everything is great, the person is treating you right, why does it matter if you're labeled girlfriend-boyfriend?
On the other hand, if things are so great, why not just go ahead and admit you're girlfriend-boyfriend? It's a little strange and concerning when someone refuses to call someone a girlfriend or boyfriend. Why are they holding back from that step?
Ultimately, for guys at least, calling someone a "girlfriend" is a step toward commitment. And you women know how scared us guys are of commitment.
To a guy, here are the things that change after he has a girlfriend:
-He's off the market
-He can't look around as much (or as obviously?)
I think women who avoid titles have the same issues.
Ultimately, agreeing that you're "boyfriend-girlfriend" is agreeing on the logistics of a relationship. You're no longer "friends with benefits," or "casually dating," which is another step in intensity.
Plenty of guys hang out with women consistently, are physically intimate, say they care/have feelings, but then turn around and say "I don't want to have a girlfriend." There's a heavy connotation with the word.
So the status defense mechanisms are using words that are not as serious as "boyfriend or girlfriend" such as: we are dating, we are hanging out, we are talking, etc.
Things get a little weird when one person starts peppering the other person with questions about what's going on, or "what are we?" In my experience, those conversations never go well - they become over analytical and argumentative.
You can't force a person to call you a girlfriend or boyfriend. But at the same time I understand how someone can get nervous if someone doesn't call them a boyfriend/girlfriend after a while. I'd be concerned that:
I advise you to avoid the "what are we conversation," especially when the relationship is moving along just fine. Why rock the boat?
It's really all about timing. At some point, you both become ready to be labeled "together" - so hopefully the timing works out correctly.
Usually it just happens. I often avoid calling a girl a "girlfriend" as long as I can. Then I get a little kick in the butt. I'll see her talking to a guy from afar while we are out and I'll realize that she's not "mine" because we haven't taken that step. Usually the little kick in the butt gets me to spark the conversation: "I really like you," etc...
My favorite are the story is (and I think this happens more often than I think): the guy is with with friends or family and says:
"This is my girlfriend, so-and-so," and it's the first time he's ever referred to her that way. Like I said sometimes it just happens.
So I'm still divided; do you think it's legitimate to get hung up on "titles"? Do you feel weird after a while if a guy you've been dating refuses to call you a girlfriend? Do you have the "what are we" conversation often, and does it work out for you? Do you agree with my thoughts?
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Posted by Rich
Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.