Dear B. Scott,
I started dating a guy at my college about 7 months ago. We were in a relationship (happily, or so I thought) for about 3 months…when he broke up with me all of a sudden because he was afraid of commitment. We stopped talking for about two months and then he told me that he missed me and that he wanted to work things out. I agreed to work on things, but after a couple of weeks he stopped coming around and made excuses for not spending any time with me. He then told me that during that time he was “dating” another girl to test his commitment to me, and through that he realized that he loved me and wanted to be with me.
Hearing that he was dating another girl behind my back really crushed me, but I really do love him and through all of that I do believe that he loves me, so again I went back to him. Now we are in a strange spot, we do everything that a couple does, we’re even planning to meet each others parents soon, but we don’t consider ourselves “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” And this really bothers me, its not like we’re a secret because his friends and family know about me, but whenever I see him saying things about him being single on social networks I feel so disrespected, and he knows this but doesn’t see the problem.
He tells me all the time that he isn’t ready to be in an official relationship because he’s afraid of losing his freedom, but he’s not interested in being with anyone else. I really do love him and the thought of us not being together doesn’t sit well with me, but not having that “girlfriend” title makes me really insecure. I don’t know how to continue to be in a relationship without a real commitment. Am I selling myself short by waiting around? Or is a title really that important?
Dear Love Muffin,
Yes, I believe a title is that important. But it’s not about whether or not ‘I’ deem a title to be important, it’s about whether or not you do. Honestly, this is not about the philosophical question of whether or not titles or labels are important or necessary, but very much so about what you’re comfortable with.
Some may say that if you’re secure in your relationship, a title wouldn’t matter…but I beg to differ. Titles can serve as a reminder of the types of commitments we have with each other in relationships. Please keep in mind that a commitment can be defined by whatever agreements two people decide upon. Claiming somebody as your boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t marriage, it’s just making it known as to what the situation really is. I don’t see any problem with saying you’re together if you’re together. I would be concerned that the reason he isn’t defining your relationship is because he wants to keep his options open in case he wants to interact with other people in ways that aren’t consistent with being labeled your boyfriend.
I think you need to evaluate your relationship and seek what will make you happiest. If you feel that you need more from him, then you need to make that clear and let him know. If he’s completely upfront and says he doesn’t want something you value, then you have a choice as to whether to continue or not. You have that power.
You have a right to be in the type of relationship you feel is best for you.
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