When Is A Relationship Official?

Dating used to be simple.  In the olden days men courted ladies who strolled through the countryside with a parasol in hand on chaperoned dates with their suitors.  In the 50’s guys gave girls a pin and were asked to “go steady” solidifying that the relationship was official.  Now things are so complicated with there being all different levels of dating, hookups, and relationships that it is nearly impossible to keep track.  There are friends with benefits, there is dating  but not in a relationship, and there is dating while not sleeping with other people yet still not in a relationship and it is all very confusing.  Older generations have trouble understanding what today’s youth is doing and even the young adults amidst this crazy dating world are perplexed at times as well.  What happened to the simple times where a guy asked a girl out, you went and got a milk shake, and soon enough you were holding hands and going steady?

I am currently dating a guy and honestly couldn’t be happier.  I’ve grown to care less about putting labels on things and have learned to live in the  moment.  However, I’m still curious as to what exactly my relationship status is.  We have established that we are not with other people but have also decided to take things slow.  We talk daily and have a great time together.  We went on vacation together and spend nearly the entire weekend together yet I do not refer to him as my boyfriend and we are not official yet.  I can’t help but wonder if there is an intent to head in that direction or if the jury is still out on his end and I wonder if just because we haven’t sat down and defined that we are couple that it means we actually aren’t.  We do everything that a couple does, we aren’t with other people and I personally don’t want to be, and we have a great time whenever we hang out (which is often).  However, he has not asked me to be his girlfriend and does not call me that…so where do we stand?

It is easy to tell when you are just hooking up with someone and it is not going to go anywhere because guys make it very known when they are not looking for a relationship.  In the first weeks of courting they all lie and pretend to want a relationship because they want to get laid and know if they are up front from minute one, that is not going to happen.   However, shortly thereafter they do admit that they “don’t want to be obligated to hang out with you” or “aren’t looking for anything serious”…i.e. they just want a fling.  There is nothing wrong with a ‘friends with benefits’ scenario as long as there is honesty and understanding by both individuals that things will not go much beyond the bedroom and late night calls and it won’t amount to anything serious.  Yet, what about a situation where the guy seems to truly want a relationship and every action he takes screams “ready for commitment” while he states he “just wants to take things slow?”  How do you know when he means that and when he is just saying it as a formality?  How do we know when we are in a relationship and it is ok to refer to our significant other as our boyfriend if there is no conversation establishing such salutations?

Relationships have become so confusing and I feel as though both guys and girls don’t know exactly how to act or what to think.  We spend so much time worrying about labels and what level our relationship is at rather than just enjoying the moments with that other person.  Sure I’m curious where my relationship is headed and I spend time thinking about it or I wouldn’t be writing about it.  Yet, I don’t let the “what ifs” get me down and I try not to think too much beyond the week ahead.  Modern dating is all about letting things take their course, not rushing into a serious commitment, and enjoying yourself as much as possible while respecting your significant other.  The formalities and steps towards becoming one’s girlfriend may have gone out the window but when the time comes for you to cross the line from one level to the next you will know.  It may not be asserted or discussed but rather it will just evolve with time.  Dating has changed from a game of rigid guidelines to a loose endeavor of fun and excitement.  Not every relationship has to be a committed one and not every connection has to go somewhere.  Courting should certainly still take place (it’s the best part of dating!) but rather than strolling on a date with a chaperon we instead have our potential new guy meet our friends, we try out the goods before we buy, and we go where the wind takes us.

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