Gone are the days where we anxiously go behind the portables in middle school to kiss our significant other so no one else can see. Actions such as kissing behind the portables were done to mask an 11 year olds insecurity about dating a certain kid in school, so no one else could find out. Eventually later that week, the whole school would find out and your supposed stealth like actions have blown up in your face. Nonetheless, you would think many of us would “grow up” from such juvenile actions. Perhaps, but it seems these adolescent actions were just signs to come of our behavior as adults.
Recently, a girlfriend asked me: “This guy and I have been dating for a couple of months, and I don’t know where we stand. He tells me he doesn’t like labels, but it makes me feel insecure not knowing where we stand. What should I do?”
From these comments and questions, a few things jump out at me instantly. First, she clearly likes the guy and wants to move forward to a real, bona fide relationship. Once you reach your mid 20’s, man or woman, and you have been consistently seeing the same person for a few months you must like something (this something is used very loosely) enough about the person to want to continue to see them. If you didn’t you would avoid calls and/or encounters with the person (we have all done it). Second, he clearly is trying to have his cake and eat too. By not accepting to be labeled he either is afraid of true commitment or is leaving himself an out when his first indiscretion (use your imagination here) is discovered. Third, the outside pressure (friends, family, society) are beginning to weigh in on her of where she stands with the guy.
How can she release herself from the many doubts and questions, so that she may be free either mentally and/or physically from the locks and chains of this guy? A few approaches to consider with varying levels of risk:
1. Up Front and Personal- This approach is by far the scariest one to consider. In doing so, you put yourself completely out there. Face to face, woman to man, tell him what you want. The bigger the risk, the bigger reward; however, such risk could yield the most hurt as well. If such up front behavior is uncharacteristic of you, be prepared for the guy to be taken back by such actions. He may need some time to take it all in, the amount of time you are willing to give him depends on you, but remember don’t hold too long. By putting yourself out there, if he doesn’t get the picture it’s time to move on.
2. Become the Chase Again- I am not one to advocate “playing games” in a relationship, but since you do not have a “relationship” (according to Facebook) just yet, sometimes games are necessary. This approach is nowhere near as bold as the former, but will produce very similar results. As hard as it may seem disinterested (i.e. reduce the number of sexual encounters) in your guy, you must begin to slowly detach yourself from him. Hopefully, he will begin to realize what is going on, and begin his courting ways again.
3. Middle School Games- You can always revert to, and this most undoubtedly is where it all begins, is talk amongst your friends and mutual friends. By asking around of what he is saying about the relationship you most likely are not getting a true picture of where he stands on the topic, and by continuing this behavior you will ultimately create more problems than solve.