“I’m not jealous, I’m territorial. Jealous is when you want something that’s not yours. Territorial is protecting what is already yours.”
I’ve seen this quote circulating social media within the last few weeks. It appears in the form of cute little pictures with this text sprawled across it or as a status that receives countless likes and comments exclaiming “You tell ’em, girl!”
I have such a huge issue with this quote. I hate the mentality that this creates and promotes. It makes a statement that the person you’re dating is yours, or in some way belongs to you. It gives the impression that you somehow have sole claim over that individual that you affectionately refer to as your boyfriend/girlfriend. The following statement I’m about to share with you can’t be stressed enough.
They are not yours.
Wait, but they are your boyfriend or girlfriend, aren’t they? You’re in a relationship, right? Of course they are yours! No, they aren’t. That person doesn’t belong to you.
See, here is the thing: that person you’re dating? They have thoughts, feelings, desires, and ideas that you know nothing about — even if you’ve been with that person for months or years, and tell each other “everything.” That person has the capacity to make decisions about their life — without you. They are not a piece of land or an object that you can claim dominion over in the name of a relationship. They are people.
This is not to say that there isn’t a level of respect and commitment that comes with being in a relationship. There is an understanding that if you’re dating me, you’re not dating anyone else. There is a mutual respect regarded when you enter a relationship. I’m not saying by any means that a person who is dating you can go out on dates and entertain relationships with other people and you have to sit by and accept it. That’s not what I’m referring to.
What you need to understand is that while being in an exclusive relationship does come with a set of expectations, forever is not one of them. This person is not obligated to spend the rest of their lives with you — in fact, they have the right to break off the relationship at any time… even tomorrow. They didn’t sign a contract or commit to you for eternity. That’s what we call marriage (and even then, look at the divorce rate).
Yet we aren’t talking about that. We are talking about dating relationships. And although most people are dating in hopes to find that someone to spend forever with, it’s an insane notion to believe that a person you’re dating is “yours.” That person has agreed to link themselves to you romantically. They made a choice to be in a relationship with you — you do not own them. Please remember that.