Yesterday the lovely and talented Ella Ceron wrote about 5 Reasons Why Your Undefined Relationship is Toxic. I’ll admit that when I first read the title I immediately wanted to start crying – because I am one of those people in an undefined relationship. After actually reading the article, I spent the rest of the day soaring through a range of emotions thinking about the many misconceptions of being in a labeless situation. While I realize that I’m one of the lucky ones (my not-boyfriend is a God amongst men and I’m fully aware that trying to do what we’re doing with anyone else would be near impossible) the general stigma of participating in a non-relationship is staggering. So allow me to bust some knowledge your way on the reality of what it’s really like.
1. Some people are in them willingly.
Surprise surprise, not every twenty something is looking to become Facebook official overnight. There are some of us who actually don’t want to be someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend – not because we’re not into the person we’re dating, but because we know that being someone’s significant other requires some sacrifices and selflessness that we’re just not ready or willing to make. Sometimes you have a connection with someone but you also want the freedom to work on yourself too. Thus, the beauty of an undefined relationship.
2. … but that doesn’t mean we’re all just in it for the “casual hook-up/sex”.
It’s important to differentiate between hooking-up and undefined relationship. If what you’re taking part in is a purely physical interaction that happens only in the darkness of night, you aren’t in anything let alone an undefined relationship. Dating someone casually, exclusively, or whatever it is you’re doing has sex, yes (because it’s important part of any relationship) but it’s not meaningless and it’s not the only thing you two are doing.
3. You make agreements, not rules.
This differs twosome to twosome and depends on what exactly your intentions are in the non-relationship you’re in. However, the longer you reside in the undefined you’ll talk and come to place of understanding of what you each want to do going forward. Harking back to the above obviously you’ve agreed on one thing – you’re not “just hooking-up”, and everything else outside of that is really no ones business.
4. There are times where it’s more complicated than an official relationship, but there are times where it’s easier.
It can be hard to explain or navigate a relationship that has no real structure to it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, it just means that sometimes it takes a little extra work in certain situations – whereas it’s pretty cut and dry if you’re boyfriend/girlfriend. Alternatively it has moments of complete simplicity that you’re not afforded if you put a label on it. For example, it’s easier to focus on your own needs and wants rather than having to always factor in someone else’s needs and wants as well.
5. Just because you’re not boy/girlfriend doesn’t mean the person you’re with doesn’t care about you.
“But if he really liked you, he’d be with you.” That’s the quote girls tell each other over brunches and wine nights whenever someone is in a non-relationship. This sets up this assumption that unless someone is willing to slap a label on it they simply don’t care about you. My not boyfriend has spent more than one occasion on the phone with me listening to me cry (which, as everyone knows is male kryptonite. Hearing a woman cry makes most men want to crawl out of their own skin), has moved things around in order to make me happy, and in general supports everything I do. That means more to me than if he woke up one day and said “please be my girlfriend”, as some marker to show how he feels about me.
6. You have to ignore outside pressures and do what feels right for the two of you.
There are moments when being in the undefined feels right and then you’ll talk to a friend or read an article about how what you’re doing is “toxic” and to be honest, the pressure to have the “what are we” conversation with one another is strong. If what you’re engaging in is healthy and has open communication, you’ll have to ignore that urge and just continue on with doing what you’re doing. We’re a society obsessed with instantaneous classifications, but in reality relationships & love aren’t instantaneous and easily classified. It’s not always all or nothing, and it doesn’t always need a definition to exists.