I have been dating someone for a year now. A whole year of my life has been spent learning about this person, but we still don’t call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. He recently introduced me as his “friend” to his co-workers, friends, and boss.
Did I mention it’s been a year of dating?
It stung at first. I felt slighted. If I’m not your girlfriend then what am I to you? I’m definitely more than a friend and we’re not just hooking up. The ambiguity of the situation stressed me. The question churned over and over in my mind.
Where do I stand with this person? I fretted until I decided to take a step back. I put aside my ego. I put aside my perceptions about the conventions of dating and I realized I’m actually fine with it. I don’t need the title.
Allow me to explain.
1. He spends money on me.
Whenever I’m in doubt, I look at his actions. He pays for every meal, picks up the tab for drinks and gets me little gifts here and there. He always drives and opens every door for me.
Personally, it feels awkward to carefully seat myself in the passenger side while holding my legs together to preserve my short-skirted dignity while he patiently waits a mere foot away to close my door, but that’s just me.
He is incredibly sweet and thoughtful. One of my favorite memories of him is seeing him walk up my driveway with a bouquet of flowers in a vase for me. A handwritten note peeked out.
During an argument where I questioned his commitment to me, he asked me, puzzled, how I could question him when I looked at the money he’s spent on me.
That is not to say he buys my affection or is obligated to pay for everything in my life. I definitely pay for a fair share of dates. When I see something I think he’ll like, I don’t hesitate to take it up to the cash register. Rather, money is important. It’s an indication of investment in another person and in the relationship. You don’t spend money on people you don’t care about.
2. He spends time with me.
We are both working professionals. We are both chronically tired. By we, I mean *I* am always exhausted. I can and will nap everywhere. But he works random hours, sometimes not getting home until 11 PM only to wake up at 6 AM the next morning to do it all over again. Yet, he still makes the time to see me, to be attentive and to engage in something fun.
We rarely stay in, although we do love a stuffed crust pizza and movie night from time to time. He is my partner in crime and will get a coffee and join me on a hike, a new flea market, an interesting bar with a wild drink. He plans dates and is open to my own ideas for an adventure.
As someone who values her time, I appreciate how much he invests his own precious time in me.
3. He is affectionate.
I hate PDA. I still can’t hold hands in public. But with him, I can let my guard down a bit. I feel safe and warm (I’m also always cold) when he walks with me tucked under his arm. Granted, sometimes I trip on his feet because it’s actually pretty hard to walk while intertwined with another human being.
He has never made me feel as if I were just another person, just a friend. I certainly don’t kiss my friends on the mouth while waiting in line for a burger with extra fries.
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. The world is not so black and white. There are no right and wrong ways to feel loved and appreciated. We are now in a world of change. Relationships have new definitions and new ways of being expressed. While I have moments of doubt, I am human, I’m grateful to have this person who is the very definition of a (boy)friend.
He is supportive, caring, and wonderful. He’s what I look for in a partner. That’s all I need.