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Monday, 27 June 2011

Relationship Labels - Does facebooks 'it's complicated' define your relationships?

"It's been 6 months...where are we going?"

The reason I ask is because over the past few months I have witnessed a close friend of mine trying to establish a label-less 'thing' with someone else which never really got off the ground. The reason I think I did not get off the ground (or part of the reason) is because they never really had a clearly defined label for what the 'thing' occurring was. (Bear with me because even I feel I have not really explained it properly!).

You see she liked him and he liked her. They sneaked kisses here and there; they went for dinner dates and took trips to the cinema, the clubs and did other exciting stuff together. They also had in-depth conversations about what was going on with their lives their dreams, their ambitions and they even had sex a couple of times, but still no official label.

Conventional wisdom used to be that if she likes him and he likes her; and they engaged in all of the above the label most appropriate to be applied to them is that of 'couple'

Unfortunately today's conventional wisdom when she likes him and he likes her; and they engage in all of the above resembles more the modern FB's status of 'it's complicated'

Applying the appropriate label and at what time seems to be very complicated indeed these days; especially in the beginning stages of meeting someone.

Try to apply a label too soon and you may come off as desperate (which in most cases is detrimental). However put off labelling for too long and then requesting/demanding a label be applied; you may be met with some sort of resistance usually the old why fix what's not broken chestnut.

It's the classic 'where are we going' conundrum after 6 months of engaging in couple behaviour and not actually declaring yourself a couple. What do you do BDSS'er?

I read a very interesting piece in clutch magazine a few weeks back in which the author Danielle Pointdujour was discussing a similar theme: Hopelessly committed to non-commitment

In the piece Danielle described the different stages of  a committed but non-committed relationship:

At six months - things are great, he is great, everything is great –no label applied.

At twelve months – things are still going great, he is expressing the same sentiments as you but still no official label applied – 'its complicated' and 'why fix what's not broken' statements are made.

At two years - Things are greater still– you're living together with a young child but you realise still no official label applied - 'baby mother' does not really cut it! ha ha

Again what do you do? The author asked some interesting questions such as do you give up an otherwise perfect 'thing' which has no official relationship label?

I mean from the outside looking in, you act like a couple, think like a couple but between the two of you any discussion about an official label has been avoided so to not rock the boat. It is possible that this perfect 'thing' does not come with a wedding ring (all the ladies shudder ha!).

Me personally I love labels in fact when my friend was giving me all the juicy details of the label-less 'thing' that was going on between her and the person she likes (and who likes her back), I would often ask questions like:

“So… are you a couple.. then?”

“What is he saying, THEN?”

“What's going on with you and him....THEN?”

Clearly with the use of the word 'then' at the end of every question I was desperate to define what was going on between the two with some sort of label: 'f buddies', 'friends with benefits', 's*xing', 'lovers, 'mistress' or 'couple' any label would have sufficed after 6 months! lol

I think after a few months even my friend was confused because my questions where often met with the following response “nothing!” meaning just that 'nothing' official (label-less!)

I think labels are important because you know where you stand when dealing with someone. For instance if you're 'f-buddies' you know he's is not trying to 'wife' you. The label means what it says on the tin you f**king and that is all!

If your in an 'open' relationship you know your free to see other people.

As 'friends with benefits' the 'friends' part speaks volumes for when he wants to move on to someone else - as his 'friend' you still have to be there for him and do 'friend' stuff - no hating on the next 'girlfriend' or 'friend with benefits'.

It you're a 'couple' you know your not suppose to see other people (conventionally speaking). You know your only suppose to put all your affections into that one person.

A label set boundaries people! A label identifies a particular path the relationship should (or may) take. Having a label often means you know how to act; you know where you stand with a nice juicy label.

My friend 'ended' her 'thing' because it was going nowhere. Not only that she did not know how to act about certain issues. For instances if a week went by with hardly any communication could she call him up and complain? you know have the why don't you call me conversation normally reserved for couples  - nope why? because "nothing" was happening i.e., they were not a couple!

So anyways BDSS'ers do you agree that labels count? Can you relate? Have you ever been in a label-less relationship? What label defines your current relationship?


  1. I think there comes a time in any relationship no matter how reluctant either party may be to put a label on it! A conversation should be had about what each person desires in order to find out whether or not your compatible. Then I think you can put a label on it. Those long lingering relationships that just flow into nowhere are not good.

  2. "It's complicated"?? #£%^*^*&^*!!! That's the most BS phrase ever! It's like this - people are together or not. Labels bring clarity - and if one you isn't willing to have that discussion then I would be seriously questioning what was going on.

  3. Thanks for commenting THR this is so true, labels do bring clarity.

  4. If a guy doesn't label u it means u r a convenient f*ck! The reason i say this is i dont know any man that truely likes a woman, that would risk allowing her to find someone else, Guys who do this tend to have some sort of emotional excuse, I've been hurt, I'm not sure if my religious beliefs would condone this, I have no time to give u what u truly deserve, blah blah blah crap!!! Men and women are different, I'm not a woman so I'm not sure why a woman would devalue themselves being in something with no label, especially if there is sex involved

  5. Thanks for the comment anonymous very interesting perspective especially the bit about a guy who is truely into someone would not risk them getting away.

    I think that has always been my thinking/experience if I like you and you like me what are we waiting for, there would be no excuses.

    That being said I think as women we sometimes live in hope! lol - there in lies the possible reason why we would stick around, especially if this guy ticks all the 'right' boxes on paper so to speak.

    You kind of stick around for a bit, engage in couples behaviour even though all the signs might not be too great!

  6. Then what you in when you start??, just sex, do you want a relationship?? why you seeing them?? doing causal is not my thing, and for me i am very happy to wait for the right man and for me Gods timing is key, i feel like if i just go out i'll go nuts, not that my eyes are closed... but i move from my faith so it would be important to talk about what we are from the jump, but sometimes you get so excited you forget about the "what are we". Question is, is it not possible to tell what you are from the signs the person is giving you, like not calling you, not really trying to see you often, isn't really romantic, isn't trying to get to know you on a deeper level everything is about sex won't you know already that this dude/or lady is on a casual tip, or on the other hand someone who is all over, tryin' to seeing every dame day, won't let you get up from under them, always in your pocket push push push until they push you over. I don't know, last time i was in a relationship was a while ago, these new things that are happening are beyond me... then there those that can be overly serious trying to define something before you even know what it is, in saying that why do you start something that you don't know what it is, shouldn't you start from knowing what you want and find the right fit, wow i have many questions. I mean if you asking about Facebook don't you think that is taking Facebook and giving it more value than it really should be given. I don't personally take Facebook that seriously, its a place to connect with folks, mainly family and friends but not a place that i can define myself or my relationships by. That's giving it and twitter far more importance than its worth.

  7. I am agreeing with the general consensus expressed with regards to labelling, however I can't get with the idea that because a woman sleeps with a man who may not want to pursue a long term relatonship with her is devaluing herself in some way, due to the fact that the man doesn't not want to be with her long-term. What happens if he wants to be with her but she doesn't want to be with him, is that automatic devaluing on his part.

    At the end of the day it is possible to meet someone get to know them, sleep together, and then decide not to be together, it doesn't automatically mean that either party is devalued.

  8. It is a stereotypy that has followed women around, i don't know to be honest its just something that is in the air we can't really explain it. But o know personally if a man sleep around he is just as bad as a woman who does. They both in my eye devalue themselves. Personally i am a Christian and feel sex is for marriage, and it took a while to understand this properly and really get to know what the standard of my faith is and attempt to stick to it, hard as it maybe it truly for me is worth it.

    Well if you saying that how many people will one end up sleeping with?? Is sex a way of getting to know what you want or is it in conversation and out of bedroom stuff that builds a true lasting relationship. Shouldn't you be knowing someone before you give the precious gift of yourself to them???

  9. Wow - what an interesting post Sel!

    As for Facebook, I can't remember if I've ever used the relationship status at all - blank means it's none of no-one's business, at least, till I'm sure I got it sorted in my own head LOL!!

    I'm in a relationship which happens to be quite complicated, but not for the reasons illustrated in the post. But fundamentally and as of this current moment in time, I can at least be sure that I'm in a committed, monogamous relationship.

    I was once in a 'label-less' relationship and it so happened that once I got past the 6-month mark, and wasn't getting the responses or reassurance I felt I wanted - I walked away; since I couldn't end something that hadn't started!

  10. Sometimes men will say they 'want to get to know you more' before making you their partner so woman can bide their time and hope for the best. What I've learned is that this can sometimes be a fob off and the guy blaatantly knows that he doesn't want to commit but just wants to have a woman there 'exclusivey. I totally agree with Anon 'If a guy doesn't label u it means u r a convenient f*ck!' It can be hard to come out of such a situation because you get attached partly to the routine. But it's best to just walk away, a real serious man will put his cards on the table and will not risk losing a good woman.