When I'm reading a lot of these posts, and I hear someone refer to a partner as their girlfriend or boyfriend, I tend to assume that those people have/had been dating for a sizeable amount of time (at least a few weeks, if not months), that relationship models have been discussed (in terms of how often you see one another, if a relationship is monogamous or not, etc.), and that some form of commitment is involved.
But it appears that assumption on my part is often wrong, that folks seem to have people they call serious partners, boyfriends or girlfriends in no time at all, sometimes in days, and sometimes from the start of their very first date! ( One thing I never thought I'd ever see straight folks co-opt from queer culture is lesbian U-Haul syndrome -- most of us try very hard to avoid it like the plague) :P
Truthfully, it explains a lot about some of the more typical relationship problems we see at ST (like not having an agreed model in terms of having other partners or not, like not knowing sexual history or having discussed birth control or safer sex, like users being shocked to find out their relationship wasn't what they thought it was, etc.). But it also leaves me wondering some things so I'm more clear (and maybe, so you are).
What defines or constitutes a romantic boyfriend or girlfriend to all of you? Is it something both parties agree upon? How many dates or how much time together would you say you're spending before either of you commits? How fast is too fast, and how slow is too slow? What's the benefit of rushing into serious relationships, as opposed to taking one's time dating, anyway?
Oooh, great topic! And one that's been on my mind lately. But first, a short history lesson. My current SO and I have been together for a little over 2.5 years, and were friends for almost 2 years prior to that. So it wasn't necessarily out of nowhere. We went to movies and stuff as friends, but usually with other people, and I never stopped to consider them dates or group dates. We arrived together at gatherings and parties, but usually because it was convenient for him to pick me up on the way.
So when we became boyfriend/girlfriend, no one was really surprised. But there was no trial period of one on one dates, or anything really before the big declaration.
And now? Well, I go on dates with my sweetie all the time. But... at times I kind of wish I hadn't missed out on the dating scene, or rather, that the dating scene missed out on me by about five to ten years, because it's apparently not the thing to do anymore, unless you're a single 20+ something and writing Bridget Jones's Diary. I'm glad that I can still go out with a friend (male or female) one on one to coffee, or a movie and get an idea of what dating is supposed to be like.
However, I've made my choice, and I think it's a darn good one too. I just wish the idea of a dating pool had been acceptable at my high school, because I think it's a great idea.
well I think that it all depends on the people. With me and my boyfriend, we were friends for about 2 years before we started dating. We worked together, and sometimes went out as friends. In fact I had a boyfriend at the time. We would just go out on holloween and go trick or treating for fun and then he would just take me to walmart (where we worked) and buy me a huge bag of candy!!
So when we started dating it wasnt so weird for us and I dont feel that we rushed into being girlfriend and boyfriend. We actually dated for about 2 weeks and then we were making out one night and he said that he didnt feel right making out with me if i wasnt his girlfriend. Which I thought was real sweet. So we were official after that.
But.. what we did do wrong was that we had sex WAY too soon! We had sex at a party after 6 days of being "oficial"...and it caused us a great deal of problems that we could have easily avoided.
So like I said it depends on the people and if they are mature enough to handle a real relationship. Me and my man have been together for a yr and 1/2 next saturday!!!!
Posts: 117 | From: kansas city, kansas, us | Registered: May 2003
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quote:Originally posted by eray01 So like I said it depends on the people and if they are mature enough to handle a real relationship.
See, what I think part of the problem is this kind of statement. Because the ideal of boyfriend/girlfriend is more real, more mature, people rush into it thinking that they are going to be considered more grown up (especially younger kids- we had 'couples' in grade five and six in my year. Ugh.)
But who's to say that casual dating, or whathaveyou is less 'real'? Or, for that matter, friendships? People seem to focus a lot of energy on saving relationships that could have been avoided through casual dating scenarios, while their 'real' friendships waste away without a thought.
My point is that all relationships we have with people, be them familial, friendly, casually or seriously romantic are important in some way, and no one aspect is any more real than another. By focusing on serious romantic relationships, and giving them more importance than others, we as a society are doing a real disservice to the other relationships that are just as important in our lives.
Hm, good topic. I've wondered about this, too. A lot of my friends are getting more into dating and to a lesser extent I am. A few years back, I was in a sort of serious relationship, I suppose. At least as serious as a 15 and 16 year olds can be. We dated for 10 months. When we broke up, I found out that I had been putting all of my energy into her, rather than some into her and some into my other friends. At that point, I figured out that we probably shouldn't have been so intense. Don't worry, though, I soon became better friends with everyone and was happier with my life.
Two years later: So, I have this guy friend. We're really wonderful friends and we're very comfortable around each other, you know, all that fun stuff. We've also had sex. One day, we went out for smoothies. We're sitting around drinking them and I say, "Ben, what's a relationship?" He sits there and pensively sips his smoothie for a bit and he says, "I don't know. I guess what we have is technically a relationship. I mean, we hang out and go to movies. We do things that people in relationships do, yet we aren't in one." I say back to him, "Yeah, I thought that was strange, too. Everything we do *qualifies* us to be in a relationship, but we're not. Maybe it's that we're not attracted, or infatuated or anything, with each other."
Well, the conversation went on. I won't bore you with the details. He is now happily dating someone else and not too much is different between their relationship and ours, although I'm sure that they spend more time together.
So, that whole incident has left me wondering even more what exactly a relationship is, or what qualifies people to be in one.
I think it IS an agreement. I don't think anyone should be thinking something is serious before it's been discussed. It just doesn't feel right to..just 'assume' something so serious...
Posts: 106 | Registered: Oct 2001
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quote:Originally posted by Cathexis: I think it IS an agreement. I don't think anyone should be thinking something is serious before it's been discussed. It just doesn't feel right to..just 'assume' something so serious...
i absolutely agree. my friends and i have discussed the idea of when the title of boyfriend and/or girlfriend come into play in a relationship. i make it clear for any guys who i am "dating" about my feeling of this as well. first off... i date guys to get to know them better, and i try to get to know them for about a week b4 i can decide on if i want to be "going out" (boyfriend/girlfriend) with them.
it's really crazy how many different terms there are and how everyone has a different meaning for them.
anyway, so "dating"... what is this? my definition - finding out about someone else better. this does not always mean you go on dates with the person... i say this because my current boyfriend and i were "dating" but that consisted of hanging out in the auditorium waiting for play rehersal to start... we were always in a big group of people... but we were flirting and getting to know each other without ever going on a date alone. we talked online a lot as well. usually i talk on the phone with the guy i'm dating, but he's a bit anti-phone...
anyway so dating usually lasts at least a week (if i'm still dating them for a week... they have a good chance of things getting to the next level cause usually by a week of talking to them on the phone, online, and hanging out 2 or 3 days i know if i'm interested enough to bother going further). the reason for this is i'm pretty fickle, and if a guy can keep my attention for a week it usually sticks.
then i dont consider anything official *unless* they ask out... straight out... for me to be their girlfriend. i know that seems a bit stupid, that they have to ask straight out... but i dont take anything for granted and i dont like anyone to assume... i tell any guy i'm dating this. i have a good reason for this - too many guys assume i'm their girlfriend. one guy i hooked up with at a club and he thought this meant i was his girlfriend. then another guy i went on 2 dates with and thought i was his girlfreind and he thought he was in love with me... ... these are just two of a bunch, so in short there are a lot of guys out there who assume things way too much... i also like that when they ask officially, i have an official day to say "THIS is the day we started going out" and that's the day for anniversaries and such. anyway, so when they ask officially, it is a commitment on both of our parts. i discuss this with the guy while we are dating to be sure they know this.
even before i'm dating a guy i make it known that i only do monogomous relationships... even with dating; i only date one guy at a time... and i get out that i'm super jealous... so if i find out about any other girls they are dating i will NOT be happy and they can consider themselves to no longer be dating me or having any relationship more than a friend with me. its not really up for discussion... it's pretty much... they agree with me or they dont.
romantic boyfriends for me a developed during the relationship. if the relationship lasts long enough, they become a romantic boyfriend. i cant really tell when i'm in what i consider to be a serious relationship until about two months after we have been going on... by then i def. have thoroughly inspected every part of the relationship and how much i really care about the person and care about the relationship. to date i have had about 5 boyfriends, only 2 of which are serious... one was about 7 or 8 months and the seconds i'm currently in and it has been 3+ months.
last note (sorry this is so long) the only plus i can think of in taking relationships quick is that i'm fickle, so if the guy wants me to be his girlfriend and i havent realized that i'm not interested quite yet he should rush it. another reason is that whole "puppy love" stage where we're infatuated with each other and cant get enough come usually when things are rushed. i must say though that taking your time is def a better idea. the word boyfriend seems to be thrown around every which way with the guys i date and my friends. many simply assume they are in relationships. i wonder if its just that this what what they think it is to actually be or if it is because we are 15->17 and dont know any better. most of these people have only had none to maybe two (very short term) relationships. so that could be why too... i can not really say. it seems that people come to realize just what a serious relationship is after they have actually had one. my ideas of relationships were very similar to theirs until i had that first long term boyfriend.
great topic indeed. my boyfriend and i have been going out 8 months (yesterday!) hehe..well we met and didnt kiss or anything til a month later. he was a friend more than anything else. we didnt think we would end up going out and then i met his parents and they said they liked me and like 2 weeks later he asked me out. he wanted to make sure his parent approved of me cause he felt that was also important in the relationship. he is the most caring and respectful person i have ever met. he always wants the best for me and would do anything if i needed it. he is not only my boyfriend but i love him and he is above all my best friend.
Posts: 25 | Registered: Jul 2003
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I've been with Isaiah for 2 yrs, and 2 months to date. Before we got together, we had known eachother for 10 months prior to being together. It wasn't exactly out of the blue either, but it was destiny as well. On Mother's Day, we kissed and started dating unoffically then for two weeks, then we became a couple.
Isaiah thought the kiss symbolized that we were a couple, but me.. no.. 2 weeks after the kiss, Isaiah offically asked me to be his girlfriend online. That's what i like. I like to be proposed of that this way, rather than the physical action of the kiss. 2 weeks of unoffical dating and being friends for nearly a year doesn't seem fast into the relationship for me. It was perfect. Right timing.
Isaiah and I found within the early days of being a couple that we were destined to be together for the rest of our lives. We are obviously taking our time for our relationship to tie the knot with marriage. We are so happy to be together, and being eachother's company.
We see eachother when we can. We saw a lot of eachother in the beginning, like practically everyday.. and now it's been 2 yrs, and we see eachother when we're free from our jobs, or my schooling schedule. I'd say at least twice a week, but in that time though, we spend a lot of hours together though
Everybody works at their own speed when it comes to relationships, with the boundaries that they put around it, and what not.
Isaiah and I talked about sex, marriage and everything before we got together, and we still do to this day. Obviously we've had sex and etc, but our communication line is very open. I like the relationship to have honesty, and loyality with the communication line that we share Isaiah definitely respects that!
Everybody is in constant state of figuring out of themselves and the life they want to journey through in the present day and in the future as well. Your significant other is in the relationship to love you, to help you, to support you, and so much more.
The relationship can have positive and negative sides. Isaiah and I think similarly when it comes to most common and global issues. We compromise and so on. It's really all about the committment. How much you are committed to the relationship, and to your signifcant other. The relationship has to also provide independence to each partner. Isaiah and I individually have that
I've learned that with all my relationships especially in this current and long time one with Isaiah, that i love him despite his flaws
Love does conquer everything, even the hurdles that may come into the relationship
"What defines or constitutes a romantic boyfriend or girlfriend to all of you?"
hmmm. hard one there, as it's a vibe rather than anything else so many times.... i guess the defining line between a romantic partner as opposed to "just a friend" is simply mutual sexual attraction & an expressed or unexpressed mutual understanding that there is a possibility of sex occuring somewhere in the future (day, years, whatever). without the intention towards future possibilities AND sex, someone is just a friend (be it a friend were there's no sexual attraction or there is).
"Is it something both parties agree upon?"
yes, but so often it's not a verbal "we're officially boyfriend/girlfriend now"... most times it just evolves in an unspoken understanding.
"How many dates or how much time together would you say you're spending before either of you commits?"
another one were it varies/depends... i've had some that years went by of dating on & off and hanging out together, etc... some just clicked overnight.
"How fast is too fast, and how slow is too slow?"
another "depends". different for each relationship i've been in.
"What's the benefit of rushing into serious relationships, as opposed to taking one's time dating, anyway?"
no benefit either way, depending on the situation... sometimes no amount of slow dating will tell you what you learn about some people over a course of days, other times you Need slow dating to learn thing about the person...
I also think its like an agreement. I met my bf of a yr when we were younger. We were both shy so we never really offically introduced each other or really talked. Then there was a preiod of 4 yrs when i havent seen him. I had always wondered about him. During that time, I was dating but my past relationships were not good. I felt very unconfortable around guys and was afriad to do anything else except kiss. After my last relationship, there was a period where i was depressed and it was really hard for me to date cuz i was so unconfortable. I then me my bf at a party. We were very alike. I relized that during his absence that i always did wondered about him and liked him very much, as he did for me. One day when we were having fun, we both talked about being a "official couple". We both agreed that we both wanted to go out with each other very much. During the first few months, he later asked me if i wanted to be serious with him. I told him honestly that to ask me later. he respected my reply but told me that he will always wait for me. As the yr went on we became more serious. We discussed sex and other thoughts. He respected very much my opinion to wait a little bit but also said that if i didnt that he will wait as long as he has to. Im not saying that he wait to have sex with me but i meant that even if i didnt want that he still love me.What i love most about him was that he respected me so much and my thoughts and opinions, as i did with his. Communication i think really help in making a good strong commited couple. i agree with other when they kinda "overuse" the title of gf and bf, and ending terribly so fast. I dont know if what i said make sense with the topic, but i like to vent ^_^. Thanks for reading again!
Posts: 16 | Registered: Jan 2003
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Where I live, the way people date is, I wanna call it, out of control! It's not the same for everybody, but I know WAY too many people who, when they find a person they like who even kind of likes them back, 'asks someone out' and all of a sudden they're a couple. I've seen this happen with people who've known each other for only a few days. Asking someone you've known that long out on just a date is great, but I think it would really have to be something special to make a commitment like that right away, they are just asking for a string of little 2-week relationships. In my case, my last bf and I had only one official date (in addition to quite a few social situations where we were flirty and whatnot, because we did really start out as classmates and friends) before we were an official couple, but because we were both a couple of shy weirdos neither of us even called it a date until a few weeks later, it was just the first time it had been just the two of us going out somewhere, and he happened to volunteer to foot the bill (I took that as a definite sign that he liked me as more than a friend). We later discussed it and discovered that both of us considered that our first date even though it was never called that. But I'm getting a little off track. What I had intended to say here was that I had major commitment issues (I think I still do) and I couldn't even comprehend the idea of having a boyfriend. (and not JUST because I was one of those perpetually single types who couldnt find a guy...) The way I saw being in a relationship was that my entire life would have to be kinda focused on that one person, thats the ONE other person on the entire planet that you're being sort of assigned to as your significant other. So, naturally, I was damn picky about which guys would get to be my special someone, and I was a little timid to enter into a relationship with my last bf, who was also my first bf. That's why I found it so appalling that some people I knew could become the boyfriend or girlfriend of someone they had just met, I couldn't imagine promising myself to that one person when I barely knew them.
Posts: 8 | From: nowhere, ND | Registered: Jul 2003
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What defines or constitutes a romantic boyfriend or girlfriend to all of you?
->a person with which you can share sexual, and intimate feelings with, as well as emotion and friendship. someone who can always respect you for what you do.
Is it something both parties agree upon?
->in terms, yes. after starting to go out with my current bf, i decided he was right for me, and that i would like to be his SO, but i waited until talking to him and hearing just how he felt before assuming this was serious.
How many dates or how much time together would you say you're spending before either of you commits?
->it will depend on the two people involved, and how long they take to reach a certain point. i don't think there are a set number of dates, or a set number of times you should see each other a week, that tell you that you are ready to commit. i think that when the two people feel that they are comfortable moving into a serious relationship, and can talk about it, they are at a point where they can commit.
How fast is too fast?
->this will definately depend on the couple involved. but in short, it is too fast if either member is uncomfortable in any way. since different people have different comfort zones it will change from relationship to relationship.
and how slow is too slow?
->in most cases, i would have to say that as long as those involved are enjoying themselves, there is no "too slow". however, i would say that if one was lying on their death bed 50-some years later and said, i wish i'd just kissed 'em once... that might be a bit too slow.
What's the benefit of rushing into serious relationships, as opposed to taking one's time dating, anyway?
->i don't think there really is a benefit to rushing into a serious relationship. i think it is a much better idea to ease in, making sure you are comfortable the whole way. i think one of the worst things that can happen, is rushing into a serious relationship, then instantly realizing it was the wrong and having to back out while hurting your partner emotionally.
(age may be one of the factors creating a drastic change to some of these responses)
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