I preferred the whole “we’re just talking” phase when I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to a relationship. It was like a safety net for my emotions. But once a guy I really liked started seeing someone else on the side because, after all, he and I were “just talking,” I decided I wasn’t a fan of this catchphrase anymore. It’s time to quit hiding behind this shallow label—here’s why:
Respect flies out the window.
This is an automatic excuse for either party to do whatever they want. Sorry, but no one has to mean what they say when there aren’t any strings attached, so the need to respect one another flies out the window. Respect is necessary in all relationships, even the “almost” ones. Besides, if the relationship actually turns into something legitimate and serious, it should be based on mutual respect for one another. That’s vital.
Making plans can’t be a priority.
I’m not just talking about whether or not you should go out for seafood or steak—I’m talking about the big deal plans like traveling together, meeting each other’s family or maybe even getting married. If you can’t guarantee a movie date on a Friday night, you can’t promise that he’ll ever meet Dad. I mean, why should he waste his money on a movie ticket or work up the nerve to shake Dad’s hand if there’s no sign of this going anywhere? That’s pointless.
It’s automatically an open relationship whether you like it or not.
He wants to talk to another girl? What’s stopping him? It’s definitely not his girlfriend (because he doesn’t have one of those). He wants to swipe right all night? It’s not like he has to tell everyone in his Tinder inbox that he’s actually dating someone else (because he’s not). If you aren’t willing to call your relationship an exclusive, committed one, then expect him to play the field. He’s not cheating or being a punk but you won’t let yourself become his top priority.
You’re not sure if you two will ever be legit.
Obviously, you’re not official at this point, but you also have no idea if you’ll be stuck with this same relationship status six months from now or maybe even a whole year from now. You might be scared to commit, but you should probably be more afraid of wasting your time—or someone else’s.
Conversations with everyone get real awkward.
“So when did you two start dating?” Uhh, you try to laugh, shrug off the fact that you don’t have a legitimate answer and walk away quickly. “Do you guys want a house full of kids or just one or two?” At this point, you’re running out of rooms to escape to. Social gatherings are miserable because you two play 20 Questions with everyone and hope no one notices there’s no official label to your relationship. (Besides, Grandma wants you married off soon so she can pass down her antique furniture. Don’t give her false hope.)
You’ve wasted your time emotionally investing in an “almost relationship.”
Let’s get 100 percent real here—even if you’re “just talking” to a guy, a piece of you is emotionally invested in him already. We’re girls. That’s just how we work so don’t fight the estrogen-coated genetics. There’s nothing wrong with caring for people, but we need to care for ourselves along the way too. If you’re going to develop feelings for a guy, you’ve gotta be ready to shield your heart if he bails. There’s no commitment that’s making him obligated to you, so watch out for yourself when you’re in that fragile “just talking” phase.
You’re actually in a relationship, so just call it what it is.
Newsflash: you might not be in a singular, exclusive, legitimate, official relationship, but if you’re getting to know another human being, that’s called building a relationship. It’s not fair to lead someone on or pretend that what you two have might turn into something big. It sucks when you’re let down, when someone lies to you or when they drop the ball and leave you hanging so don’t do that to others. It’s rude.
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