If He Won’t Do These Things, He’s Not Your Boyfriend

While it’s usually pretty clear whether or not you’re in a relationship, sometimes an “almost relationship” gets close enough to a real one that it’s hard to decipher which side of the line it falls on. If you’re having trouble figuring out whether or not he’s your boyfriend, ask yourself if he’s willing to do these things and you’ll have your answer:

Introduce you to his family.

You know everything there is to know about him, from his birthday to which sister got a little too drunk at Thanksgiving last year. But does he know anything about you? If you’ve never met them — and he doesn’t make an effort to introduce you to them anytime soon — you don’t have a boyfriend. You have either a friend with benefits or a hookup buddy.

Kiss you goodbye.

There’s an unspoken rule about not kissing someone who’s just a hookup. Kissing is somehow considered more intimate than sex nowadays, so if he seems withdrawn when you attempt to kiss him, it’s basically a flashing neon sign that says, “I’m Not Your Boyfriend.” If he isn’t your boyfriend, he won’t want to give you the wrong idea by showing affection when you part ways.

Be affectionate with you in public.

Okay, maybe he’s super sweet to you in private. He loves to cuddle and hold your hand and he’s the perfect gentleman. That’s cool and all, but if he’s only acting that way in private and not publicly, it’s because he isn’t your boyfriend. If he’s not publicly claiming you, he doesn’t think you two are in a relationship. (Or he could just be embarrassed to be dating you, which is pretty terrible tbh.)

Invite you out with his friends.

Just like not meeting his family, not meeting his friends is a huge red flag telling you that this guy isn’t your boyfriend. If you were dating, he’d want his friends to get to know you so you could gain their approval and be officially invited into their circle of friends. But if you’ve never met his friends — or you’ve only been shortly introduced in passing — you aren’t in a relationship.

Buy you tampons.

This one is kind of a gray area, because there are some guys who will refuse to buy tampons for their girlfriends (because obviously the cashier thinks it’s for them somehow, according to their logic?). In general though, a guy who cares about the girl he’s dating will buy her tampons or liners or pads or whatever else she might need in her time of need — because bleeding for a solid week hurts everywhere, and the least they can do is comfort us with the knowledge that we have plenty of tampons.

Say “I love you” in front of his friends.

Drunkenly calling you to tell you he loves you isn’t the same as professing it in front of his friends. Yeah, it’s nice to know that when he’s drunk he’s still thinking of you (instead of sleeping with some random girl who happens to be there too), but if he can’t soberly admit to having feelings for you, he’s not your boyfriend.

Hold your hair back.

Yes, girl friends are supposed to be there to do this for you too, but if he just lets you lay on the bathroom floor with your head hanging in the toilet and doesn’t even bother to sit with you and make sure you’re okay, it’s because he doesn’t give a damn about you. Sorry to burst your bubble, Drunky, but this guy isn’t your boyfriend — he’s an a-hole with no regard for your well-being.

Pay for your meal once in a while.

Obviously this doesn’t — and shouldn’t — happen every single time you two go out somewhere, but a boyfriend usually at least offers to pick up the check. If this guy has never even offered, it’s probably because you aren’t actually dating.

Listen to what you have to say.

Not just hear you talk, but truly listen. Does he just nod and seem to zone out when you tell him the story about the time you wrecked a scooter and tore up your knee, or does he seem genuinely interested about the time you hit the winning home run at your softball tournament when you were 15? If he can’t even be bothered to remember the name of your cat, he’s not your boyfriend.

Text/call you back.

Within a reasonable amount of time. Like if you text him at 9am and he doesn’t reply until 6pm because he’s been “busy,” screw that. If he was your boyfriend, he would text you back on breaks or between jobs or whatever the hell he was doing all day. And honestly, if a guy can’t even take 10 minutes out of his day to call you and ask about how you’ve been after not talking all day, would you really want to call him your boyfriend anyway?

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