I Need The Girlfriend Label & I Won’t Date Someone Who Won’t Give It To Me

I like to think that my dating habits are pretty modern, but one tradition I’m not leaving behind is putting labels on my relationships. Maybe I’m behind the times in 2018, but this is why I need to be someone’s “girlfriend” or “partner” in order to have a happy love life.

  1. I need to feel wanted. Even though I’m independent to a fault, there’s still a side of me that loves “belonging” to someone I care about. It feels nice to me when someone calls me theirs, and even though it might not go great with a lot of the more progressive beliefs I have about love and relationships, it’s a personal preference that I’m happy to have.
  2. It simplifies things. Is there anyone that enjoys that awkward gray area where you don’t know where you stand with the person you’re seeing? I’m a practical person, so for me, calling someone my “boyfriend” or “partner” often has a lot to do with just making things easier. I can’t stand introducing them to someone and having to stumble over my words when I call them “the person I’m dating” or “my friend.” I’d rather just make it easier on everyone and call the relationship what it is.
  3. There’s no room for misunderstandings. Yes, some people are jerks and will sleep around on you regardless of whether or not you two are an officially labeled couple. But I’ve dated a couple people who pulled the “you’re not my girlfriend” card as a reason why they didn’t make it a priority to stay faithful, and honestly, I’m over it. At the very least, sticking labels on a relationship makes it clear that we’re exclusive unless otherwise stated, and if someone messes up, they know they messed up.
  4. It makes me feel like part of a team. Being able to call each other partners or boyfriend and girlfriend is more than just a cutesy couple thing for me — it shows that we’re unified. Like salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly, we just go together, and the labels attached to our relationship prove it. I don’t need to plaster the words all over social media, but just knowing that we think of each other as two parts to a whole makes me feel like our relationship is more solid.
  5. Yeah, I’m a little insecure. I’d be lying if I said all of my reasons for wanting labels were born out of me being a strong individual who knows what I want. The truth is that there’s always a little part of me that worries that the person I’m dating isn’t actually proud to be with me, even when their actions prove that my fears couldn’t be further from the truth. Knowing that they call me their partner or girlfriend is evidence to me that they want the world to know we’re truly together, and it makes me feel more reassured in my relationships.
  6. It gives me a sense of pride. I’m picky about the people I date, so when I find someone I deem worthy of a relationship label, it’s a big deal. Whenever I find a great partner, I want to show them off and tell the world how happy I am to be with them, and being able to say things like, “Yeah, that guy in my pictures is my boyfriend” makes me stand a little taller. I’d hope that my partner would feel the same about me, too.
  7. The relationship seems way more “official.” Whether it’s the files on my computer or my vacation itinerary, I like to keep everything organized, and the same goes for my relationships. Even if we’ve already established that we’re exclusive, I always feel like something is missing or out of place until we sit down and call the relationship what it is. It gives me a sense of completion that I need to feel like that part of my life is in order. Maybe it’s weird, but I don’t care.
  8. The next step is much clearer. No matter how long we’d been seeing each other, I’d feel super weird moving in with or getting engaged to someone who didn’t even refer to me as their partner. Putting labels on the relationship makes it a lot easier to figure out how things should develop so that neither person gets the wrong impression about the direction things are headed.
  9. A fear of labels signifies a deeper problem. Everyone I’ve met who’s insistent upon not having labels has had serious commitment issues. I try not to rush into defining the relationship, but if I’ve been consistently dating someone for a few months and they balk at the mere thought of making things official, that’s a huge red flag for me. I don’t mind when someone doesn’t care whether or not there’s a label on our relationship, but when there’s extreme opposition to it, yeah, we have an issue.
  10. I don’t see the need to not have labels. Maybe I grew up in a more traditional household than I thought, but I feel like the sudden trend of not labeling relationships came out of nowhere. And frankly, I don’t get it. It makes things so much easier to just call your partner your partner, and whether it suddenly became “cool” to be nonchalant about labels or there’s just a wave of commitmentphobia sweeping the country, I’m not feeling it. I’m comfortable with my preference to be clear about where I stand in my relationships, and if the person I’m dating isn’t on board, I’ll happily stay single until I find someone who is.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu blue belt. She's currently hanging out in Costa Rica with her cat and a lot of really big bugs.