“What are we?” – A question that is asked many times as a way to validate a relationship. Sometimes it seems as if a title is more vital in defining a relationship than the dynamic of it. But I guess it can be justified because everyone else has a title right? My sister, my brother, my cousin, my friend etc., all titles we were born into or naturally occurred (my friend). Yet being in a mutually beneficial relationship with a friend is not enough. He has to be “my boyfriend”.
There’s no way I’m spending all this time and being intimate with someone without a definition for who we are together. I need to make sure that he knows he’s my man so he’s not out here entertaining other women. He needs to know that he’s mine and only mine because I don’t share anything! – and that’s the type of thinking that makes us forceful in getting a title. We make it a big deal early on, not taking into consideration his personality or feelings about the situation. We just know what we want and we’re going to get it.
I was talking to a guy for months and in casual conversation he mentions that we were a couple. It was cute, I’m not gon’ front, but I was so extra that I told him not to call us a couple because he never formally asked me to be his girlfriend lol. He thought it was the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard but I was persistent. So an hour or two later he finally decided to grant me my wish and ask me. I don’t know why I needed to be asked that question even after he already said we were a couple. Maybe it was the pressure from my friends and family who constantly saw us together and kept asking me if he was my boyfriend. I think I was tired of not having an answer or feeling as if “he’s my friend” wasn’t enough for them. Either way, I needed a title from him and I got it. We were together for about 3-4yrs give or take a few break ups in between lol. I don’t even think I used the title when speaking about him after the initial reveal. I would refer to him by his name, I was never the one to say “my boyfriend this” or “my boyfriend that”, he had a name and that’s what he was called.
Then there was another guy who asked me to be his girlfriend within a month, making me talk to his mom on WhatsApp and giving his sister my number so we can be friends and hang out. That relationship was over two months later and it didn’t even really get started in my opinion. This was Shawn (see blog post “My Online Boyfriend”), and he had no reservations for letting his friends know he had a “woman”. With him I barely heard my name unless he was upset about something (which was rare). It was always “I’m with my girl”, “my girl this”, one time he introduced me to one of his friends with “this is my girlfriend.” and that was it! Not “this is my girlfriend Jessica.”, nope, my name was simply girlfriend. Strangely enough I had a problem with that, I fought for a title in the relationship before him but now that I was given it so freely I wanted my identity back lol. I can be so complicated at times. We broke up and never spoke to each other again, while I am still friends with the one before him to this day. Even though the coupledom of Shawn and I was short lived, I learned that having a title early on and meeting the family doesn’t solidify the relationship. The connection you have with them is more important than showing people that you finally have someone. We should have taken our time, I see that now, but I was just so eager to have someone that I didn’t take a moment to think things through.
Those guys were completely different in every way. One was meticulous with making decisions and did not like feeling owned or possessed by someone (which was his reasoning for not seeing the big deal in titles). The other yearned for that possession and assigned a title instantly to secure me, to make it known that I belonged to him and no one else.
The way I see it, having a relationship with someone is deeper than “what are we?”. The understanding between two people holds more weight than the title you place on the relationship for the sake of introduction. God forbid you take your girlfriend home to meet your family and only introduce her by her name! She would have a fit! Her name is not enough, she’s not just her name anymore, she’s a girlfriend and that title must come before her given name! When friends ask “so y’all together?”, we must give the “correct” answer, and that answer is the validation of what they have witnessed. You’ve been spending a lot of time with this person so it must be more than “just friends” right? -seems pretty silly to me now that I’m older.
I’ve learned to enjoy the company around me. Someone I love spending time with can just be a positive energy that I gravitate to. A higher vibration that matches mine or simply pulls me to be on the same frequency. I want to experience someone for a good length of time without feeling like I need to slap on a title. I want comfort. I want peace.