Don’t Believe the Hype: Labels Matter

Image and video hosting by TinyPicMen are nothing if not creative. Some of the time-buying excuses they come up with are almost poetic: “What we have can’t be defined by a label,” “We should just live in the moment,” “Let’s let things happen organically.” These dodge tactics can be hard to navigate, but as they say, “don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” Label evasion is just code for “You’re not the one.”
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When it comes to classifying your relationship, it’s about much more than a label; it’s about you and your guy being on the same page. If casual dating is what you want, then a label doesn’t matter. But, if you’re looking to settle down, label-phobic men are not an option. When you find yourself stumbling through the commitment/label dance, please know that there is a big difference between a guy who wants to take things slowly and a guy who wants to have his cake and eat it too.
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Any man who wants to be with you is going to want other men to know that you’re spoken for. It doesn’t matter what the label is—girlfriend, wifey, boo—but even men know that a label is the most effective way of informing other interested people that you’re off the market. If an exclusive commitment is what you want, but you’ve been convinced (read: brainwashed) into thinking that a label doesn’t matter, you’ll never get one.

In order to make smart dating choices, you have to know with whom you’re dealing. Guys who are averse to labeling relationships fall into one of two categories: those who say they’re committed but don’t want a label, and those who don’t want a label because they don’t want to commit. A guy who says he’s not ready to commit is easy to deal with. He’s given you all the facts; you just have to decide how long you’ll delude yourself into thinking that you can change his mind.

The man who says he’s willing to date you exclusively (most certainly after you’ve twisted his arm), but doesn’t want a label is simply, full of it. This guy either has commitment issues, or he doesn’t want to commit to you. Either way, you lose. Making a commitment and establishing some kind of label are mutually dependent events. If he actually plans to be faithful to you (which would occasionally require him to tell other people that he’s taken) why would a label bother him? It’s common sense, people. If you’re in a label-less “committed” relationship, I ask you: what do you think your guy says when another woman asks him if he has a girlfriend? And don’t hold you breath for a proposal. C’mon, if he has issues with calling you “girlfriend” what makes you think he’s ever going to want to call you “wife”?

It’s hard to say how long is too long to go without a label; each relationship is different. But if a significant amount of time has passed and your guy wants to maintain the ambiguous, dating relationship that you’re no longer comfortable with, you have to let him go; you’ll likely create a monster if you don’t. Once you’ve established a pattern in which you indulge your guy with commitment-free perks, he’s not going to buy the cow. And if he does finally cave after you’ve pressured him into it, I wouldn’t put my money on his fidelity. You see, this is why it’s important to save some things for after you’ve gotten a willing commitment and a label, but that’s another sermon.

Labels are part of the natural progression of relationships—I have yet to meet a couple that went from dating to married, in one fell swoop. There are usually a few labels in between: boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé. Just ask a few of your (happily) married friends if their husbands ever had a problem calling them “girlfriend.” If you are a good, one-man woman, then you deserve a good, one-woman man who would be proud to yell from the rooftop that you are his (insert label here)!

With love,

Hitched Chick

Want to know what else is on this married lady’s mind? Check the rest of her posts here.

Last 5 posts by Hitched Chick

  • Katie

    Amen. And hallelujah. I’ve always heard this advice from my older brother. He would tell me…”when it’s right you won’t have to guess. A man will make his intentions plain and simple.” When I first started dating my BOYFRIEND he would tell me that I was going to be his girlfriend. Less than 2 months later he told me explicitly that I was his girlfriend and he was happy to be committed. 6 months later he started talking about marriage and wanting me to be his wife. Ladies trust me. It is unbelievably simple and you should not have to guess at it. By nature men are not complicated. They don’t have the capacity or patience to be overanalytical-we do that to ourselves. If he is being that way it’s probably because he’s dodging an issue.

  • GVG

    Why is this label thing all anyone seems to be talkng about these days. I do agree with the fact that a man will let it be known to the pack that you’re taken, but it is more in his actions, which i think are more sincere, than with his words. You all seem to be drinking that Stevie Harvey punch didn’t he have a chapter about that in there. You’re welcome.

  • Me

    Ladies, my only advice is don’t look too hard for the label. Or, I guess I should say make sure you read all of it’s ingredients to make sure what you’re getting is going to be good for you. Just because a man is ready to commit, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the right man for you. We are all so in love with the idea of being in love that it can blind us.

  • that uneasy feeling a lady gets cause a man is saying lets not define this is the little voice sayin leave this man alone. most don’t do it because we truly like the man. we need to learn to move on and like another man, one who will actually have no problem adhering to the boyfriend label.

  • ebwriter

    You should ALWAYS keep in mind what a man says because his actions can be very confusing. I learned this the hard way.

  • ladyl

    My ex-lover keeps mentioning his girlfriend this and his girlfriend that, but it’s sure funny how he didn’t mention he had a girlfriend when I spend half the night with him several nights before. I’ve know him and have been casually seening him off and on for 5 years even when he was married (he is going through a divorce now). I guess the girlfriend, whom he’s labeled, has been in the picture for 2 years; but I only heared about her maybe once or twice during this period. My point is labels in this situation really don’t matter because he’s doing the same thing he did to his wife that he did to her. It doesn’t bother me because I have been in a committed relationship for the past 12 years myself and counting…