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.”
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.
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

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