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Why Your Untitled Relationships Matter
People have intensely intimate relationships without labeling them all the time. Sometimes, people don’t feel the need to call their connection by any names. Other times, individuals avoid labeling a relationship because they think that it obliterates any responsibility that they will have to take once they call it such. But what happens when a "defining the relationship" talk never happened? What if you both did discuss it and you both settled on vague terms like "seeing each other," "friends with benefits," or nothing at all? While attitude emerges in people of all ages, I see far too many of my millennial peers falling for the idea that a relationship needs a label in order to be considered significant.
News flash: Every connection you have with another person is a relationship. Love is about quality; things like intimacy, emotion, and reciprocity gauge your relationship's quality.
Recently, I read an article on Elite Daily that described a state of love called "Dating Purgatory." According to Candice Jalili, Dating Purgatory is the land of "sort-of relationships." These connections are "where you would feel f*cked up hooking up with someone else, but you still don’t quite feel like you have room to call him out if HE hooks up with someone else. The ones where you feel like you’re stuck somewhere between something and nothing." From what I can tell, these are relationships with meaningful levels of intimacy and emotion, but without "taken" labels to back them up. Sure, there's something to be said for someone not identifying as a committal partner, but that doesn't mean that the love between you didn't exist. It doesn't change how much someone meant to you or still means to you. Your emotions are valid.
Once again, love is about quality. The quality of a relationship is truly determined by your degree of bonding, intimacy, emotions, chemistry, mutuality, and many other factors. It's not that love comes in an infinity of shades; it's that love also comes in different colors, pattern, textures, and shapes. They all fall on spectrums ranging from healthy to toxic, from casual to intense, from exclusive to open, etc. The widespread over-reliance on relationship titles distracts people from what actually matters in love: quality.
Your actions in a relationship don’t only start to matter once you become "Facebook official." Our bodies aren't the only thing that hookup culture allows us to be more casual with. Modern dating culture grants us the ability to participate in romance on a semi-recreational level. It allows us more freedom to choose the number of our relationships of whatever intensity we feel comfortable with. To some extent, we've also become more promiscuous with sharing our hearts and minds. In my opinion, that's a great thing! The public sees relationships as these demonic creatures that are only evoked by certain names and make everything super-serious. All of the labels in the world can’t change the reality of your relationship with someone.
I used to describe my Dating Purgatory relationships as "things." As in, I had a "thing" with someone. But the truth is that those so-called "things" were still relationships. Mononormative culture often tricks many of us into thinking about relationships in totalizing terms. You're either dating or platonic, monogamous together or not serious, calling each other by affectionate names or by nothing at all. Love is not only a rose by any other name, but it's much more than that. Love comes in all kinds of species and manifestations.
Once I accepted the versatility of love as a fact of life, I was able to make sense of Dating Purgatory on a case-by-case basis. Because that's what each relationship is: unique. While we can easily plot out the patterns/courses of a relationship's context, but in the end, each relationship is a singular entity.
A relationship doesn't need a title to be fulfilling, nor does it need a label to matter. The truth is that I’ve had intense romantic connections with plenty of people whom I never called my partner, but that didn't stop us from behaving romantically towards each other. My experiences range from 100% positive to devastating. I have tons of friends with the benefits to boot. Intoxicating "lovey-dovey" sensation were alive and well in both of us, but for whatever they didn't identify me as their girlfriend. Sometimes, it was against my silent or expressed wishes. But most of the time, I was totally alright with it. Other times, it was because one of us desired to play the field or ignore an emotional affair that they started. I am ashamed to say I once had a couple of these flings with someone who was taken because I, too, was falling for the illusion of nuanced justifications. We acted like our intimacy “didn’t count” because we weren’t having sex or calling our connection anything by any particular time. I pulled the plug every time because it felt too shady and immoral to be seeing someone else on terms like that. The overreliance on relationship titles is the reason why we do things like overlook or fail to recognize emotional affairs. This is troubling when you consider that according to these recent infidelity statistics, 22.1% of people admit to cheating on their partner without ever disclosing that fact to them. Emotional affairs are serious business. They're selectively defined by what's being said or what's not being said as opposed to what's being said at the same time. Relationships encompass all of that and more. What's being said at the same time doesn't always contradict itself, and when it does, that's when love becomes complicated. So yes, a title is something to take into account, but there's much more to every individual instance of love and romance than labels.
If Society as a whole adopted a more holistic outlook on relationships, then more people would be able to see their relationships for what they are as well as for what they aren't. In order to understand love for what it is, we need to shift our focus from a polarizing view to one that is multidimensional.
#Real #GhiaVitale #LoveAdvice #RelationshipLabels #RoseByAnyOtherName #FacebookOfficial #Romance
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