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July 2015

How would you define your relationship?

When do we use the terms "boyfriend and/or girlfriend?" What do they mean anyway? How long do we date before we call what we're doing a relationship? It's difficult to know when we've reached the next level of a dating courtship when the terms we use to define it are not clear. Different terms mean different things to each person in a dating situation. The way we use dating terms changes with each generation and within different cultures and subcultures in our society.

Defining a relationship in terms of how many months have passed might not fall within the same parameters for each person. Defining a relationship based on duration or the number of dates can sometimes create anxiety due to fears having to commit to or uphold certain expectations of a chosen partner.

Questions daters may ask themselves include:

  • So does this mean we're exclusive?
  • Can I no longer date other people?
  • Is he expecting me to sleep with him?
  • When do we shut down our dating sites and apps?
  • Now that we're having sex, does this mean we're committed?
  • Is it time to consider a long term commitment?

These questions loom in the minds of those who are currently dating and those who want to date. How do we address these concerns without raising our anxieties? The answer is we have to know what it is we want at a particular time in our lives. Ask yourself, "what am I looking for" and "what do I want." 

No matter how much information is placed in the online dating profile, conversations about what you want in a relationship must happen in order to clarify expectations. Communication is key, upfront, face-to-face, and personal. Don't be afraid to ask enough questions and share enough about yourself to determine whether you and your potential partner are on the same page. Defining your expectations of a dating relationship, a committed relationship, or casual relationship will make it a lot easier to know early on what being in a relationship means to you, by your definition.

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