Sat on the sofa eating Pad Thai and half watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, my good friend (who’s never short of verbal ammunition for my blog) was talking to me about newly acquired boyfriends. To be more specific, she was talking about a mutual colleague of ours who recently coupled up, and has already moved into his place after only two months of dating.
“I dated ***insert idiot guy who friend is no longer dating’s name here*** for two months and I didn’t even know where I stood let alone where the relationship was heading, and she is already living with the guy!” my friend moaned to me, and I found myself agreeing with her. I too had found myself in that situation on more than one occasion. You only have to refer back to one of my earliest posts about getting dumped. “She’s such a bitch to men, and yet, this guy asked her to move in after only weeks!”
So who’s right? My friend and I who spend our lives plodding along not daring to rock the boat by asking to put a label on things? Or the girl who has – in a meagre fifty-six days – met a man, upgraded her status to girlfriend and moved in with him? Apparently on the first or second date, they argued. I told my friend that if that was me, there’d have never been a second date. So is it us? Are we too fussy; are our standards too high? Has she got everything right?
How long should you date someone before demanding to know where you stand? How much time or checkpoints should pass before you know someone is your boyfriend? Can you really know enough to live with someone after two months? When does it evolve to official? Do you have to ask them? Should they ask you? Is it when you delete your dating apps? Is there some kind of manual that we can check out from the library that gives us a definitive answer to these questions? I asked my coupled up friends how they broached the subject.
“Oh, we didn’t ask each other out as such. Just one day, we were at a bbq with his friends and he introduced me as his girlfriend and that was that, really.”
“Well, he just kind of started putting me on his instagram stories and feed, so I just kind of assumed that that meant something, because he didn’t have any posts with girls that he wasn’t related to, before I came along”
“It was quite awkward. W were out for dinner an he said he had deleted his tinder profile and I told him, ‘oh? well, I have been dating other guys still, – sorry. I didn’t know we were exclusive.’ Soon after that, he asked me out properly and I deleted my apps too.”
“I am only ever texting or dating one person at any one time anyway, so it’s irrelevant. He’s my boyfriend from the get go.” (bold move here imo – could definitely scare some men away, but could also potentially weed out the ones that are fuck-boys)
“We were together for months and then one day, I asked him if he was my boyfriend, and he laughed at me and replied that he didn’t realise we were still in school, having to ask each other out and that of course he was my boyfriend! He’d assumed we were boyfriend and girlfriend that whole time and I’d been worried for nothing!”
“I got a notification on FB asking if I wanted to be in a relationship with him. But that was years ago, do people even still do that now?”
“He told me he loved me, and in my mind that meant that I was his girlfriend.”
No matter how insightful all of this information is, it doesn’t answer the question. How do you know when someone is your boyfriend? As a Virgo (yes, I believe that your zodiac sign and your personal attributes are somewhat connected – if you don’t believe that then you might want to skip the next few lines) and on a par with my personality traits under the sign of Mercury, Virgo’s are generally known for being non committal souls. Despite being an earth sign, we like to roam and often get bored quickly when a situation becomes static. Between me and my ex, it was actually me who was the lesser enthused about committing myself to the role of ‘girlfriend’. From the get go, he was very invested. We had been plodding along for months, and one night, the situation escalated. We were in a bar when he lost patience with the situation. “You stay at my house every other night, you know my friends, you’ve met my family, you even came to my brothers wedding for God’s sake. If you’re not my girlfriend, Pam, then what are you??? Where the fuck are we going?”. The boy had a point, and we both knew it. I did not however, feel excited and happy and my heart certainly did not well up with joy, the way the magazines tell you it should. What I felt was sheer panic. Now, I was accountable. For the entirety of the months we’d been plodding along in my comfort zone, I hadn’t been dating anyone else, nor even so much as texting anyone else, but now that I was committed, that meant that I couldn’t, and that scared me! I had a new responsibility now, to not hurt this person, and to be there for this person, and to go to all of the family functions and stuff that came along with him. I would now have to text him to confirm things, to tell him where I was and what I was doing. I couldn’t just willy nilly make plans to go on a week long holiday without mentioning it to him first (not that I did those things anyway, but what if I wanted to!?). It wasn’t about asking him for permission, it was more about common courtesy. I just wasn’t sure I was a good enough girl for the job. I didn’t want him to feel sad ever, and moreover, I didn’t want him to ever feel sad because I made him feel upset.
But then I realised, that the alternative to this was an endless stream of days without him, and that just didn’t bode well either, so, then and there, I made peace with the fact that I was now in fact a girlfriend.
‘Seeing’ someone, or ‘dating’ to me, seems a lot like a comfort zone. It’s the equivalent of saying you’re with someone – when you want to be; when it suits you to be. For example, you are not obliged to go to his friends wedding if you’re not really his girlfriend, but best believe your blood would boil inside if you were to see him out wining and dining another girl. You’d be first on the phone screaming to your friends, “but we are seeing each other!”. You’re trying them on for size without the commitment. It’s the emotional equivalent of having your cake and eating it too. Obviously, you can’t go on just one date with someone, et viola, he’s magically turned into your boyfriend. If that was the case, men would flock for the hills and never go on dates, but, if you’ve been on multiple dates, or if you’re sleeping together, what does that mean?
I think that one of the most sure fire ways to tell wether or not you are a boyfriend or girlfriend yet, is when you don’t want to date anyone else, and when you can’t imagine the other person not being in your life. Tinder and Bumble or whatever your preferred dating app is, no longer appeals to you in the way it once used to. You delete your profile, not because someone asks you to, but because you want to, and you hope that all of the above is reciprocated.
Another sure fire indicator is wether or not you’ve been introduced to their family and friends. If someone isn’t dating you exclusively, then introducing you to their friends is a risky business. It’s one thing for them to lie to you, but a whole other if they force their friends to lie too. Even when people say that they don’t care about what others think of them, deep down, they probably do, and so they’re not going to introduce you to their friends unless they like you and are keen to show you off. It’s the same with families. There’s some people you’d introduce to your parents, and there’s some people you wouldn’t want your parents to meet if they were the last surviving suitor on earth! Why bother with the parental backlash of disapproving parents unless the relationship is potentially going somewhere? If you’ve been plodding along f-o-r-e-v-e-r and his family don’t know you exist, well, that screams red flag right there. Either way, neither of those situations are good predicaments to be in. We live in the 21st century here, people and we are not living in the Romeo and Juliet era.
And lastly, I think that the most important of all the indicators to wether or not he is your boyfriend, or at least boyfriend material, is wether or not you can just be your true-est* self with him. If I need to impress and always look a certain way for someone just so they fancy me, then the truth is, I would rather be single. I mean, clearly guys are unaware as to how uncomfortable an underwired bra and a matte lipstick can be… No single person is perfect in any way, shape or form but that is what makes us, us.
This girl that’s moved in with her new boyfriend after just fifty-six days, confided that he has some house rules, and one of his bugbears is when she’s walking around the house in her pjs with no make up on, going about her beauty regime. He says that the relationship is still new, and because of that, they both should still be making a full effort to look nice for each other, including at home, and so that means maintaining an air of mystery. He expects her to wear makeup around the house and dress nicely.
When I heard this, I was incredulous. For sure, when you start out dating, and it’s all fancy dinners and cocktails, it’s normal for girls to dress up, but that’s my red carpet look, and if he expects me to look that way on the daily, then I am not the girl for him. I do not have that sort of time, nor energy to contour my face and run around the desert wearing uncomfortable stiletto strappy sandals while I do my errands just to please him. Hoovering in heels, come on! It’s not the 1950’s. If it’s going to last the distance, I need to be comfortable enough with a guy for him to see the real of me, and while the real me isn’t as pretty as the one who goes out for fancy dinners, it’s the day to day version of me.
He should love me when I am dressed up going to dinner, just as much as he loves me when I get home from work and throw on my sweat pants and throw my hair up in that tangled and messy thing that it does. In fact, he better love me even more so, because that is the REAL me. It’s a privilege! That’s the side that only my closest friends and family get to see. The real me, is when I wake up in the morning and my hair is all sticky up. The real me is when I am drinking coffee out of my favourite mug that my mum bought me one Christmas. The real me is when I am chilling on my sofa wearing glasses instead of contact lenses. The real me is when I am at the beach and I don’t have a scrap of make up on. I do not want to live my life loving someone, who doesn’t appreciate the real me as much as he appreciates the fancy me.
I remember, when my mum was sick. She cried to me that she felt ugly. It honestly broke my heart. The chemo made her lose her hair. The steroids made her gain weight. She had scars from her surgeries. and her self confidence was the lowest of the low, and there was nothing I could do to help her. But you know what? All of those things only served to make my stepdad love her more. That’s the kind of partner you want in your life. Someone who sees the real you at your shittiest of times and still thinks you’re pretty great.
If he can’t handle you** when you have a bad skin breakout, or when you’ve just woken up, then how is he going to handle it if you have a baby and don’t have time for make up. That man needs a Stepford Wife instead of a girlfriend, and you should hit him up with a link to a website that offers that kind of service.
So ladies, if you want to know wether or not he is your boyfriend, then I am still at a loss. I don’t know what advice to give you, really. Maybe you should just outright ask him. If you’re too scared to ask him, maybe you should just let him see you in tracksuit bottoms and no make up, making sure your hair looks extra messy that day for good measure! If he’s still sticking around, then that’s a pretty good indicator that he likes you. If he calls you up at 3am, every Friday night but doesn’t ask you to hang out in the daylight hours, then there’s a better chance of him being a vampire than your boyfriend… If he’s an expat and his mum’s been visiting for two weeks and you’ve still not been invited to meet her, same story – it is not a good sign.
Or, lastly, I encourage you to take the specially designed (by yours truly), Pamela Violets “IS HE MY BOYFRIEND?” flowchart for further clarification! Happy ready
bats love birds ❤
*Note, this doesn’t mean letting him see you use the bathroom or squeezing your blackheads in front of him – not even your best friends need to see that!!!
**By the way, I am aware that this line sounds awfully like that tacky Marilyn Monroe quote…