As single women, when it comes to relationships, we like to have closure and more importantly, to know where we stand at ALL times. In today’s convoluted dating world where honesty and transparency pretty much don't exist largely due to the internet, free dating sites and cell phones providing already non-committal men with even MORE options, where do we stand? Let's talk about some "dating labels"—words or phrases that define where we are in a relationship.
“Dating”: If I’m seeing someone who has “boyfriend potential” I like to say that I’m dating. “Boyfriend potential” meaning he has the majority of things on my “LIST.” Is he the one? Too soon to tell, but he could potentially be “the one,” and we will continue to “date” until I figure it out. To be clear, I can’t say that I’ve done very much “dating” in the city. I very RARELY click with and am attracted to someone and in the rare event that I am, they typically end up being unavailable and/or raising red flags which quickly down-grades their "dating" status. Is it okay to “date” more than one person at a time? I think it is critical to “date” multiple men. “Things”, especially in New York City, have a tendency to NOT work out. By having a couple of guys in the rotation, you’re keeping your options open, which helps lessen the disappointment when it doesn’t work...there’s always the other guy.
“Seeing Someone” If you’re going out with someone you know is NOT “the one” but you are sleeping with him and spending time with him, then by my definition, you are “seeing” him. Guess it’s a kind of a more respectable way to describe an unspoken “friends with benefits” or “hook-up” situation. I tend to “recycle” guys that I’ve “seen” in the past. They come, they go, but they ALWAYS come back in some form or fashion even years later.
“Boyfriend” Actions speak louder than words with exception to “the talk” which HAS to happen for your “relationship” to be legit. He can be acting like your boyfriend, seeing you a few times a week, calling you every night, holding your hand in public, BUT, if you do not have “the talk”, he in his own mind can still think he is single and actually, based on the unspoken rules of dating, technically has the right to still be seeing other people. Most men try to put off having “the talk” for as long as possible. Here’s a hint: Stay away from men who are initiating “the talk”, especially if it’s within a couple of weeks of meeting you.
Harsh but true...You may have had “the talk”, and even be saying the “L” word, but here’s a MAJOR indicator that he’s still NOT really your boyfriend. If your “boyfriend” won’t change his Facebook status to say “in a relationship” with you, then despite having had “the talk,” he is clearly still not willing to fully commit and is probably seeing people behind your back or at least wanting to have the option to do so in the event he’s contacted by an “ex,” or as SO many men endearingly refer to me, “unfinished business”. If you’re in this situation I would quickly in your mind downgrade this man to someone you’re “seeing” while immediately hitting singles events and girlfriend supported outings to begin the search for an upgrade.
FYI ladies…”Text message” relationships are “textbook” he’s just not “into” you. But that’s okay…maybe we’re not all that “into” them either. As soon as a relationship starts to look like or full-on become of the “text message” variety, I quickly demote that guy from someone I’m “dating” to someone I’m “seeing”. Don’t get me wrong, “text message” relationships can be a nice distraction and keep us going during dreaded “dating” droughts. I for one survived ten years in "Corporate America" largely due to some great text message exchanges that got me through PLENTY a boring meeting, conference call and 3-day seminar. Again, they’re fine, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s more than it is and just know that like a “text”, these types of relationships tend to be short-lived and EASILY deleted…except for the private, naughty pics that these guys will probably save on their phones FOREVER so they can continue to show them to their friends and anyone else that will look.
Here's my dating advice. With all of the 'smoke and mirrors' that men put out, it’s hard to say if we’re ever seeing things clearly. Our “relationship” labels may at times be off or greatly vary, but at the end of the day I truly believe that knowing is half the battle. The quicker you can see things for what they are, the less likely you are to be disappointed, hurt or wasting valuable time. I tell all of my gfs and female matchmaking clients, be aware of your male surroundings at all times and always try to know where you stand. If you’re too emotionally involved to assess, have an honest girlfriend put a label on it for you.