What you should know before keeping or trashing your no-label relationship
Human beings have had love-hate relationships with labels. The daughter, the smarty-pants, the rebel, the girlfriend, and the list go on. Labelling creates stereotypes, but it also organizes how things are – in this case, the way human relates.
Confusion arises in the absence of relationship labels, especially when it comes to romantic ties. Thus, the labels: ‘She’s my girlfriend’, ‘He’s my lover’. Some insist labels are for kids. Some others get upset whilst waiting for the other party to label their relationship. It is relatable to almost anyone, so relatable that ‘Friends with Benefits’ and ‘No Strings Attached’ hit the box office among others.
We explore the different forms of no-label relationship and discuss: is it for keepsake or trash-worthy?
Case 1: ‘I like you, but I still miss her,”
This is the case where a guy likes you and vice versa, but he is not ready for a commitment – because the ex still reigns his mind. There are two options to solve the dilemma. If you like him enough, you could opt to give him a deadline to fix his personal issues before starting anew with you. Help him with the quest if you want to, but do not let the ex’s shadow affects your confidence. If you like watching ‘New Girl’ more than texting him, then you should consider staying a casual friend – no romantic relations, with him. After all, if a man loves you, he should try harder to show his commitment to you.
Case 2: ‘Let’s see how things go for 2 months’
You and him have been dating for weeks, and when it is time to decide whether you two should turn into a couple, an idea of ‘trial period’ arises. There is no need to be taken aback, as some people prefer taking things slowly before duly committing themselves into a serious relationship. This process is to ensure they are with the right person. However, make sure there is a definite timeline to the trial period and make the best of it to know each other better.
Case 3: ‘Meet my ‘boyfriend’, Roy!’
When it comes to Asian context, the term friends with benefits does not always mean commitment-less sexual relationship. It could also mean using someone as ‘driver’, or fake partner to show parents or friends at parties. Love it or hate it, expectations and benefits are inseparable parts of any relationships. As long as both parties agree to the terms and conditions, why not?
Well, it is okay as long as no parties feel upset or fall for the other party. What if the ‘driver’ falls for you – are you going to explore a romantic relationship with hum or are you going to ditch him? Just like professional or political relations, friends with benefits have expiry dates and there are countless loopholes of a relationship to end up badly. Think properly before you agree to be someone’s fake partner, consider your public image (think Emma Stone in Easy A).
Case 4: ‘He is a special friend, more than a good friend but not a boyfriend’
Ranting to a guy friend is a breath of fresh air – no judgements involved. It is so comforting that you and him find yourselves finishes each other’s sentences. At this point, your relationship with him is more intense than casual friends, but neither you guys are an item. Ah, the classic ‘can a boy and a girl be just friends’. Be careful if either one of both of you guys have partners – the special friendship could cause trouble to your relationships.
There are two steps to clear the water. First, include partners in conversation topics to remind both of you that you should always keep the friendship boundaries. Never cry to your special friends over romantic matters before discussing the issues with your respective partner. Then, discuss the special friendship issues with your partner – involve your partner so he does not have any reasons to get jealous. If you find it hard to be opened to your partner, then you should re-evaluate your relationship. And ask yourself; are you in love with the so-called special friend?
Case 5: ‘I like you, but I enjoy going out with A and B, too!’
A suave guy is both a blessing and a curse. They are so easy to be with, make you blush, and are naturally charismatic. In the case of meeting a suave, guard your heart a little harder. You might fall for him head over heels after 24 hours, but take a step back and see the big picture. Yes, burst your euphoria bubble! Flamboyant guys are not always players, but they are so sociable and easy-going that most of them find it hard to commit. Well, when you have a packed social agenda and a lot of people to attend to, why tie yourself to just one person, right? In the case of a suave proclaim his commitment to you, ask yourself if you are ready for the pressure – fan girls and a series of events for start. On the other hand, if he has not shown he is serious, divide your focus into other things (and people) before falling too hard.
Whilst being in a limbo could make one go crazy, it is as well thrilling. If not, why would people go in and out of no-label relationships? The key is to keep the key to your heart safely, never give it away overnight, even in times of desperation.