The Love Series: Titles don't ruin relationships...People do

 “There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”

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I received my first love note in Kindergarten. There was an annoying little boy in my class named Lafayette.  One day after spending the afternoon making “Peanut Butter Clay,” he slipped a note in my backpack. My mom found it. It was so simple.  “Danyell (he spelled my name wrong), Will you be my girlfriend? Check Yes or No.”   He even took the time to draw a picture of himself holding flowers for me. LOL! I think about that moment and realize how wonderful and innocent our youth was. My how times have changed.  It seems that nowadays, we don’t have many “defined” relationships.  How important is a title to you when it comes to relationships? Is the title a sign of commitment in a relationship? Do you need the title to validate your relationship?

”I used to be in the former category; I needed that title to make my relationship matter. I needed that reassurance she was my girlfriend, and by making it "official," I thought she was. To be honest, though, that title only created other issues. Now I had to talk to her more; she had the "right" to yell at me if something wasn’t right, I had to make sure not to talk to other girls; if she talked to other guys I was jealous, and when we broke up, it hurt more…” (Seen on Twitter)

Titles.  Some people can't live without them; others wish they wouldn't exist. I know more men than women who come up with the “Why do you need a label?” question.  After reading that man’s post on Twitter, it occurred to me that some are still seeking the easy route even when they claim to be in relationships. Without a “title,” there are no “preconceived expectations" or responsibilities.   It’s easier to just walk away, break it off with someone without a title.  It involves less guilt and fewer feelings.  I just can’t see a real committed relationship without a title.  I'm speaking of relationships that have moved beyond the "dating phase" but not yet at the "committed stage", I call these grey areas. Every relationship goes through it's "grey area" stage.     If you are at this stage of a relationship and a fare amount of time has passed and you are seeing one another on a regular basis, then something isn’t being said or someone is hiding something.  Either way, you are in some “red flag” territory. You are at a crossroads and need to have some conversations and make some decisions.

How many times have you heard a man say, “hey…let’s just go with the flow and see what happens?”  I think that’s an excellent approach when dating someone initially. The purpose of dating is to see if you “click.”  When dating, there are no commitments.  You are literally “auditioning” potential life partners. It should be fun and carefree.   However, there comes the point where both of you should know if you want to continue seeing one another or if this was an experience that was meant to be short lived.   If after an extended amount of time has passed, you are seeing one another regularly and he is still telling you “he’s still going with the flow,” RUN GIRL RUN!!!   It is at that very moment when you have to have a discerning ear because what I hear is this, “I don’t want to claim you, but you are cool for me until something better comes along.”  Women allow this and don’t offer any incentive for him to make a real commitment. You are already doing everything couples do without the added “pressure”.  So what ends up happening is a woman continues in this type of relationship, hoping/wishing that one day, he will say “hey…I'm ready to commit.”  So much time passes and feelings are now involved which makes it even harder for women to walk away from this "situationship". So we settle and continue a relationship on a wish. (I wish he’d just ask me…”)

SMDH…Ladies we are indeed selling ourselves short.  Having an expectation of a title isn't "pressure", it's a standard that you have the right to expect.

It may not be titles that cause the issues in relationships. It’s the change that occurs in individuals because of their perspective on what the title means that causes issues
— Twitter

This “gray area” type of relationship is one of the easiest relationships for a man to have.  This man receives all of the benefits of having a “woman” without any of the responsibility. Since there is no title, commitment or expectations, the door is now wide open for him to meet someone else, walk away and feel no guilt about it because “he’s not ya man, right?” (EASY OUT).  Think about it; we don’t give out titles randomly,  you earn them.  Think of individual professional titles. If you were promoted to Senior Vice President but everyone continued to refer to you as "analyst" how would you feel?   That would never be ok in any professional setting.  My promotion comes with a title change and increase in pay. It's not ok that I'm paid privately and never acknowledged publically in my new position.  (Get It?)  The title you hold is one that you earned.  You did the work and put in the time and effort. Whenever I've received a promotion at work, the first thing my employer does is change my business cards, replace my office nameplate, and change my signature line on all of my electronic correspondence and that's in addition to a company-wide announcement.     Your accomplishment and your position should be acknowledged…PUBLICLY.  The same should be true of romantic relationships. There is a difference between being private and being a secret.  Your relationship should always be private but never a secret.   The man who chooses to make a woman his “lady” is different than the rest.  She stands apart because something about her is special. Why wouldn’t he want to acknowledge that publicly? It's time to remove those rose colored glasses.  He’s not your man and it’s time to face reality.  Walk away before you end up on love’s highway as relationship road kill. To many of us stay silent, "going with the flow",  acting like the relationship we are in is great but deep inside we know we desire and deserve more. We stay in "situationships" out of fear of being alone and wind up with broken hearts because we believed the lie the "wolf" told us. 

The reality is, with titles come a certain responsibility to our partners. It’s why I always tell someone I’m dating to be very careful with throwing out titles because, with titles, my expectations change. My expectations of a person as my boyfriend are higher than that of a friend I am just dating. My expectations of my husband are greater than that of a person that is just my boyfriend.   I spoke more on this in my last blog post "To Protect and Serve".  This is why developing a healthy, open and honest line of communication is so necessary when beginning new relationships. Couples/Potential couples need to know what each other’s expectations are and be honest with one another.  It really makes a difference and hopefully avoid an unnecessary heartbreak later down the line.   If you find yourself in this type of a gray area relationship, cut ya losses and walk because if he really wanted you to be “his lady,” you would never have to ask him to define the relationship. He’d tell you because he’d want you to know.

You are an amazing woman who deserves a man who knows your worth.  Stop Settling for average and mediocre relationships that do not honor the very essence of who you are.  It is ok to walk away.

Until next time,

Take care of yourselves and one another

D. Sanders