I’ve spent the majority of my 20s being in what I like to call “pseudo-relationships” with “not-boyfriends.” I have spent a very significant amount of time hanging out and sleeping with the same person, but never being exclusive with that person.
It wasn't because I didn’t want to be exclusive, but because I was afraid that by demanding more, I would effectively scare him away and things would end.
So instead, I would swallow all of my feelings and desires and anxiously await for him to wake up one morning and ask me to be his girlfriend.
I thought if I just held out long enough, kept my feelings in check and remained the “cool girl,” he would come around. I would accept nothing but scraps from this man whom I would hold on a pedestal and, meanwhile, kept myself closed off to anyone wanting to give me more than that.
It was an endless cycle of pain and disappointment, which, apparently, I had to go through with a number of people until I finally learned the lesson.
I don't care who you are or how icy your heart is, sexual intimacy over an extended period of time causes most women to get attached. And the closeness and affection you experience seems as though it would translate outside of the bedroom. But more often than not, it just doesn’t progress that way.
However, this doesn’t stop a lot of women from becoming confused and allowing their hormones to determine that they are in love and in something real and lasting. Once you’ve gotten in that deep, it’s hard to see clearly and pull yourself out on your own accord. But don’t worry; I am here to help with some tough love.
Here's how you can tell if your pseudo-relationship is going nowhere:
If your not-boyfriend hasn’t taken you out on actual dates beyond the last-minute, late-night drinks, and hasn’t actively tried to change your “single” status, you are definitely a side chick.
You might even be the main chick, but you are definitely not his girlfriend. And if you are not girlfriend, then most men take advantage of their single status and sleep with other girls. Therefore, even if you are the main chick, there are probably other side chicks.
While I was seeing my not-boyfriends, I was very faithful. I knew deep down they weren't giving me the same respect, but I would somehow rationalize it in my head: “Well, we aren’t exclusive, so he’s allowed to sleep with whomever he wants.“
I would say some version of that excuse to my friends and then sob myself to sleep about it at night.
You deserve someone who respects your body and won’t accidentally give you a STD. You deserve to not have your heart fly into your throat when you hear a rumor about him sleeping with another girl.
You deserve to be called “girlfriend” in public, and for your SO to feel proud and unashamed to announce it.
Never Your Plus-One
If your not-boyfriend always makes up an excuse when you ask him to accompany you to a wedding or party or dips out of invitations on the regular, you are not his girlfriend.
Most men know that part of being in a relationship means he will be your date for everything he is available to attend. He looks forward to nights out with you, where you both look your best and can enjoy each other’s company, no matter what the setting is.
Not-boyfriends do this thing where they have an amazing reason why they can’t be seen in public with you anywhere. Their excuses always seem legit in your delusional brain and you just say to everyone, “He wanted to be here, but he’s SO busy.”
He’s not busy; he is dreading any occasion where he might have to explain his relationship with you to anyone and doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea about your status.
And you can definitely forget about any family related events. If you ask him to go somewhere with you where even ONE of your family members might be present, he will suddenly drop off the face of the earth and claim he never got your text.
Valentine’s Day? LOL. His phone will be out of service that entire week.
You deserve someone who not only wants to attend everything with you, but asks you to attend things with him, too! When you are stuck in the rut of a pseudo-relationship, you don’t even really see these things as that bad.
You are disappointed, sure, but you go solo and decide you don’t need a man to accompany you anywhere to have fun. Of course you don’t, but wouldn’t it be nice if you did?
Anything that screams “favor” will make your not-boyfriend run for the hills. You need help hanging a picture? You need help moving? You need a hand at IKEA? You need a ride to the airport? Ask your roommate.
Because your not-boyfriend will definitely not be doing it. He will feel zero obligation to help out because you are not his girlfriend.
The best part about not being in a relationship for guys is that they can be as selfish as they want. If they felt ready to be in a relationship and take on all the responsibilities it entails, they would be in one.
You deserve someone you can count on, and who is willing to help you in any situation. Guys who are with people they want to be with WANT to do favors for them. Helping you should make him feel good.
Women in pseudo-relationships look at likes on Facebook and Instagram as a way of flirting. They hear, “I love having sex with you” as the nicest thing anyone has ever said.
They get one text saying, “I miss you,” and they are set for the entire month in terms of happiness. This bare minimum of affection is laughable, and yet, in the moment, it seems so emotionally fulfilling.
But it only lasts a second, and then you don’t hear from him for four days, and you go back to feeling insecure and anxious.
Don’t let social media confuse you about how much you are actually interacting with a person. It takes less than a second to double tap a photo. It also takes less than a second to call someone from your contacts. But not-boyfriends will rarely call because it’s not impersonal enough.
You deserve flowers and heartfelt cards. You deserve to be told you are loved. You deserve for a man to not have to miss you because he is making a concerted effort to be in your life on a regular basis.
When you inevitably get upset when this guy fails to meet your standards, you have no one to blame but yourself. You have to be careful of to whom you give your heart and body.
You can say, “I don’t care, we’re just having fun” as much as you want, but trust me, it’s easy to accidentally get attached. And these breakups hurt just as much as real ones. So don’t allow a fake relationship to get out of hand, and don’t accept crumbs. If a man wants to be with you, it will be glaringly obvious.
Girls have a tendency to imagine a future with men they are interested in. All of this imagining builds someone up way more than what the realistic situation turns out to be. Dreaming about someone is fun, but unless he is showing up in real life, it’s time to let it go.
Maybe he will come back for you when he’s ready. Maybe at that point, you will have already moved on. If it’s meant to be, it will be, but life is too short to wait for someone.
You are not his girlfriend, but you could be someone else’s. Give yourself to someone who wants to receive your love.