7 "What Are We?" Relationship Conversations That Didn't Quite Go As Planned
There are countless ways to respond to the oft-posed sixth date question "What are we?" You might reply: "boyfriend/girlfriend." You might say: "dating." Other appropriate replies include: "doctors" (if you are indeed both doctors) or "two lonely curmudgeons searching for meaning" (if you are both Larry David). I'd guess that only 19 percent of "what are we?" relationship conversations go exactly as planned. Humans, man — when presented with people who actually like us, we tend to detonate the relationship.
Exhibit A: A woman and a dude have gone on five dates. They think about having the sex post-fifth date, but Dude asks, "What are we? Because I don't fornicate without being exclusive." (Except he says it in a much less obnoxious way.) Despite liking Dude a lot, Woman says "I have food poisoning" and calls a Lyft. Everyone is confused. Everyone loses.
Exhibit B: A man and a lady are dating casually for NINE MONTHS. After a morning romp during which Man may have accidentally let an "I love you" slip, Lady asks Man, "What are we? Officially dating?" Man says, "I'm just not ready for a relationship right now." He then lets a fart slip, rolls over, and the non-relaysh is over.
These are stories from my imagination, but I have a feeling they have happened to at least one "are we/aren't we?" "couple" out there. I went to the deep, dark corner of the internet — or, Reddit — to confirm that none of us know how to handle ourselves when it comes to defining relationships in 2017. Here are a few stories from male Redditors whose "what are we" conversations took a wrong turn:
1. This Guy Took "Being Exclusive" To Mean "Dating" (Same)
OK, so there is no reason this woman had to say "yes we are," but if she had this much consternation and pent-up tears over their situation, what was she doing for two months? It would be nice if we were all less afraid to pull the plug on a relationship that isn't working so as not to waste each others' time.
2. This Guy Was Dating A Very Confused Person
Here's the thing, if you want to be with someone, you'll simply be with them. You'll find a way. You'll say "yes." This story makes me sad because all that this guy did was ask for some clarity, and this woman's anxiety-spiral and indecision means he probably won't ask "what are we?" in the future. I feel you, man.
3. This Guy Said "Yes" In A Panic
There is something to be said for replying to the "what are we?" question as honestly as possible, even if someone's feelings might get hurt. It's best not to skirt the question or say what you think the other person wants to hear, just to keep things going. Eventually, you're just going to end up in therapy/eating ice cream forever/blocking someone on all forms of social media anyways, so don't lie to yourself or your "SO."
4. This Guy Was Confused, But Then Got A Happy Ending
SEE? Communication is everything. Imagine if these two cuties never brought up the "what are we" convo again and never ended up dating for four years? If you leave a conversation like this truly confused, bring it up again. On the other hand, if you're pretty sure you got a "hard pass" from your friend/hookup/date, let it go.
5. This Guy Told It Like It Is, And Lost A Friend
THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T F*CK NICE THINGS WHO ARE OUR FRIENDS. This is textbook, but I commend him for being honest. I also think it's nice that he is giving her space — if someone you've slept with isn't ready to be your friend, they don't have to be. Let them go.
6. This Guy Had Every Right To Be Creeped Out
Everyone should do whatever it is they want to do when it comes to matters of the heart (except murder) but... there is such a thing as too soon. Date two, precisely.
7. This Guy Has The Right Idea
OK, so I'm going to assume that "dicklord_airplane" is a pretty upfront guy, as evidenced by his username. If he is letting potential partners know that he's not looking for a monogamous relationship before sleeping with them, I dig his no-fake-news approach. It's OK not to be interested in monogamy, just don't pretend that you are so you can put your P in a V. It's possible to be honest and upfront while still being kind. Telling it like it is is actually the best etiquette when in a "what are we?" situation.
In collecting these stories, I realize how many people I have "dated" or "seen" or who I have called my "hookup" or "sort of person" or "guy I'm seeing." If we're all going to be noncommittal monsters that leave relationships sitting in the gray area for months, then we need a word for these "in betweens" that is not "serious boyfriend" but is also not "hookup."
Some initial brainstorms include: my "naked-friend" or my "semi-person" or my "who the f*ck knows." A final idea: "the cute guy I need to grow the ovaries to ask to be my boyfriend." Asking "what are we?" is brave, friends, and I encourage you to do it when the time feels right. (So, not the second date.)