Am I His Girlfriend or Just His Friend?

Dating, Friendships

Q: “I’ve been dating this guy for a few short months and we talk and text almost every day. I feel like I do everything I can to please him. I cook for him, clean for him and sometimes I even take him out on dates but when I ask him where we stand he just says, “We’re kicking it or we’re just friends.” He’s a really great guy and I don’t think he’s dating anyone else, but he hasn’t really called me his girlfriend yet. Whenever I bring it up and ask him about it he just tells me that he likes how things are going and we shouldn’t mess up a good thing. I don’t want to nag him and push him away but I don’t want to waste my time either if he doesn’t want to be with me.” ~Anonymous

Forgive me for my lengthy response but I see a few things in what you stated. From what you mentioned, it sounds like you two are in the middle somewhere – possibly the gray area – but it appears you’re doing everything a girlfriend or a wife would do but without the title that comes along with it. This reminds me of the old, wise saying: “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free.”

Think about it. Why would a man feel the need to commit to a woman when he’s already getting everything he wants without making it official?  It could be that he feels like taking the relationship to the next level is pointless since he’s already reaping all of the benefits.

You mentioned some of the things you do for him and I commend you for that. You sound like a wonderful person and you’re obviously showing him what it’s like to be with someone as great as you. Trust, I’m all about pleasing my man and doing things for him, especially now that he’s my husband, but the feelings and actions must be mutual. Relationships are 100/100; meaning it requires full effort on both parts – 100 percent on both sides.

I could be wrong, but if I was to read a little deeper into what you wrote, it appears that maybe he’s not putting in as much effort as you are. If this is true, then maybe you need to dial it back a little. For example, if you’re the one that usually initiates all of the texts and phone calls, then maybe it’s time to change it up. I like a little of the “old school” and “new school,” so I don’t have a problem with treating my husband and taking him out every now and then, but maybe it’s time he showed you a good time. Maybe suggest a nice restaurant or outing and see if he initiates the date and offers to take you out.

With everything out here and the ratio of men to women nowadays, it’s easy to want to go above and beyond to please a man. However, you have to know when to dial it back and create the “chase” without playing games. Yes, a lot of men still like to play games and take the easy route but most real men I know like to be challenged when it comes to settling down with that special woman.

I have to keep it real with you, however, because sometimes we as women get caught up in the titles (boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé) a little too quickly when we first start dating a guy. We go on the first date and immediately think, “Is this my husband,” instead of “Let me get to know this guy and see what happens.” There has to be a balance between progressive movement and letting things happen naturally.

Everyone is different and everyone has their own personal time frame for how they think how fast or slow a relationship should move. For you, if there’s a certain point when you think you should be exclusive, especially considering other factors, then it’s okay to communicate that to him but not in a way that sounds like you’re forcing him to be with you.

So, I’ll tell you like I tell women all the time, “just let it flow.” That’s not to say that you should be okay with whatever happens or waiting forever for him to make it official; rather, it’s more about allowing things to move naturally and taking the time to get to know the person. Don’t be so consumed with the title of boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé or even husband/wife. In all honesty, it’s only been a few short months and if a man wants to be with you, guess what? He’ll be with you.

One of the easiest ways to push a man away is to make him feel like you’re forcing him to be with you. Real men know what they want and when they want it. When it comes time to be exclusive, you won’t have to beg, plead and force him to be with you…especially if he doesn’t want anyone else to have you.

Also, you mentioned that he’s not talking to anyone else right now. It’s nice if he isn’t and maybe he’s just taking his time to see where this goes between you and him. However, don’t assume that he’s not talking to or dating anyone else just because that’s what you’d prefer and/or because you’ve cut yourself off from dating anyone else.

Of course you don’t want to come off like you’re nagging, but there’s nothing wrong with clarifying your roles when it comes to this type of situation. Men like to say they want to be free to date whomever, but it all changes when they realize the woman is also talking to someone else. You don’t have to throw all of your eggs in one basket, so consider keeping your options open just in case.

I don’t know if you all discussed your expectations as far as what you two are looking for in a relationship, but it’s always good to know upfront.  I talk more about this in  my blog: “The Gray Area.”

I say all this to say: don’t give him too much too soon without being clear about where you two stand. Consider dialing it back a little if you feel like you’re giving too much of yourself. Otherwise, if the feelings and actions are mutual, then give it some time and see what happens in a few months.

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