Non-Relationship – The grey area in between taking the plunge into a committed relationships and platonic friendship. Often due to indecision on the part of one or more parties involved.
Symptoms may include: Holding hands, non-committal sex, spending an inordinate amount of time together, flirting on text messages.
One of my close girlfriends and I recently discussed the dynamics and life-cycles of the modern day non-relationship.
In an age of Tinder and “friends with benefits,” defining your relationship status has come to have the difficulty level of a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Thanks to the normalisation of modern day hook-up culture, there’s a little bit of a phobia towards committing to anything slightly representative of genuine emotions. We seem to be scared of getting into anything with an official label.
What that means is that you can spend months just hanging out, hooking up, and even spend time cooking together, without talking about what it is that you’re doing.
One issue of being in this weird status of relationship limbo, is that when someone asks “Are you with anyone?” it’s hard to know how to answer. Since technically the answer is “No,” the rules of starting up something else with someone are somewhat foggy.
Of course because nothing is ever properly ‘official’, we are expected to be all completely chilled about our pseudo-relationships, but before you know it, you find yourself crying into your pillow and/or a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. Because here’s the thing: just because you don’t talk about your feelings doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Even if you haven’t put a label on your relationship, you can’t avoid getting your heart broken just because you never called each other cute nicknames and introduced them to your family. These non-relationships are relationships too, even if they aren’t the kind that Clinton’s makes cards for.
Maybe you were saying “yeah, let’s keep this casual” when something in your heart was hoping for something more. Maybe the other person was. Maybe it genuinely started off casually and then evolved unexpectedly into feelings territory. When you are spending time with somebody that you find attractive and interesting, catching feelings is a real possibility.
My advice? If the ‘seeing’ each other period is going well and you genuinely feel like you’re happy and the other person cares about you, then accept the breathing space and freedom. Enjoy the process of building something with someone and getting to know them. Don’t try and ruin it by insisting on defining the relationship at this point.
However if you’re in the common situation where the non-relationship phase has lasted longer than five or six months, and they don’t seem to be prioritising you anytime soon, then maybe it’s time to rethink the situation. Chances are they are just stringing you along until someone better comes along.
As I’ve said previously: If they’re not willing to commit, it means they’re willing to let you go. Be honest with your feelings and be true to yourself.