When do you make it “official”?
Is your relationship only official when it’s posted on Facebook? Maybe that depends on your age and social media presence. Is it official when you decide to sleep together? In this day, a resounding “NO!” came across the phone line on our recent Sex, Love, Etc. convo-cast. Is it official when someone says “I love you?” Tricky.
As a self-proclaimed communicator, I think a relationship is official when we’ve both agreed to make it official. But what does “official” really mean? Does it have to mean monogamous? Or can it also mean other things depending on your relational compass? Some people are polyamorous and don’t intend to stop loving and seeing their other partners. So how can a relationship be “official” in that case? Well, when both (or in that case, all) people are ready to stick with the rules and boundaries of the defined relationship. Official doesn’t have to mean steady boyfriend, girlfriend or married spouse; rather, it is a designation deemed to make a relationship less confusing.
Perhaps with the designation of “official,” you can now introduce your partner as someone significant in your life, rather than those clunky moments when you are afraid of overstating what this person means to you.
Once I was in Customs on my way to visit a newish boyfriend in another country. The Customs Officer asked me about the purpose of my trip, and naturally I said it was leisure travel. He raised an eyebrow, asking if I was visiting someone there. Without a filter, I launched into the story of how I’d been seeing someone, he was awesome and special to me, but I wasn’t sure if we were boyfriend/girlfriend or what the designation was. The Customs Officer certainly seemed to think this was funny and replied “well, it sounds like your vacation should probably include a discussion of your relationship status since you’re flying all this way!”
Heeding his advice as a final push for “The Conversation I Need To Have,” I spoke to my man friend about this. He said he’d assumed we were monogamous, close, and I was his girlfriend even though we hadn’t had “the official” talk. It was music to my heart AND I was really glad to have brought this up with him. We were on the same page! But, assumptions can also bite us in the ass.
What if you assume you’re official and your partner thinks otherwise? I’ve been in this uncomfortable, unrequited situation and it didn’t feel good. What would I have preferred? It would have been helpful if we’d had a conversation or two about where we saw this relationship going instead of my thinking we were close and he didn’t see a future.
So, what’s the take away? However you define “official,” please talk about it! Let your partner know and joyously celebrate the love on which you’re embarking!