Before I begin, remember that these are my opinions. Ergo, jumping on my back for them is pointless. I'm saying this right now because this is one of those issues where people get defensive for no damn reason.
Field Negro's post alerted me to an article written by Andraya Mays for The Fresh Express in which she states she's sick of the boyfriend/girlfriend title. Here's an excerpt:
Boyfriend/girlfriend is a title. That’s it. In no way, shape, or form does it signify commitment. Y’all can keep getting tricked into being “wifey” or his “girlfriend” forever if y’all want to, but I’m taking a different route. We all know one too many “girlfriends” that wouldn’t be so self-righteous if they knew what their “boyfriends” were really up to.To which Field Negro writes on his blog:
The way I see it, getting a guy to commit to this title first does not, nor has it ever guaranteed that you will see a ring, so why commit yourself to someone that’s not going to be around ‘till death do you part?
Ain’t gone happen over here.
One day I was just thinking and was like, “Ok so I want a guy to kick it with all the time and maybe do a little bump and grind,” but then I was like, “I’m a busy girl. I don’t have time to maintain a real relationship right now,” and then I was like, “and even if I do get me a man, I’m not trying to be his girlfriend forever and ever, we’ll eventually have to break-up if he doesn’t propose around the time I’m ready to settle down or he’ll cheat or we’ll grow apart.”
Then it hit me, why should I even have to go through that for a maybe? This ain’t spades and I ain’t putting no money on no possibles.
To me, commitment is a guy going out and getting a ring, asking my friends if they like it, discussing it with his boys and our families, then nervously getting down on one knee in a super cute setting that he planned out on his own.
Anything other than that is redundant. Why should I ever be stressed about a relationship that isn’t recognized by anybody’s God, nor does it affect my taxes? I shouldn’t. Nobody should.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that you can’t control when you fall in love and I’m not suggesting that you postpone the feelings until marriage and I’m definitely not saying that slutting until then is acceptable but chill out.
What is the point in fully committing to someone you may or may not spend your life with? You can figure out if you want to marry that person without a title. As a matter of fact, that’s a better way to do it because there’s no reason to lie to each other about anything if you don’t “go together.”
I’m not saying this is easy. It’s not at all. You have to be secure and trusting in order for it to work. But it’s much easier than a relationship. Imagine a life where you can do you and he/she can do them. No hurt feelings. No broken promises. No driving by his house to see who’s over there. Then when it’s the right time for the both of you, commit, settle down, have a Leroy and a Patricia. If those times don’t coincide, move on.
Now before you totally disregard my premise, ask yourself why you’re so against it? Why does the idea of going from love to marriage, and not boyfriend-girlfriend to love to marriage seem so ridiculous? Not because it’s crazy. It’s because it’s different.
It’s crazy to me that for so long we’ve been ok with putting so much energy into a person we only “like” and aren’t sure if we’ll love yet. Once in a relationship, we inevitably think it’s love after a while because that’s just what’s supposed to happen right?
As young people, we get so caught up in that giddy feeling of infatuation that we forget about reality, until it slaps us in the face. Live your life. Make your dreams come true. Don’t make love a chore. And when you’ve lived enough and seen enough, decide to live and see forever with another.
It breaks my heart to see so many women out there who have NEVER had time solely to work on them. Not even just young mothers, the women who go from boyfriend to boyfriend from kindergarten to the alter deal with the same thing mentally. If you’ve always been attached to someone else, there’s no way you know who you are.
That period where you no longer live with your parents and have no one to worry about but you is probably the most necessary, deciding factor in your life. Stop being so dependent on the relationships you form, expecting those to give you happiness.
I think a much stronger bond is created when you’re free to see whomever you want but that one girl/guy is always in the back of your mind. You’ll always return to him or her not because you made a baseless commitment to them, but because that’s where your heart is.
That’s love – the kind of love that can make a marriage last. I want to look at my future husband every day and know that we’re both here by choice. Not because I got knocked up while shacking up, not because I was his longtime girlfriend so he figured he owed me the ring, and certainly not because I gave him an ultimatum.
I want to marry my best friend, not my boyfriend. Most importantly, I want to know exactly who I am and serve myself and my needs before I try to give another person my all. If you haven’t done that “soul-searching,” how much do you really have to give?
I guess I want your opinions, because, now that I think about it, I really don't understand what girlfriend is trying to say.Talk is Cheap
After high school, I myself was never comfortable with the terms "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" in the romantic sense. To me, they sound incredibly juvenile, belonging in the uncertain, emotionally turbulent, and hormonally fickle halls of a middle school. Hell, I don't even think they should be used outside the sandbox. I remember the horror I felt watching a cast of supposed-to-be-grown women on Sex in the City using the term "boyfriend". I remember thinking, "You're adults. What the hell? After the age of five, you don't say 'wee-wee' instead of penis, so why still use 'boyfriend'?"
Those words never actually meant anything to me, not even when I was a teenager; I had No Respect Whatsoever for such relationships. True story: you know how in high school there were always these 2-3 couples in your circle of friends whom everyone else looks up to and has this irrational, to-the-death respect for? I knew such a couple (a few actually). Everybody in our group of friends talked about their "relationship" like it was their own parents' marriage.
The guy actually happened to be a neighbor of mine, and every few months, he had a new "girlfriend" he supposedly loved and was willing to take a bullet for. One particular girlfriend he had talked as though they were already married, so I wound up hearing whole sermons on their "relationship." Of course, it didn't stop the guy from occasionally foolin' around with Moi on the school bus or at his house or at the nearby park or where the hell ever. I actually remember the girl voiced a suspicion to me once about him possibly messing around with someone else. Never having been properly schooled in the deceptive art of girl talk, I shrugged and replied, "Yeah. He most likely is."
College was no different. You know that saying about how if you talk to a couple separately they usually have completely different versions of what's happening in their relationship? College is the classic example of that. Quite frankly, I don't even know why college kids even bother. College is all about having insignificant others. I never understood how a young woman could shack up and share her highly prized loan check with some dude. I mean...what.the.fuck.is.that? Investing money in an apartment and a car with a boyfriend?
You can be someone's "girlfriend" on Tuesday. By Thursday...who the hell knows? I think that all this boyfriend/girlfriend nonsense is putting perfectly good insignificant others on lockdown, and it's selfish. Go hard or go home. If you two aren't going to be together until death do you part, then you are both fair game and need to quit being so damn greedy.
Now personally, I prefer the terms "significant other" and "insignificant other". Keep in mind I'm being very serious. The Eldest Sis argues that these terms are too broad and too vague, but that's the point. They're eventuality terms, as in "prepared for any eventuality."
To me, insignificant others are the ones you sleep with, have a drink with, but whose calls you're not obligated to take and whose thoughts, feelings, and overall existence don't factor into your life decisions. Depending upon who and how they are, they may or may not eventually become a significant other (but most likely do not).
A significant other is someone who has, though not always, the potential to become a partner, as in someone you can share your finances, property, and DNA with. To hell with who designed the wedding clothes, or how much the ring(s) cost, or even which god blessed/condemned the union - like I said in a previous post, it all comes back to the law. To be fully protected in a relationship, a real commitment needs the backing of the law (hence the reason why it's so important that gays be allowed to marry).
When people are ready to commit, that's what they do. The key word in that sentence, of course, is "do". Some commenters on Andraya's post talked about, "But if he/she has my word....", but commitment isn't said; it's done. It means giving up things, factoring another a person into all your major decisions, and being ready to be held accountable in a court of law for your fuck-ups. Loving and committing to a person - whether we like to admit it or not - is to be inconvenienced. That goes for friends, parents, children, and siblings, as well as significant others.
And this is where people get defensive; some want to be able to commit verbally and have the obligation end there, and often try to redefine the very word "committed" so that it means anything but committed. Others want to defend their decision to accept someone else's words of commitment, even if there are no actions to back up the words.
Both types get angry when people ask why they haven't taken the next step if they're so committed.
You don't have to be rich to commit. You don't have to have the fairytale wedding, or the perfect house, or whatever other excuse people drum up to get out of it. Hell, you don't even need the right person to commit! All you need is the legal right, and the conviction to go through with becoming someone's partner.
Outside of that, you're just an Other, and far more easily replaced.
These Are My Confessions