Saturday, April 24, 2010

To Call You Mine: Commitment vs. Exclusivity

The last time I officially used the "boyfriend" title, I was in high school. It was my senior year and we were as opposite as opposite gets. But, he asked me out in front of the entire school, performing "If I Ever Fall in Love" with the school's acapella group and like any high school girl, I swooned. After he was done, he'd came down off the stage to tell me how much he was ready to put everything else aside and have us only be with each other. "I want you to be my one and only," he said. 

Well, at 17, what's a girl to say to that? Of course, this kind of declaration of love isn't common. But, at that age, it's easier to "make a commitment", with hormones pulsing at lightening speeds. What is the next step once you like someone? You make it official, of course.

These days, when you're seeing someone, dating, of course, is always the first step. But what happens next? Well, it's easy if both parties feel the same way. But if they don't?

In the one and only long-term "relationship" I had, during the height of it all, we were spending most of our free time together and we were only being intimate with each other. Essentially we were going through all the motions of being a couple. But, when I finally told him how I felt (that I loved him) and that I wanted to be able to call him my boyfriend, that didn't work for him. He was comfortable with us being "exclusive" but adding the title meant too much responsibility...

And that's when I ended things. If he didn't want me to call him boyfriend, I couldn't act like nothing was wrong. We tried again when he said he missed me and wanted us to make another go. But, we broke up again over pretty much the same reason. And it was that second time when I learned that the reason we broke up is because he was still holding on to his old flame. So as long as we were "exclusive" but not "committed" then he could play it safe until he could be with someone with whom he wanted to commit.

Either way, since then, I've made a mental note to have the conversation as soon as it seems like things are getting serious. That way there's no confusion... Or time-wasting for that matter.

Photo Credit: PhotoXpress


  1. Often when people are trying to hold off on a title they do so in an attempt to hedge the responsibility of the title while getting the benefits. Yeah I know we're all into the new thing, while looking down on old fashioned, but the truth is that responsibility is an old fashioned pre-occupation and benefits with no thought of responsibility is the new thing.

    I saw some headline this morning about same-sex and heterosexual civil unions getting more/all of the benefits of married couples. I think they should because as a Christian, I accept that marriage is in fact a religious institution. I don't care who gives whom the right to see them or make decisions for them while in the hospital or claims whomever on their insurance and taxes. They paid for it, so have at it.

    The interesting thing...there are in fact a ton of civil union heterosexual couples. Some may be atheist. Still could there be some random couple out there, stuck in a CU for years, supposedly because one just can't do the "M" thing. More than likely yes. Could that same person with all these inhibitions leave that relationship and be married in 2 weeks time, because they've suddenly found the right one. Sadly...probably.

    Girlfriend/Boyfriend, CU or married these things all mean something and they should. The only difference in CU and M is the absence of God. There are others however who do see the CU as a lesser commitment, explicitly because of the absence of God and they are actual believers. Translation I don't have to act completely right because I'm not asking God to be present or something just as trifling.

    The concern of any chic or cat with such predilections is guilt. Doesn't even mean there is another person. What it does mean is that whatever level of commitment that title represents in their mind, they can't give it. Being honesty of a sort, I guess it has to be appreciated.

    You did the right thing if you knew you couldn't live with what he was offering. Felt crappy I bet, but that's the system working the way its supposed to.

  2. Thanks, @Aurelius. I appreciate your honesty and I TOTALLY agree -- whatever level of commitment it may represent is just a reflection of what they can't give. So in a way, I have to appreciate the favor he's doing for me. That way I can find the one that has no doubt I'm the one.