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Old 05-13-2013, 02:02 PM
juniper juniper is offline
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Join Date: May 2013
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Default Is she playing games?

We opened up our relationship 4 months ago. I am now with a woman who is a dear friend and I love her very much and my male primary partner is good with my relationship to her. In the beginning she talked about having a secondary then it turned into wanting a girlfriend. Pretty soon after we started dating she talked about how we are friends with benefits. I am having a really hard time with her not wanting to label what we are because I don't understand my role and expectations and it is hard to convey to my primary partner what we are doing. Since I am new to all of this, I was under the assumption that when you are with another person, you are very open and honest about what it is that you are to each other or what you need when you enter a non traditional relationship. When I talk to her about it, it just becomes this confusing vague conversation. She talks often about how "women like me" are always wanting to label relationships. I am straight up about asking these questions and am just not getting any answers. Is she playing around with me or does she just honestly not care about what we are?
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:10 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 822

There are some people who just don't like to put labels on relationships because the label itself seems to prescribe what the relationship can be rather than letting it grow organically. I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years. Most of the time we don't put a label on it. We've called each other best friends and secret keepers (confidants), lovers, and terms of endearment, but it wasn't until my husband and his ex started calling him my boyfriend that we actually started using that word. Last summer, he started forming an online D/s relationship with a woman and was upfront with her that he had a wife and a girlfriend. . .it was the first time he'd ever called me his girlfriend to another person. To be honest, we don't need the labels. We love each other and that's what matters and we don't even have to say the words to know it's true.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:49 PM
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pollyanna pollyanna is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 41

there is also the view that (especially in light of the 'women like you' comment) that maybe she doesn't feel quite so open and upfront about what she is doing. anything out of the conventional sexual 'norm' is tainted with a certain stigma. Maybe she can't let herself call you her 'girlfriend'.

I also don't think we can ever assume that everyone feels the same need for honesty that we do.

There is also the thought in my head that maybe she purposely keeps you a bit distant so she can engage in other relationships.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:07 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,276

I do not appreciate the "women like you" comment. Smells avoidy, hemming, hawing to me. Be just as easy to say "I have no expectations of you, and I don't want you to expect anything of me." Or "I don't know what I want yet. I'm still figuring it out." To make it sound like you asking for clarification is disdainful is weird to me.

Easiest way to skip over that red herring than allow the conversation to derail over to "why labels stink," is to simply reply "Yes, I see you do not like labels. But I like to know what's going on. So are you willing to tell me what you expect of me at this time?" and keep the focus on what it is you NEED to know from her. The job description.

Screw the job title then, but give the job description before I apply here so I can KNOW what I'm getting into. Thanks.

Usually labels could be "shorthand" to expectation of behavior and accountability. Not just for the people IN the relationship, but for people outside that relationship.

You pretty much state your need as such.
I don't understand my role and expectations and it is hard to convey to my primary partner what we are doing.
If a child at school is standing with a woman in the school office and the kid calls her "Mom" rather than "Mrs Smith" -- we expect that adult to behave a certain way to the child. We perceive the situation as -- maybe it's the mom picking up the kid at school. It is a mother relationship role here. That one word "label" sums up a whole job description and accountability to the child. We may not know the family's culture and details, but "Mom" puts it in the ball park at least.

If the child calls the person "Mrs Smith" we perceive it another way -- maybe it's the teacher taking the kid to the principal. It's another job description and level of accountability/responsibility to the child. We expect the teacher to keep the kid safe while in her care during school hours. We do not expect the teacher to buy the kid clothes, food, toys, bathe the child, etc.

When it was at the FWB place, we knew what we had. But we went with "dating GF/BF, but NOT going steady" for outsiders even though it's old fashioned vocab. Because even a grandma could get a handle on that.

I didn't even want to get into explaining our private FWB arrangements to other people. But we did want to enjoy the privilege of the label's shorthand when interacting with the rest of the world -- and that meant other friends and family.

So if your new dating partner doesn't like the "label thing," could she at least be willing to give you the job description she expects to hold you accountable to and are you expected to fulfill? So you can treat her how she wants to be treated? (Maybe her expectations are just over the top nutter and it changes your mind about wanting her for a dating partner.)

And how about YOU just tell her what YOU expect from her as a dating partner so you can be treated how you want to be treated? And ask if she's willing to deliver that or not? (Maybe it changes your mind about wanting her for a dating partner if she's not willing to deliver. )

I don't understand my role and expectations and it is hard to convey to my primary partner what we are doing.
Because all that is reasonable to request. It is reasonable to ask for clarification if you are confused or do not understand. Figuring this stuff out is part of what the dating time is for.

After that if you are "goal oriented" in the relationship or just "experience oriented" in the relationship it doesn't matter.

Because you already know how to platinum rule each other along the journey.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-14-2013 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:31 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 2,172

Communicating what you want or need is not labeling. Understanding how your particular relationship works and get an handle on expectations, if any, is just regular, expected relationship stuff. None of that requires a label. If you don't have a handle on this relationship, you should ask questions, have conversations and talk things out.

Also, while I personally struggle with this, ambiguity or uncertainty in a relationship is not automatically a sign that something is awry. Sometimes relationships take time to become clearer. Sitting with that reality is uncomfortable and I hate it deeply. But necessary at times.

There seem to me to be two 'types' of people who say they don't use or want labels in relationships. The first are people who really want to see where and how relationship develop. Organically see what happens - someone posted earlier. These folks are basically honest with a healthy ability to tolerate uncertainty. I admire them even as I find labels useful.

The other type are people who don't want any limitations or expectations or responsibilities. Instead of stating that upfront, they use the 'no labels' trope to avoid real discussions, evade any talking about expectations and generally do what they want. It's been my experience that these folks cause drama and leave chaos in their wake. There is nothing wrong with not using or liking labels but sometimes people abuse the principle.

You are the only one who can determine where in this scale - if at all - your partner falls.
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