Dealing with a long-term, undefined relationship?

Dealing with a long-term, undefined relationship?

misslady misslady
I've been sitting on this one for a while, and outside my circle of friends and acquaintances I'm interested in getting some opinions. I've been in an undefined relationship for some time now, and we can't seen to decide whether we are content labelling it as such...sometimes it seems like we need some sort of societal push to tell us what our relationship is and how it should function, other times we feel we're above that. But I'll let you tell me what you think.

Almost two years ago, we met completely by chance. He was six-months fresh from a highschool sweetheart/first love relationship that lasted 4 years. He had been unaware of them growing apart, and so was really shocked and hurt when it ended with her betrayal. By the time I met him, he had already had some time to rebound and re-evaluate himself, but was not ready for a serious relationship and wanted to experience the dating world he had missed out on.

I have always prided myself on being an independent woman. I'm a hopeless romantic, but during my teenage years found joy in singleness and being able to focus on myself. I was choosy with men, dumping them when I decided that we were ultimately incompatible and shouldn't tie up each other if we could be happy alone or with someone else. I had never found anyone who I felt I could really be with and never actively sought such a person, but had grand dreams of the day when I would.

We hit it off right away. We discovered that despite being very different people, we had the same attitudes and opinions, and shared a lot of core beliefs. We learned each other very deeply, very quickly, and pretty soon I became the absolute most important person in his life. I knew early on that I wouldn't be saying sayonara to him after a couple of months, and despite a few false alarms around the 3-4 month mark, I have never considered it.

Fast forward to today: We're closer than ever. We share a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment where I stay half the time (my family complicates my living situation), but when I'm there we sleep in the same bed. We've been having sex regularly since the one-month mark, and have been monogamous the whole time. I'm well known to his family, having been to his sister's wedding (it was a big deal, esp 8 months after meeting), and being there for thanksgiving, birthday dinners, etc.

The kicker is that we still don't refer to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend, even though it's fairly clear that the entire world sees us that way. He still feels a really strong desire to play the field (but doesn't attempt to because of me), whereas I'm wondering what it would be like to have a serious boyfriend (although I also don't attempt to actively find someone else, because of him). But I can also say that I don't think right now is the right time for the two of us to jump into a committed relationship because neither of us feel like he is ready...but he may also never be ready until he gets to 'play the field'.

My dilemma is that he and I both have some growing up to do. We both need to learn about what relationships are. He needs to experience other women, and I need to learn how to continue being myself in the context of a man. I think both of these things are healthy, necessary steps we both need to take...and regardless of whether we end up together or with someone else, we'll be better off for it. But I can't bear to see him with another girl, and he can't really stomach the thought of me with another guy. And even if we go off and do our own thing with other people, I can't bank on the fact that we'll one day come back to each other, or we'll both find someone better suited for ourselves.

It's a tough situation. Not labelling our relationship works so extremely well when we want to blur the conventional boundaries between friend and lover between ourselves, but sometimes we need to know what we are when it comes to boundaries with other people. I guess what I'm asking here is: what are we? Do we really need labels and boundaries? Have you ever been in a similar situation that did or didn't work out? Are we just f'ed up? Ahhh.

PS If you read all of that all the way down to there, you already have my deepest gratitude!
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Illusional Illusional
I say you guys don't need labels. You seem to work together perfectly without them.

If you guys both having growing up to do, just enjoy what you have and focus on you.
Airekah Airekah
"I've been in an undefined relationship for some time now, and we can't seen to decide whether we are content labelling it as such...sometimes it seems like we need some sort of societal push to tell us what our relationship is and how it should function, other times we feel we're above that."

This is really the most important thing I think I read. I feel like you said relationship, therefore, there is something there. You two clearly feel something for each other. Who is to say whether labels are appropriate? You don't need society to tell you who you are and what type of relationship you should be in. As long as you are both happy and are normal and functioning properly, I see nothing wrong with the way things are going with you and your guy friend. If you feel like you need something more or something defined or he feels like that... that is when I would sit back and talk to him about it, but until that time comes if you are enjoying what you have... keep doing it. Live it, love it, and embrace it.
Total posts: 3
Unique posters: 3