Ask a Man: How Important Is the Girlfriend Label?

white couple sitting together

 “He talks to me for hours into the night and he wants me to lay in his bed — but he just won’t call me his girlfriend. What’s up with that? Like, how important is the ‘girlfriend’ title to men these days? Or do they just want to have their cake and eat it too without the work?” 

How important is the girlfriend label?

This is an excellent question. It should be stated that, when a relationship gets to a certain “point”, there needs to be a clearly defined set of duties and responsibilities – along with a designation of the union. That “point” is up to the couple, though traditionally this occurs when we reach the “Fiance” or “Husband/Wife” level. These are fundamental terms that we’ve all grown up with. However, I’m not completely convinced that the “girlfriend” label is “important”. What exactly is a “girlfriend”? Is it someone who he:

  • hangs out with?

  • has sex with?

  • does cool and fun stuff with?

  • shares secrets with?

  • builds trust with?

  • shares food with?

  • watches movies with?

  • sees himself with long-term?

Broadly speaking, these are some common activities and behaviors that are generally associated with romantic relationships. However, you don’t need to be his GF to hang out, have sex, do cool or fun stuff, share secrets, build trust, share food, or watch movies.

My point is not to belittle or downplay the title itself, but only to highlight that certain behavior needs to accompany the use of this title. A Man can call you his GF, and do all of the things mentioned in the bullets above. But if he doesn’t see himself with you long-term, then using the title is completely meaningless, and potentially a performance. Conversely, if he can see himself with you long-term, watch movies with you, share secrets, build trust, hang out, do fun stuff, without pressuring you for sex, and simultaneously embody sexual attraction, would you push him away because he hasn’t yet called you his “girlfriend”? Being known as the GF has no value, if the Man displays no substantive behavior towards a young lady that sets her apart from her peers – in her mind and theirs. The label is supposed to create a sense of exclusivity between two people, particularly concerning shared emotions and physical bodies, as well as provide closure and security that this is a “binding agreement”.

 Still, the term itself cannot guarantee the fulfillment of these parameters. The focus should be on spending time together – getting to know each other. Things come as they need to come; roles and titles will be defined organically, if the interactions are truly authentic and valuable to both parties. If a Man spends enough time with you, and he feels like he needs to use that title, he won’t hesitate. You may end up asking him where he stands on this before he brings it up, and you are well within your right to do that. However, be realistic, and have a logical and fair timeframe regarding how soon into the relationship these conversations should occur. Deep down, I know you’d prefer that I call you my GF, just like I’d prefer if you’d call me your BF.

Remember that talk is cheap, and you as a Woman have high value. Your duty is to pay attention to his actions and make sure they align with his words. Because we all know which speaks louder….

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