“I’ve been seeing this guy for almost 6 months now. Everything is pretty much perfect- we love spending time together, he really cares about me, we spend almost every night together, and we’re pretty much a ‘couple’ in the conventional sense. The only problem is he won’t call me his girlfriend. I’ve tried bringing it up and when I do he almost makes me feel guilty about it and says things like ‘what we have is so special, why do we have to label it?’ I know he had a painful breakup with his girlfriend before me which I think might be a part of this, so I’m trying to be understanding but I don’t think one thing should have anything to do with the other. Sometimes I’m okay with how things are, but other times I get really angry, especially when my friends get on my case about it. Our relationship is starting to suffer now because even though I say I’m fine with how things are, deep down this is really bothering me and I feel really hurt by the fact that even though I am his ‘girlfriend,’ he won’t acknowledge me in that way. Can you please shed some light on what’s going on here?”
Read our guy’s response after the jump.
If a guy won’t call you his girlfriend after a month (two months tops), then I would say it means that he’s enjoying the relationship exactly where it is and at this moment will not take it any further unless he is inspired to.
I guess the simple answer as to why he won’t call you his girlfriend is because he doesn’t have to. To a guy, calling a woman his girlfriend is typically a huge pain in the ass and if the woman is making herself so available and so committed when he hasn’t committed to anything, why would he call her his girlfriend? If a store was giving you free stuff, would you say ‘no please, let me pay you for it’? I’m going to guess, no…
Now, with that said, that does not necessarily mean that there’s no chance of you becoming his girlfriend. There are some things you can do (mostly by just shifting your perspective) that can help tremendously.
For starters, I have seen a lot of women get caught up on this issue and as a result, they bring it up more and more, smothering every ounce of joy from the relationship. At that point the relationship stops being fun and full of happiness and starts becoming more like a battle of wills. And from a guy’s perspective, when a relationship gets like this, it becomes much less likely for a guy to want to stay. Why would the guy want to deepen a relationship when it doesn’t feel good and seems to only be getting worse?
My recommendation is to avoid badgering him about the topic. Bringing it up once is enough, trust me.
So what makes a guy want to call you his girlfriend? Well, the most important advice I can give is to have a high sense of self worth- know what you want and know that you CAN get what you want and never have to settle for anything less. Now this isn’t something that you need to say, it should just come across in how you act.
I would say focus on being fun and lighthearted and enjoying the relationship for exactly what it is. But beyond that, I would especially recommend that you keep your options open and you continue keeping up with all your other social activities that do not involve him: seeing your friends, attending any functions you like to go to, etc. It is important that you keep your time and company only as available as he is willing to be - match your level of commitment to his so that you are not left hanging.
Now, some things to think about…
If you like the relationship for exactly what and where it is, then stay. If you are not satisfied with it, exactly as it is, then you should keep looking.
There are a multitude of reasons why he may not call you his girlfriend. Maybe he just got out of a relationship (like in this case) and does not want another commitment that ends in pain. Maybe he likes you, but he doesn’t want to feel “tied down” by a relationship. Maybe he likes you a lot, but he knows that he’s not in a position where he can fully commit to you because he has a lot on his plate to deal with and will continue to for the foreseeable future.
Regardless of the reason, it’s nobody’s job to play psychiatrist or detective. The relationship at the moment is either working for you or it’s not.
I think there are a few traps in this sort of situation. One is staying in a relationship you are not happy in and haven’t been happy in for a while, but you’re staying in it because of the “potential of what it could be.”
Frankly, if you don’t like it the way it is, it probably will not change unless he is motivated to change it. If it has not been working for you for a while, then your best bet is probably to lay your cards out on the table: “This is the change I need or I need to leave.” You will either get it or your relationship will end – either way, you’re off the fence instead of settling for an unhappy situation.
Another trap is being in a relationship that you ARE totally happy in, then letting your friend’s “advice” get into your head.
I’ve seen it before. One woman who is pretty much happy in her relationship goes out with her girlfriends. Her relationship isn’t a picture-perfect, fairytale relationship, but there’s no such thing as perfect and overall it is a very good, fulfilling relationship for her.
So this girl’s out with her friends, brings up her relationship and then all of a sudden it’s like a Jerry Springer audience teamed up with the cast of the View to give their advice. Moreover, usually the women giving “advice” are single and haven’t had a successful relationship to date. As a result, their “advice” is more about the women projecting their own frustrations outward onto that girl’s relationship. Still they are her friends and she trusts their opinion.
And hey, it’s not just women who do this! I’ve seen guys in a relationship go out with their single guy friends – after a beer or two, his buddies are ragging on him for being in a relationship and venting their frustrations. Same thing.
It reminds me of my overweight PhysEd teacher in middle-school. I’m not going to take fitness advice from someone who is terrible shape and I would encourage you not to ever listen to dating advice from someone who has never had a good relationship (unless you are looking for a recipe on how NOT to act).
All in all, relationships take work. I am not advocating abandoning a relationship because it’s not perfect – nothing ever is. But at the same time, it is a sobering reality to see a relationship for exactly what it is and not what it could be. Only you know if the relationship is working for you or not.
Hope it helps,