The Dreaded Question: “So What Are We?”

I had a long conversation with a younger friend recently about this topic. She has been involved with a guy who is my age mate for six months now and she feels like she has no direction where they are headed. So, she asks me, “Amyn, what do you think, are we boyfriend and girlfriend?” And I said. “Ermmm, why can’t you just ask him”. “Won’t it be somehow?” She replied. Sigh. I really don’t know how y’all do this but I answered her with my new favourite quote, “Honey, if you can put his dick in your mouth, you can ask him any question you want“.

Are we supposed to be dating? Or are we more like good friends? Special buddies? No, not special buddies, that just sounds awkward. Hmm, maybe this is just about hooking up mostly. So like, are we one of those whatever with benefits type deals?

If you have to ask yourself those types of question, you’re probably treading in dangerous waters. When it comes to relationships or dating arrangements, I feel, details should typically be pretty clear-cut if those involved have unswerving sentiments. These things can’t end well with hesitance or indecision. And I know, some people say that they are just fine with strictly physical connections, but far too often those result in the development of feelings and one or both sides getting a knife to the heart.

Does anything break more young hearts in this day and age than the unclear, we-like-each-other-but-not-enough-to-put-it-on-Facebook, vague connections? (Not that you have to put it on Facebook, but you get my point.) So many people are involved in them and they’re typically unhappy and/or unsatisfied. Because the having sex, or hanging out together part only lasts for so long, then there’s all the time in between to think about wanting more from them.

It’s similar to when you’re spaced out driving and the green light abruptly turns yellow, but you’re too close to make a sudden stop and too far away to coast through the light easily, and then LASTMA fucking jumps out to catch you. It’s uncomfortable as hell but the one thing a driver can’t do in such a scenario is continue moving at the same pace. A decision must be made — and a firm one, at that. When dating it’s the same scenario. A choice is necessary; either slam on the brakes and come to a screeching halt or put the pedal to the metal and power through quickly. Sadly it’s far more common to move forward indecisively and get smacked by love in the junction, with the force of a Dangote truck.

So why don’t people stop when they know they’re in between dating? Well if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s not because we don’t know what to do. In fact, we know damn well what we should do. The truth is you still want their attention, don’t want them to end up elsewhere, straight up hate being alone, or something of that nature. We’re weak, we’re in need, we’re in the moment — but most of all, we’re human.

Yes, it’d be awesome if we had knobs installed on our bodies that allowed us to adjust our emotions with a simple twist, but that type of technology doesn’t exist. It’s easy for and expected of friends to tell you that you should quit in between-ing. That you should sever ties and wait for someone who will fully value and commit to you. The thing is, they’re probably hypocrites. Not in a bad way, they mean well and are giving you the right advice, but nobody actually follows their own instructions — especially not when they’re so challenging to abide by. It requires a great deal of willpower to take the scissors, cut the cord and avoid ever having a relapse during a moment of weakness.

The other option is going full force and using sheer power to get to a point where you’re comfortable. This is hazardous too. The risk is there because some folks exaggerate and, to add to the “coolness” of their image, will take your genuine, heartfelt action and twist it into a crazy, psycho type story. I don’t know if there’s currently a word more overused by 20-somethings than “stalk.” I hear things like, “Ew, she/he remembered my favourite wine and then surprised me by buying me a bottle and writing a nice note to go along with it. What a stalker.” When did doing nice things and making an effort turn into stalking? Now nobody wants to put themselves out there. Nobody wants to try, at least not too hard, because they might get thrown under the bus and be cast in a super creepy light.

And so, because there’s probably going to be some struggle regardless of what is done, people choose to do nothing at all. It seems easier to just let things run their course naturally, and not stop or speed up the process any. This is why we see so many people uncertain about what they’re involved in. Some are mostly in it for hookups; others spend a substantial amount of time together but never take it to the next level. And then there are those who literally perform the actions of a relationship: dinner, movies, hugs, kisses, sweet nothings, sex — but no label or commitment. The openness of tag-less, promise-less connection is a killer.

And when that happens, feelings get hurt, emotions are realized and bridges burn to the ground. So if you care about a person but are unsure whether they’re your good friend, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, casual sex partner, cuddle buddy, unlicensed therapist or movie watching companion, consider yourself at risk. Whether you completely stop or go full force, you’re guaranteed to force some sort of change. But doing nothing and allowing a big, gray area to exist puts your feelings in jeopardy. If you don’t do something proactive to close or enforce the space, someone might come along and take that option away from you — which is far more excruciating.

But that’s just my opinion, what do you think? Would you rather let whatever it is run its course or do you prefer to know what you’re going into? Also, in my experience of listening to friends, it seems that men really don’t like the “What are we?” question. Any particular reason why?

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Comments
  • FM

    My response to this kind of question had always been ‘What do you think’?

    November 4, 2016
  • FM

    My response to this kind of question has always been ‘What do you think’?

    November 4, 2016
  • FM

    Great write-up by the way. I would rather we know what we want from our relationship from the outset than going with the flow because it would get to a point where it may not favor one party.

    November 4, 2016
    • Exactly. It’s always good to be on the same page. At all times!

      November 4, 2016
  • Aggie

    Presently in this situation, but I still don’t think I will ask. A friend just told me to go with the flow but after reading this, I am going to remove myself from this situation, I feel if I ever meant anything to him, he might be bothered enough to want to find out why I did and maybe just maybe he will be able to put a label on us

    November 4, 2016
    • Morris

      @aggie I hope you are planning to ask before you remove yourself? He could be thinking the same – that you are not bothered to ask

      November 4, 2016
      • Sapphire

        He’s the dude yeah? Aren’t dudes supposed to take the lead in these matters?

        November 4, 2016
  • Morris

    Define the relationship!!! – this was a subtopic last sunday school, lol. The woman couldn’t say it enough. Whatever it is, it s never safe to assume, ESPECIALLY when you are no longer a shild (It is scary, but if you are too scared, then, its probably not going anywhere). It is even worse if you are wondering, i.e. you can’t even guess, so many options of things you could be.

    What is the gain with waiting to see sef?

    November 4, 2016
  • bkd

    Why is the onus always on the guy to define the relationship? You”d be putting the guy on the spot and I think that’s unfair. You’re setting yourself to be lied to. How do you just assume the guy knows when the girl doesn’t know either? 
    I think the relationship was already defined from the moment both parties started doing whatever it is they doing, be it kissing, cuddling, sex or even hanging out. If either party wishes to change the status quo, it’s up to the party to make a proposition and let the other party accept or reject the idea, or even offer another. Afterall, when the gurl decides to break up, she doesn’t ask him first. She just says it and the guy either concurs or not.
    What I’m saying is this: if the girl suddenly desires an exclusive relationship, she should suggest it and talk it out with the guy. It’s wrong to place the burden of definition on the guy.‎
    And yes, we don’t like that question. That’s putting undue pressure on us because most times, the gurl wouldn’t like the answer if we’re honest so we’re forced to lie and maybe we don’t like lying about such.

    November 4, 2016
    • Morris

      Lol. Do you think anyone cares to define a relationship if they are not looking/wanting to go exclusive. Exclusive is the only right answer (that’s what i think), so whether it is the guy or the girl asking, whoever is asking is already wanting exclusivity.

      November 4, 2016
    • Lol, i get. It always seems unfair to put it on the guy. But i once told a friend to tell the guy what she wanted from the relationship. She defined her position and said, if that’s what he wanted, then awesome. But if not, she wasn’t interested in being a benchwarmer for The One.

      November 4, 2016
      • Bkd

        Thank you very much for your intelligent response. I’m glad you got my point. Could you do me a favor and explain my message to Morris? ‘Cos he certainly didn’t get it.

        November 8, 2016
  • Buchi

    To be honest, I feel if you have to ask, you already know the answer and are looking for something other than the current status quo. When that question is asked of a guy, The guy gets placed in the unenviable position of having to either confirm a situation that is unflattering when spoken aloud, or, under pressure, request for an elevated relationship status that he may or may not be ready for.
    So, instead of that question, why not ask for whatever you desire at that point? How about, “I don’t know where exactly we are, but I’d like to be in an exclusive relationship with you.” Or, “Our current situation isn’t working for me and I don’t think I can continue.”

    Asking the question pretends one does not know where both parties stand. I’d like to believe one isn’t a simpleton.

    November 4, 2016
    • woyi_0c

      “To be honest, I feel if you have to ask, you already know the answer and are looking for something other than the current status quo.”

      I want to agree with this, 100%…but…I know of situations where the person was asking because he/she was worried the other was thinking the sex meant they were dating and didn’t want unnecessary drama.

      November 5, 2016
    • Bkd

      God bless you Buchi

      November 8, 2016
  • Mr. 14

    While reading this Rihanna’s lyrics came to mind –

    “So confused wanna ask you if you love me
    But I don’t wanna seem so weak..”

    This is so true – “but nobody actually follows their own instructions — especially not when they’re so challenging to abide by. It requires a great deal of willpower to take the scissors, cut the cord and avoid ever having a relapse during a moment of weakness.”

    and this – “When did doing nice things and making an effort turn into stalking?” I could write a short story about my experience.

    Being the guy who likes to plan everything, i always define whatever we are right from the start and even before the first kiss. Reason? I don’t want to have it on my conscience that one day someone would accuse me of leading them on…

    Lovely post

    November 4, 2016
    • Osasu Elaiho

      All I can say is #gbam!! Especially at the paragraph of not wanting to be accused of leading anyone on.

      November 5, 2016
  • Shy

    Some people actually know what they are right from the first intimacy but are cool with the flow and dont want to risk it ending.
    I’ve been in a situation where i had to ask him the “what are we” question but after much thought, i ended up saying “i know we are more than friends (cos we have started kissing) but i dont think i want us to continue anymore”. Thing is he already had a girlfriend but he told me he was ” spellbound ” to me. I couldn’t continue and i had to define it myself.
    Waiting for a guy to name the relationship might mean you will end up waiting for a long time. Its better if your friend will have a real and deep conversation with him so she’ll know where she stands.
    I always enjoy reading your posts. ????

    November 4, 2016
  • Mesozoic

    This article just made me remember a story my friend narrated back in school. Babe he has been getting some from decided to ask, “what are we?” My friend said he jokingly replied, “we are nothing but pencils in the eyes of the creator”.

    November 5, 2016
    • woyi_0c

      YOUR FRIEND IS A GENIUS…!!! I need to remember that for future reference. Okay, I’m curious….what happened after that? I need to know before I use it.

      November 5, 2016
  • Andronicus

    “We are nothing but pencils in the hand of God”
    “We are just ordinary people, we don’t know which place to go…”

    November 5, 2016
  • Jude

    Nice write up lady. To be candid 80% of my relationship has been undefined and I kind of liked it because it come with some sorth of freeddom, but then those one I really want to put a name to , has been taken already

    November 6, 2016
  • Mesozoic

    Lool…babe was a fresher. I guess they were still calm after that.

    November 6, 2016
  • Honey, if you put his dick in your mouth, you can ask him any question you want! Gbam classic

    November 9, 2016
  • Its best to talk it out. Nobody likes to feel they are not good enough or special enough to be exclusive with. On the other hand, some people just want to live in the moment and enjoy it (already armed with the information that it is just for a season) Heartbreak hurts, i would rather have the conversation regardless of how awkward it may seem than wallow in assumptions and get keeled over by rejection later.

    November 9, 2016
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