Rainy asked: “My boyfriend of 5 months is great and I love him, but he won’t call me his girlfriend when we hang out with his friends. I’ve called him my boyfriend when around my friends. I’ve kept quiet about it, until Christmas came along and he didn’t invite me to join him with his family for Christmas dinner (my family lives out of state). I spent Christmas with my best friend and her family. She ended up listening to me cry about it all and then told me I should dump him, but I wanted to talk to him about it first. So I did, on NYE when we went to his friend’s house to party. He told me he loves me but just doesn’t like labels. He said they make him uncomfortable and then changed the subject. He’s never objected to my calling him my boyfriend in front of others, so why can’t he call me his girlfriend? I’m so confused.”
Liz says: This reminds me of the time I dated a guy for a few months who loved PDA. He was always trying to hold my hands and kiss me in front of our friends, but I’d shrug him off me or back away, hoping he’d get the hint. He finally confronted me, and I simply told him I just wasn’t into public displays of affection. Then I started dating someone new after breaking up with PDA guy and the sexual chemistry and romantic connection was so palpable, PDA came very naturally between us. In other words, I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t like PDA, I just wasn’t that into my ex.
Similar to your situation, if your boyfriend really loves you he’d be calling you his girlfriend. Love makes us want to shout from the mountain tops, write love songs, and “label” the relationship as soon as possible. It’s human nature to lay claim to our lovers. It’s one reason why things like marriage and engagement rings exist. I suspect the reason he’s uncomfortable with giving your relationship a title is because he’s enjoying some aspect of your relationship enough to not break up, but he’s actually keeping his options open, and doesn’t want people to hear he has a “girlfriend”, lest the ladies back off and think he’s unavailable. I’m afraid that’s also the reason he didn’t bring you home for Christmas; most people only bring the serious relationships around on holidays, unless they find their family so embarrassing that even the serious ones don’t meet them until the engagement party.
You deserve someone who wouldn’t think twice about labeling your relationship and owning how he feels about you. You’ll be one step closer to finding that someone if you don’t settle for this one.