Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

I Said the Word, Redux

I used to throw that word around without thinking too much about it.  .  No big deal.  Just a guy I was dating. A guy I was sleeping with.

And then one day, a few years ago, it hit me.  There were men who I’d called my boyfriend who probably didn’t reciprocate.  In other words, there were men who I casually called my boyfriend (in passing coversation,”I’m meeting my boyfriend for dinner, ” for example) who didn’t ever use the phrase, “my ” to describe me. I don’t know what they’d say, but not “my ”.

And realizing that kind of hurt.  A lot.  It was like realizing that the only reason you got a job was because they had to hire a woman.  Or finding out that a parent had openly admitted that you weren’t the favorite child.  It just made me feel less than.

I don’t, in general, battle with self-esteem issues that are related to men.  I don’t look to them for validation. But bad relationships can really mess with my head and start to make me doubt myself. I think it has to do with my need to be right all of the time and not wanting to cut myself any slack. How dare I make a mistake?  How dare I misjudge a situation?

It’s important to me, now, to be on the same page with the guys I’m involved with.  I need for us to think that the relationship is in the same place.  This is hard, I realize, as I have kind of crappy communication skills when it comes to relationships.  But, I need us to be committed at the same level.  Not one person offering keys while the other is maintaining an online dating profile.

Which is why I had such a bad New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago when I was asked,”Are you ___’s girlfriend?”.  I honestly didn’t know how he would answer the question, even though I’d been calling him my boyfriend for about a month and sleeping with him for several months.

So anyway, I called Mr. Potential my boyfriend yesterday.  I can’t help but wonder if he’s telling any of his family and old friends about his new girlfriend back in New York.  I’d like to believe he is, but I know better than to put too much hope into it.


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3 to “I Said the Word, Redux”


  1. Teifion says:

    I recall that a while back you asked on Twitter what the most important thing in a relationship is. I don’t know if you recall what it was but if you’d asked for the second most important thing I’d have said it was trust. Even if married you’ll never be at your partner’s side all the time, they may have work and you’ll wonder what they do there. They may have a night out with their mates, even more cause for concern there?

    Communication will only go so far with situations like that because they can say that they did nothing but ultimately you must trust them or not trust them. I would say to try and trust that he does the right thing but I think it best that I go through it logically.

    You trust him, he is good: One word – “Win”

    You don’t trust him, he is good: You’ll be beating yourself up about it for at least a day and assuming you are like the ladies I knew at University, a week and you’ll probably keep thinking about it for a month later. I’m sure you can turn those guesses into something more accurate but the point is made I feel.

    You trust him and he’s bad: This is the situation you fear (I assume). Ultimately however you have nothing solid to lose. Yes you’ll be upset for a period of time and yes it will suck big time. However, (s)he who risks nothing, gains nothing. You will never get anything worthwhile in life without risk.

    You don’t trust him and he’s bad: Best case scenario you simply stay “friends”. Worst case scenario you come away bitter and disillusioned.

    I thus vote that you trust him, if all else fails you’ll probably be able to turn it into a funny story sometime.

  2. bobbyjensen says:

    Like my Mom use to say, “Everything in it’s own time.” I guess she knew I wasn’t that great of a communicator as I should have been. I’m still not, but trying harder than ever.

  3. Jennifer-from-NY says:

    I don’t know if this is just because of facebook but the way I’ve always seen it is the words boyfriend and girlfriend only happens after a discussion. That it means that you’re exclusive and it’s emotional and physical. And in today’s world that usually means changing fb status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship.’
    …and yeah, I’m going back through your old posts. hi.