I used to throw that word around without thinking too much about it. Boyfriend. 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 girlfriend” to describe me. I don’t know what they’d say, but not “my girlfriend”.
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.
Tags: boyfriend, girlfriend