Today I was asked, “What does it mean to be your girlfriend?”. It’s something I’ve never had to put into words, or even thought to. So I’ve been pondering that question and here is what I’ve come up with:
For me, answering this question requires two parts; a definition and expectation. Definition alone does not serve to set an expectation, which, now, I think is part of the problem with our current dating scene. We are quick to add titles, but we don’t know what those titles mean to ourselves, or our partners. But I digress.
What is a girlfriend?
I define a girlfriend/ significant other as
“Someone that is continuously a part of my life in both a friendly and romantic manner. Additionally, it is mutually understood by me and that person(s) that they are continuously desired as a part of my life, as well as I in theirs until explicitly stated otherwise.”
A definition is a solid starting point, but as I stated earlier, it doesn’t do much for outlining what I expect. It alludes to my expectations, but the definition alone could be interpreted differently by different people depending mostly on their past experiences. So in an effort to be as transparent as possible, here are my expectations of a girlfriend.
Definition + Expectation
The first part of my definition says “continuously a part of my life in both a friendly and romantic manner.” I believe that if someone is involved with another, continuously, in both a friendly AND romantic manner it can be said that that person has both an interest and attraction to the other. So those are my first two expectations of a girlfriend.
I can’t rightly imagine a scenario wherein people continuously associate not having interest and/or attraction to one another, other than for personal gain. And that…is self-explanatory. However, interest can be piqued and resolved without ongoing interaction. For example, I am interested in Quinta B (pictured on the right), and I follow her on social media. In following her on social media, my interest is satisfied. She and I have never personally, interacted. Therefore she does not know I exist. Doesn’t make much of a girlfriend with interest alone huh? Likewise, attraction is wavering. Attraction can vanish with something as slight as a change in appearance. Therefore, I believe that both are needed to merit continuous involvement.
Moving forward, I expect a significant other to have care, consideration, and a vested interest in me. Continual interest breeds care or interest in someone over time is care. When someone is interested in another, they generally like to know what comes of their everyday lives. However, care is very basic. We “care” about the outcome of a sporting match, but that outcome is not going to be a significant part of our lives. That is why I expect a significant other not only to care about my day to day life but to also contribute to it. Contributing to another’s life is investing in that person. Whether it be time, money, sex, thoughts, ideas, etc, it is a person taking of themselves, giving it to another, and expecting an outcome; i.e. investing. Partners that are mutually involved/invested in the other’s life have a vested interest in their future. Attempting to yield the best outcome of that vested interest for all parties involved is consideration. I expect a significant other to consider themselves first, and me second when making choices that involve all with vested interest [given that the relationship is binary. If that is not the case then I believe all other partners should be considered second as a whole].
Lastly, I expect a significant other to communicate regularly, which I intentionally meant in a vague manner as “regular” means different things in different situations. I believe communication is a sub-point of care. Using the sporting match example again, a person that cares about the outcome of said sporting match must have that outcome communicated to them in some form or fashion. They have to seek that outcome for it to be communicated. I expect likewise of a significant other. I believe that when someone cares for another they seek to communicate that they care, and expect reciprocation.
One point of clarification; when I say communication, I do not mean it in the strict sense of written and/or verbal. Communication can and does include non-verbal physical acts. Sex and affection are forms of communication, and I expect them of a girlfriend thusly. I only mention it because my ex-wife was under the impression that we would have a sexless marriage. Which is a large reason she is my ex-wife? I believe affection and sex serve to reiterate emotions explicitly stated. I believe they are essential parts of communication, thereby making them essential expectations.
Put it All Together
So to sum up what it means to be my girlfriend, I’ll say that it means that we are continuously a part of one another’s life in both a friendly and romantic manner. In addition, we are interested, attracted, careful, considerate, vested, and seeking to communicate with one another, both verbally and non-verbally. Lastly, it means that we are multi-amorous and we seek fulfillment in ourselves, in each other, and in other people as we see fit. I’m glad that that person asked me that question because I feel like it was something that we all need to ask ourselves and partners before involving ourselves too deeply. Answering this question helped me outline what I am looking for in a partner, which also helps me search. How much of this do you believe to be true for you and your relationship? What does it mean to be your boyfriend?
I’d be remiss if I did not mention multi-amory or non-monogamy as a specification of a romantic relationship with me. As “my girlfriend”, a woman would be apart of this particular alternative love style. What this means is that my girlfriend would have to be okay with and have an understanding that I, along with hundreds of thousands of other Americans, believe that it is okay to love and have a meaningful relationship with more than one person. I mention this in P.S., however, it is probably the most important part of being “my girlfriend”. It is literally a “make or break” point for me. There is no question about it. It is important and specific to me, however, it in not representative of the majority of my readers; which it is why it is here, in postscript. I could go on into a deep explanation here, but I will not. If there is expressed interest, however, I will personally carry on in detail at length.
Yep, one last picture of Quinta B cuz I like her like that.
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