The Talking Stage

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

No, but I talk to somebody.

“Is that your boyfriend?”

No, but we talk.

I was probably in high school when I first heard of the “talking stage”- which I can best define as a period of time where you are consistently hanging out with a guy or girl that you’re interested in, but not officially together. Not a relationship, but a “situationship”; which is a word I personally discovered in a Fabolous song. You’re together, but not together. Meaning that’s your man, but that’s not your man, get it?

As a young girl, a lot of coming-of-age sitcoms and movies that I watched focused a lot on the concept of “dating”- hanging out with and getting to know different people, in order to find out what you really want out of a guy/ girl. In my opinion, dating is the closest equivalent that I can personally think of in regards to the talking stage, yet talking seems to put a little twist on dating. That twist being that you can’t- rather shouldn’t “talk” to multiple people at once. Especially in a society such as ours where hook-up culture dominates the minds of many millennials- specifically in places like college campuses.  This leaves many people stuck between a rock and a hard place because imagine being stuck in this stage with a person for a long period of time such as 6 months- a year. You hang out with this person consistently and don’t really hang out with anyone else, they make you feel exclusive and you feel that you’re basically in a relationship. Yet, you have an issue with something that the other person did, and all they reply is “you’re not my girl/ you’re not my man“. How exactly should one handle having girlfriend/boyfriend responsibilities and commitment, without being afforded the boyfriend/girlfriend title or exclusivity?

Are you single?

In my opinion, if you are stuck in a situationship, and are approached by someone and they ask if you’re single, you have every right to say yes. After all, if whoever you are dealing with never officially considered you their girlfriend or boyfriend and you never were afforded the opportunity to become that, then you are not spoken for in any way. Regardless of how often you guys see each other, hang out, and do whatever behind closed doors. Picture being stuck in a situationship for 1 year or two, where you don’t explore your options out of fear of losing the person you’re dealing with. You guys finally end up making things official and are a couple. Time goes by and you constantly wonder “what if?”, and feel like something is missing in your life. You feel like you missed out. It may seem to some that I’m trying to say that relationships are a form of imprisonment, but that’s not the case. I feel that they are a beautiful thing, but one needs to explore what else is out there, get to know themselves and others before settling down with just one.

In regards to my life, I personally feel that I am in the “dating stage”- attempting to get to know others- but most importantly myself. Regardless of how many dates I go on, how many conversations with the opposite sex that I hold- I still will not be ready to settle down until I know myself and what makes me happy first. I have witnessed people become heart broken and upset over the “talking stage”, yet I’ve also seen beautiful relationships form from it as well. The talking stage in a nutshell can be seen a grey area for relationships- it varies from person to person.

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