Maybe in the way he looks at you across the table. Or the fact that you’re going to dinner together more nights than you’re not. Perhaps it is the change of perspective, a faster pace parading about town, or how he grabs your hand or touches your face when you kiss. It could be the questions that are asked and the answers that match.
The point is different for every dating couple, but the turn is all the same for the women who gleam across the bed, the coffee shop, or the dance floor at this man who could be something quite extraordinary and wonder: what the hell are we?
When seeing someone regularly, without an official anything to claim, there is always a moment when things start to feel different. When a touch that meant nothing starts to mean something. When shared interests become the possibility for future engagements. When tensions rise as much as they fall. When intensity grows at the same rate as the simple art of being comfortable. When even against your better judgement and the unspoken rules of the dating game, you feel this undeniable urge to bring up a topic of interest that may not be so interesting to the dude who is unofficially yours.
You want to have The Talk. (As much pain, trouble, sleepless nights, and wasted money on alcohol this conversation has caused me over the years, I decide it deserves capitalization. Thank you.)
In every relationship I’ve had, minus Mr. Idea who asked me to be his merely a week in, I’ve reached the end of my calm, cool, and collected rope, decided I was exhausted of being out on a limb, and wanted to grow some roots. Every man brought me to this crossroads at different times, from three months to nine months in, but inevitably, I’d find myself sitting across from him at a diner or laying literally and emotionally naked in bed, asking him if we were together. If what we were doing wasn’t just something to pass the time or to fill innate desires to mate outside of happily-I-do’s. If we were writing the same pages on the same chapters, experiencing the same gradual plunge that effortlessly comes with a healthy love. If his heart, along with my legs, were only open to one another – even if the cap on the pool of other possibilities hadn’t been tightened.
I needed to have commitment. A straight-forward, simply stated, and public announcement orchestrated by the people of Zuckerberg that I wasn’t just a girl on the side. Or a lady to wine and dine. Or gal to shag. I was indeed, the man of the hour’s woman. I needed to know I was his girlfriend – end of story.
Somehow by sealing the fruit of his loins by luring him into couple land, I felt a sense of relief. Even if I wasn’t exactly sure this was what I wanted or he was the one I wanted it with – if I could at least rest easy that he was with me and only me, then I knew the rest would fall into place. With this title, with this monogamous matter, with this guy who turned into mine, I wavered my singleness and secured my insecurities.
But lately, as I think about laying brick below a house that’s already started construction, I’ve reconsidered my commitment to The Talk. Because really, before a talk is to be had or a walk is to be walked – I think it’s important to walk the talk.
So many women – myself included at one point – hate dating. The whole process can be infuriating, frustrating, demeaning, and if you’re lucky, sometimes down-right hilarious. But dating not only promotes sass and confidence, but it also encourages vulnerability. To sleep with someone without a promise of a call the next day, to continuously spend continuous days with one person and dodging questions of togetherness, to invest time, energy, spirit, and life into a someone who may never give you the return you want – is scary. It requires faith in a person who, more often than not, is a new player in your life. It makes you take a step back while motivating yourself to always be taking a step forward. It gives you the opportunity to accept what could be more than you beg to define what is.
And sometimes, what you end up finding is the commitment you wanted, the exclusivity that was signed upon a dotted line or confirmed on Facebook -kinda just happened on its own. Not by having a talk that laid out the ten commandments of this new relationship or by strolling through Central Park – but by walking the talk. If love is what you desire, instead of talking about it, why not just see if it happens? If it unfolds without a discussion or without placing pressure where added weight could tumble developments from developing.
Now – there are men who don’t want to be in a relationship unless forced and those who don’t know what they have until it high-tails it far, far away from them. Those types of dudes may not be keen to the non-verbal, non-relationship that subtly turns into verbally loveable over time, but instead of using a title as a way to define what something, focus on the man. Listen to his words instead of creating your own meaning out of what he says. Enjoy the countless hours and the company you can’t seem to tire yourself of. Stop wondering where you are, how you got there, or where you’re going, and grip tighter when he grabs your hand. Stand your ground but don’t stand before you’re ready to stand solely next to him – as a friend, as a lover, as everything. Get to know him and fall in like before declaring love in the bounds of you-and-me and only you-and-me.
Because while commitment seems to secure our place in a man’s life, while shouting from the rooftops makes us feel incredibly special, while introducing him as our boyfriend, puts us at ease – a title isn’t foul proof. People cheat. Feelings change. What brought us together can tear us apart. Baggage can outweigh the worth-it scale. Lovers can turn into strangers and strangers into friends. Being a girlfriend means something, being part of a pair pays tribute to the serious level, and being contracted to another person is notably important. But it isn’t everything.
What’s more important than talking The Talk or walking the walk of love, is learning to walk the talk before you have it. Because sometimes, as you’re busy testing waters and enjoying yourself without heating up a discussion in the heat of the moment – you may find everything you ever wanted, strings attached-and-all, without saying a single word.