Dear Person of Interest,
Please Don’t Call Me Your Girlfriend…
Lately, I’ve been paying close attention to my friends, particularly those under the age of twenty-six. I first notice the single ones. They seem hell-bent on jumping into a full on committed relationship (this is true for both guys and girls). They act as if that ever perfect “other” is going to solve all their life’s woes, as if that girl is going to be that mystical guide that will show them the way, or that guy will help them transcend their flaws—I will wait before addressing those misconceptions.
THEN, there are the ones in deeply committed relationships. They seem to me a bit stifled. There are parts of themselves they are not allowed to explore, because the person they call their girlfriend/boyfriend might take offense. Organic impulses are shot down to prevent arguments. They can’t hang out with their girl-friends because he will be alone for the night. He can’t grab drinks with the guys because she wouldn’t have anything to do. Desires are curbed to placate “the other.” They deny their very selves to make someone else happy—who turns out not be that happy because they’re doing the same thing. The girlfriend owns your time, the boyfriend owns your choices—why do we volunteer for that?
At this point, I would like to stop and present a disclaimer. I do believe in soul mates, and when that person comes it’s beautiful, and if found at an early age, then it should be held on to. However, when I say soul mates, I’m referring to that cosmic phenomenon that rattles the bones and shake up the spirit. It’s that incomprehensibly strong connection that escapes definition, not the person in the corner who happens to be really hot.
If you’re young, do you truly need a committed relationship? We haven’t even tied ourselves down to a career, why are we tying ourselves to a person?
Part of me believes that we are just following the pattern of our predecessors who, news flash, aren’t happy. They’ve piqued statistics with divorce and depression. Let’s not mimic them. They didn’t do it right. Let’s make our own rules and patterns for dating. That’s what this time period of our lives is for!
I’m not saying free love like in the ‘60s and ‘70s—which was particularly bad because of ignorance of good hygiene. Let’s just date. If I like you, I will keep seeing you. I will call, text, Skype, out of my own volition, not because you attached that label of “girlfriend” on me. In return, I will know that you want to be with me, because of me and not because you’re obligated under the title of “boyfriend.”
I don’t want to sacrifice freedom because I fall into the model of love. Love, if genuine, should fall into me. If a bond is truly strong, then no one should be able to tear it apart—no one. And if can break, then we are all better off for knowing that. I believe the label of “girlfriend/boyfriend” is often times made out of fear of losing a person. But if they could be lost, should we be committing ourselves to them?
When it comes to me: Yes, we can date. But please, please, please don’t call me your girlfriend.
*Shannon is a ghostwriter and copywriter from Los Angeles, CA.