Complaints of a Committed Woman

[EDIT: I should have clarified this further before publishing this article. When in situations/settings where looking for romantic partners is expected (bars, clubs, etc.) I’m quite up front about my state of availability and/or interest, because I certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time who’s trying to get lucky. It’s more benign settings such as school, or work, that I find this to be a difficult situation. ]

I don’t initially tell people that I’m in a committed relationship, especially men. This is in part because it’s not always the first thing that comes up when I talk to people, and in part because I’d like to actually talk to people without them worrying that my partner will come rampaging out of the bushes to beat them up.

Point: I’m a young adult, but I am an autonomous adult, who has value whether or not I’m in a relationship.

Unfortunately, in my experience, this isn’t always the first thing on peoples’ minds when talking to me. And no, I’m not complaining about people mistaking my status for single and attempting to ask me out: I’m flattered when that happens. What disappoints me is the silence I get when I mention my partner in passing, or when (if I don’t catch it soon enough) I have to clarify the situation. It’s like people saying “well, you’re off the market, why would I bother talking to you?”

Let’s take a look at that saying, “off the market”. First off, I’m not a piece of livestock. Back to the point above, I have value in my individual personality regardless of whether I’m “available” or not. And I’m an optimistic person, most of the time. Chances are, I think that you have value regardless of your relationship status.

In all likelihood, if I’ve engaged you in conversation in the first place, I think you’re an interesting person. I think you’re someone who I’d like to get to know better, because I adore being surrounded by fascinating, fun people. I’m lucky enough to have many amazing friends who bring all kinds of wonderful depth into my life, and this exchange of ideas and experiences is what makes the courtship of friends worth it. All those awkward first text messages, facebook interactions, invitations, the dance is all worth it if a connection of value grows.

Let’s take a look at that term now, a “connection of value”. I made that up, but I like it. For me, that means that in knowing each other, we mutually benefit from sharing viewpoints, stories, recommendations, advice, laughter, all these really neat things that we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t met. “Friendship” is an overused term, in these situations. It’s loaded. “Friendship” calls to mind the dreaded (and repeatedly disproven) “friend-zone”. So yes, I’ll call you my friend, because it’s an easy label, and nobody wants to be a personified “connection”. If anyone has a better term than “friend”, let me know. “This guy I know”? Agh.

Point is, when I refrain from saying I’m in a relationship, it’s not because I want to “lead people on”. That’s the furthest thing from my mind. I believe that my relationship status is not the entirety of my being, and I appreciate it when other people think the same thing.

friendship

Kind of related?

What do you think? Comments are appreciated, I’d really like to know.

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8 thoughts on “Complaints of a Committed Woman

  1. I read post like this and I can’t help but think “Clueless but trying”, note trying is the important part, not the clueless. Men really do act this way. You got that right. You are trying to see why, and got that part very very wrong.
    Men are expected to take the initiative. Men start relationships. It is on men to be the aggressor. This takes time. Friendships are great, but if a man is looking for a romantic partner he doesn’t have the time to work on a friendship with you.
    Every second that he spends with you is a second that he is not working at his goal of a romantic relationship. So unless you are such an amazing friend that it is worth while for him to delay/deny himself a romantic relationship, you will be dropped in pursuit of his goal. It is not a question of if you would be a valuable friend, but a question of if you would have MORE value than a romantic partner.

    • Thank you for your comment. I’ve edited the post above in hopes of being clearer; when in situations where romantic pursuit is expected (bars, clubs, etc.) I have no qualms about stating my unavailability and/or disinterest, and am not surprised nor disappointed when the person drops me in search of another, more available woman. It was more in benign scenarios such as classes at university, or work, that I was referring to.
      In your assumption that men start relationships, I’d like to differ; it’s not always the case. In fact, this perpetuated social expectation might even cause men to feel like they’re pressured to make aggressive romantic advances in all facets of their lives. Which, in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, it just objectifies women as a sort of passive “target”.
      Hopefully that clarified a few things 🙂

      • First thank you for the clarification.
        2nd, There IS a social expectation, a strict gender role, that men are the pursuer. You agreed with this. I also agree that we as a society need to be fixing the strict gender role for men.

  2. It could be a little deceiving… but saying it off the bat is a little weird, too. This is a good topic, I just wish I had more of a helpful opinion for you. 🙂

    • Hey Babe 🙂 Yeah, I realized it after I read it again that I wasn’t very clear on a few points. Fixed now. One of my friends actually has the same issue, especially with guys in her class (engineering: they’re 90% guys). What’s a girl to do? Advertise that she has a potentially ultra-jealous boytoy hanging in the wings ready to jump any guy that talks to her?
      It’s a conundrum, and I know I shouldn’t want ALL the things, but it’s just happened too many times.

  3. Emily, I think one of the issues at hand is that most people, male or female, do not go around and approach or talk to complete strangers in the hopes that maybe they can make a new friend. Most people have a best friend or a really close friend and usually a group of friends, the need to seek out new friends is usually not a common thing that occurs. What is very common however, is men and women (lets face it, its usually men) approaching someone they are attracted to and making “friendly” conversation and maybe even a “friendship” forms because some cannot just come out and say “so, are you seeing anybody?” or “whats your relationship status?” but make no mistake about it they wanted something romantic from the beginning so any friendship that occurs is either not going to work out, not going to stay just friendship or will immediately end once one realizes that that the other isn’t interested in anything else. That “off the market” reaction you get is just them saying “I am not shopping for a friend”, this is unfortunate but its the reality of life. I think this is why so many people are turning to online connections because it removes a lot of the meat market mentality and provides ways for people to meet other people with similar interests to exchange ideas and thoughts without relationship status being so prominent a question in peoples minds.

    We as people rely far too much on labels to tell us what we want to know without having to actually find out for ourselves. We use “friend” as a label because we don’t yet have a label for someone who is not a friend, not a romantic interest, not merely just an acquaintance but not somebody you could or would hang out with regularly. Sorry for such a long comment haha!

    • Hey 🙂 Thanks for your comment. I fixed the post to clarify the situation, ’cause I realized I sounded like a fool. I think I’m just clueless; if a guy in my class asks if I want to hang out or something, I don’t automatically go “omg date must backpedal” especially if I think they’re pretty cool people. And then it’s a toss-up: do I clarify and risk being wrong about their intentions, or just go with it? Makes me want to kick things.

      • That’s when you pull the old “oh sure, is it alright if I bring my boyfriend?” Any guy just interested in hanging out as a friend with no agenda will have no problem with that but he suddenly changes his mood or seems slightly deflated that you have a boyfriend then you just clarified without clarifying and dodged a bullet! 🙂

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