Relating Without Labels?

What does it mean when I say, “This is my girlfriend?”

Does it mean:

  • Great! Now I have found a way to have sex whenever I want for FREE
  • Great! Now I don’t have to do laundry or clean anymore!
  • Great! Now the cooking is going to be done for me!

What else might it mean?

  • What? There is this moody person living in my house?!?
  • What? I am going to be late for everything now?
  • What? The bathroom is always occupied?

What does it mean to say, “This is my boyfriend?”

  • Great! Now I don’t have to justify myself in front of my father anymore.
  • Great! Now I can cuddle anytime I want!
  • Great! Now there is someone to tell me how beautiful I am!

What else might it mean?

  • What? The toilet seat is up for no reason?
  • What? The toilet seat is wet for no reason?
  • What? This thing is farting in bed with me!?
  • It snores, too?!?
  • Aaarrrghhh!!

Generally, we attach a specific set of needs and responsibilities to a relationship, such as we attach to employment…

Like such: I expect to receive $Sum of Money in return for X hours of labor.

Employment, however, is a fairly simple form of human relationship and is usually governed by a contract that provides some level of security for both sides.

Seldom do we enter relationships with these kinds of contracts. And, even if we do, we will have assumed so much that we don’t even realize we are assuming (see the statements above, for example) that conflict about our needs is inevitable.

At first, we might overlook some of our needs being met partially or not met at all, however, the longer these needs go without being met, (or even the feelings belonging to them being expressed),  the more pressure will build up within a relationship.

Why are there such misunderstandings? Why do we seldom have these issues with strangers? Partially because we are not moving into the relationship with labels that include who each person is and what we expect them to do with/for us.

So, instead of asking someone, “Will you be my girlfriend?” or, even worse, it simply happening, what would it be like to say, “When I am with you, I feel happy because the following needs are being met: 1,2,3,4,x… I would like it if you could do 5,6,7,8,x to meet more of my needs. Could you do that?” and then the other person doing the same.

If we did this, instead of entering the relationship with labels, what would happen?

About Ryan Orrock

Ryan works with power and sexuality to help people get what they want.

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