Millennials have been blamed for ruining romance. We get all the shit because we love ambiguity and hate commitment. “We aren’t dating, we are just talking” or “we are just fuck buddies, we don’t have feelings for one another.”* cue huge eyeroll* In order to alleviate some of the burden that comes with that daunting “what are we” question, I have compiled a list of terms that refer to the equally confusing and ambiguous pre/not quite-exclusive relationships that Millennials are so famous for. Here is a comprehensive list of the vernacular.
“Friends with Benefits” a mythical land where purely “platonic” friends use each other for sex with no strings attached and no one gets their feelings hurt. Both parties mutually agree to pretend that things wont get too complicated or that their friendship will not be ruined. LOL.
“On Going Booty Call” a long term relationship that occurs only past the hours of 12am and the only activity is sex. Conversation and personal information is kept to a minimum. Please leave within 10 minutes of finishing.
“Talking” “We are just talking” is code for: we text a lot and may have hooked up a few times, but we aren’t really committed to anything happening. “Talking” is usually a plethora of gifs, emojis, and empty, vapid conversation to fill in the space until you meet (again) in person.
“Dating” Aka you go on dates, but are also going on dates with other people as well.
“Hooking up” awww yes the most vague expression in the millennial dictionary, and one that almost always needs clarification. Does hooking up mean sex? Making out? Everything but sex?? Who knows! It’s truly a modern mystery of our time. It is the equivalent of dating purgatory between meeting someone better to have sex with or actually deciding to commit to the person whose bed you end up in every time you go out. *strong likelihood that alcohol has influenced this tryst.
“Seeing each other” is more committed than “dating”, but definitely not exclusive. You are probably both seeing other people, but the number of others is dwindling and things are a bit more serious. Careful, you might be getting dangerously close to having “the talk.”
“Sex with an ex”is pretty self-explanatory. You weren’t right for each other at the time, but your bodies are right for each other now. There were reasons you broke up, but the sex was not one of them. You are both under the spell that this couldn’t possibly have consequences or end badly. So young. So naïve.
“Pretty much together” You are basically dating-except not. This is a term that girls will use around their gal pals when their friends ask “so how are things with that guy?” ( as if those bitches don’t know his name after 6 straight months of deciphering every text with you). Girls will say “oh we are pretty much together” in order to not lose face in front of their friends who can probably detect her bullshit a mile away and know perfectly well they are just fucking and he is not going to commit.
“We’re just friends” Tricky. This is something that is said when trying to explain to a third party why you are not having sex. It is either said because you would be embarrassed to be mistaken as together, or you want a get-out-of-jail-free card for why you are not hitting that.
“We’re not exclusive” 1. The last words on your lips right before your partner throws a fit, makes an ultimatum and manipulates you into becoming monogamous. 2. A man’s way of explaining to his bros or potential hookups that he could still fuck if he wanted to.
“Internet affair” Not sure what to call this, but this is when the relationship exists solely in that rectangle in your pocket. You do not hang in rl, but your DMs are flooded with flirty messages, a few illicit photos, and no real commitment.
“He/she is not ready” what this means is that you are waiting on someone’s back burner to go from B-list to first string. They are seeing others, but keep you hanging around with the promise that “someday” you could be together. You are delusional enough to believe that with a few choice words, and opportune actions you could move up the ladder and actually be their priority. You are likely to get caught saying bullshit things like “now is not a good time for him/her” or ” They are not ready to be with me.” No sweetie, and they never will be.
Unfortunately in Millennial-land it’s a pretty big risk to have the whole “what are we convo”- what if one person is more serious than the other? What if labels are not PC? What if one person has commitment issues? (don’t we all lol). Everybody wants to be the “cool” person in the relationship that does not give a fuck if the other person hooks up with a someone else. Alas, most of us are not that cool, but dammit if we won’t do anything in our power to trick others and ourselves into thinking we do not give a fuck.
As a result, relationships can exist in limbo for weeks, months or even years, never classifying themselves as anything more than a flirtation, and certainly not a real relationship. With this anxiety in place, committed relationships start to resemble a modern Camelot. Do they even exist?
To be honest, if you are in one of these areas for more than a few months somebody just flat out does not want to commit. Sorry, but they are being intentional about not solidifying the relationship. If someone wants to be with you they will take it to the next level and have the conversation that takes you from booty call to plus one at family dinners.
Obviously stuff gets complicated and I am not a big fan of the old standby, “if its meant to be it will be,” but at some point a lot of these grey area relationships need to take a good, long look in the mirror and get real about where they are headed.
It is not cool to lead people on. It is also not cool to stay in relationships that are not gonna give you what you are looking for. Or maybe you’re cool with them not going anywhere- more power to you- but for the rest of us not wanting to die alone, we will see you in therapy. Just remember that casual relationships are only casual if it is consensual.
If you are both cool with your no-strings-attached-sex-consort pact, good for you guys. But if you are unhappy with your relationship status it is imperative to figure out the situation and know when to leave. This is the necessary turning point and it is just not going to magically happen unless you suck it up and confront the situation. Be honest with yourself. Are you staying in a relationship that is not a relationship because the sex is good? Because you don’t want to be alone? Because you don’t want to confront issues in your personal life? You are afraid you will never find anyone better? Because you are afraid of change? None of these are good enough reasons to be complacent in an arrangement that is not giving you what you want or deserve.
Relationships are a total gamble, and frankly there is both dumb-luck and strategy involved. Maybe you both want the same things, but life is complicated and you were both too shy? Maybe they don’t want to be with you but they were enjoying flirting and hooking up? But always know when to walk away. Have the self-respect to step out of a relationship that is not going where you want it to go, if anywhere. But you certainly won’t get anywhere if you don’t take some risks and show your hand once in a while. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move the fuck on.