The Pitfalls Of Being In A Relationship With No Title

It was just last year when actress, Raven Symone, decided to “come out” and tell the world exactly who she was: an American human who loves other human beings blah blah blah, officially denouncing her ethnicity and sexual preference which officially makes her a full blown unicorn right?


Now we won’t talk about why she came out the black abyss (no pun intended) to make this personal Public Service Announcement. And we won’t discuss how though it’s quite clear that the chick is an African-American who happens to be a lesbian, she must’ve seen that whole labeling of her existence as detrimental, hence her choosing to (for a lack of a better word) rebel against it.

But I digress…

Besides ethnicity and sexual orientation, lately I’ve seen a certain phenomenon of people making a conscious choice not to label things in their lives, most importantly being their romantic relationships.

It’s what is commonly (or maybe uncommonly) known as exclusively talking, or what I’d like to call the “non-relationship-relationship”…which is basically a (usually long-term) relationship with boundaries and obligations mimicking that of an actual boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, sans the title.


Yes, this really exists. And for y’all who would mark “It’s Complicated” as your relationship status on Facebook but are too embarrassed to put your business out there like that, you’ll surely relate to this post. For everyone else, take a look at the below, as I’m going to outline all the pitfalls and mysteries of taking part in this kind of unfortunate relationship set up….because everything about it is…well…unfortunate.

1. You have certain boundaries and obligations and not others– What are they? Heck if I know, because last time I checked, having guidelines and obligations within a relationship is usually what warrants the title. The biggest mystery to me is what kind of agreement can two people have when they decide to take part in something they are consciously not claiming? Questions? I have a million, some being:

What is the other person allowed do within this non-relationship?

What is considered unacceptable?

Please someone throw me a lifeline because I don’t think Sway even has the answers on this one. I would assume anyone exclusively talking, has a spoken or unspoken agreement with their “mate”, of expectations higher than if they were just casually talking, but slightly lower/on the same level as a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Does that sound as confusing to you as it does to me? Great, I’m glad we are on the same page.

2. The word “technically” will always be your scapegoat– When faced with outside temptations or other questionable situations where this non-relationship could be challenged, a person in an exclusively talking relationship can always think “Well technically that’s not my girlfriend/boyfriend, so I don’t haaave to/could do XYZ..” Why yes, technically, you and your non-significant other are not in an official relationship so when it comes down to it, if you do something outside the “relationship”, its technically your prerogative without repercussions….right?? Wrong, because of #1. And that’s where the lack of a title gets played out- because that whole “We know who we are to each other” bit is eventually going to be trumped by you or your non-significant other doing something you or they “shouldn’t have done”. And as a result of this…

3. Someone will always get hurt or want moreAlways. The lack of having a title will give you or your supposed Bae room to mess up…and trust me, someone will mess up. And once that happens the other person will be asking themselves why oh why they even agreed to invest their heart into something so noncommittal.



DUH…ya think?

Here, I have an even better question: Why would anyone subject themselves to all the possible stresses that can come with a relationship, without actually having a relationship to show for it? Would you also work a full-time job without getting a check…?

4. The whole situation is a contradiction, and contradictions are messy as hell– Choose the exclusively talking route and you ultimately choose to be in an officially unofficial, committed, non-committed relationship.



Sure, exclusively talking seems like it’s the natural step right before an actual relationship, and that could be be the case. But if done for an extended amount of time, it becomes a toxic combination of a sacred boyfriend/girlfriend union, tainted with the after tastes of the gray area. And to keep it 100, it’s the contradiction within this status that causes the gray area, adding a whole other beast to an already whack status.

Gray area brings doubt.

Gray area brings suspicion.

Gray area STRESSES U OUT. So again, why choose that life?

Look, I’m not trying to force people into relationships they may not be ready for. I’m just trying to push those who are sitting stuck-on-confused in wannabe relationships, to be honest with themselves.

Some people swear that abiding by any sort of title, changes things for the worse. I call bullshit and commitment phobia. Having a title forces you to man (or woman) up to boundaries. And if the real reason someone is in the exclusively talking stage is because they are afraid of boundaries, they need to just be single.

If you find yourself in this situation for an extended period of time, just know you will only benefit from playing both sides of the fence for so long before a choice has to be made. While you’re spending all this time “pretending” to be in a relationship, you could be missing out on someone else better suited for you, that will want to claim you without hesitancy.

So lets bring it back full circle. When it comes down to it, Raven Symone is an African American lesbian. There. I said it. See how easy it could have been for her if she had done the same?

So either make the boyfriend/girlfriend leap, or don’t. You know daggone well what the deal is, so stop faking the funk.

That goes for you too Raven.






Categories: FML, SMHTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I think people get into gray area situations because..well…nobody likes to be alone. So they’d rather talk to someone who is cool, although not a perfect fit, than to not talk to anyone at all. Plus in a city like NY, people are so into their careers and whatnot, that they’re not always looking for an actual relationship. Me and most of my homies who live in NYC usually never felt the need to have an actual girlfriend and would only “wife up” a chick if she was like a damn-there-perfect-fit for our personality. Keyword “damn-there-perfect-fit”.


    • Touche, touche Juice!…You know what I get what you’re saying and I’ve been there. All I can say is, if you and your homies are not looking for actual relationships and are just chillin heavy with someone allllll the time, you and them cannot get upset if that same person is chillin with someone else. Alot of times, this gray area is anything but beneficial when someone catches feelings. And funny enough alot of people don’t catch feelings until they realize they have competition.


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