The period of time between the first date, and the moment a couple becomes ‘official’ (*cringe*), can be horribly awkward and uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be in the much-vaunted honeymoon period with someone but there is always a danger of suffering permanently uncool questions like: ‘Are we exclusive?’ ‘Are we dating or more than that?’ and the worst of all, ‘Are we, like, boyfriend and girlfriend?’
Those kinds of questions, in my opinion, are more awkward than that time at school between years 8 and 9 when all the guys were still really small but the girls were shooting up. It was such a lanky, gawky period and I never want to experience it again.
Anyway, back to relationships. I am going to show you that this early stage of a relationship is like a weird, unwritten contract where the rules are completely undefined and can be made up on the spot or retrospectively. Maybe you are the kind of person who finds this exciting, but I don’t. For example, let’s say you are on a third date with someone and you find out that they have slept with someone else in the time period between your dates with them. What do you do then? I know many people who would say that they would stop dating that person. So, were you exclusive? Admittedly, these people wouldn’t be devastated and certainly would not be accusing the other person of cheating but is that what makes a relationship exclusive, if the other person’s actions can be considered cheating?
Now we have delved into a confusing conceptual plain where the terms ‘exclusive’ and ‘cheating’ have no strict meaning but are loose and undefined. Is being ‘exclusive’ the same as being ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’, and can they all be encompassed by the term ‘official’? Don’t even get me started on ‘seeing each other’ because I really have no idea what that refers to. Is it the part between dating and being exclusive?
If you are really, really confused right now then good. It is in this state of debilitating confusion where I swoop in with a brand new idea for relationships that may just blow your mind and change your life.
It begins with a day, let’s say Sunday. You find your potential suitor and you ask him/her/them if they would like to spend some time with you on Sunday. Sunday goes well and is full of romance so you agree to meet next Sunday. Sunday becomes your day. From this point forward, you are in a relationship with that person every Sunday, and only on Sunday. Next Sunday you meet up and have a lovely time and as the night is coming to its conclusion you find yourself thinking ‘I can’t wait until next Sunday to spend time with him/her/them, I need another day!’ Your partner is of the same opinion so you add Monday on, now every week you spend Sunday and Monday together as boyfriend and girlfriend. However, for every other day of the week, you remain completely and utterly single.
You can see where I am going with this. As the relationship develops and you begin to fall for each other you simply must have more days of the week. The number of days you have signifies how strong your relationship with someone is. “Oh Cindy, how many days have you and Brad got now?”, “We just reached five days, oh my I think I am falling for him!” The addition of days can take as long or as short as you’d like it to, as you need it to.
The true benefits of this system can be seen when we look at an unfortunate but prevalent aspect of relationships – the break-up. When you are in a committed, official, exclusive, ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’ relationship that isn’t going as well as you would like, you may think a break-up is necessary. So you try a break-up by going completely cold-turkey on someone that you’ve been addicted to for weeks, months, years. Inevitably you will miss them a bunch and may even get back together for another failed attempt. Or perhaps, you are feeling relationship savvy and decide to go on a ‘break’ because something isn’t right but you know you can’t just end things completely. What the hell happens in a break? Can you sleep with other people? Should you message each other at all? It’s a really fucking weird one and I don’t think anyone could accurately explain to me what a ‘break’ is.
With my system, let’s call it the ‘Days of Dating’ system, you can convey your feelings of negativity about the relationship slowly and surely. Imagine you are on five days with your partner but you feel restricted and scared and you aren’t really sure why. You know something is wrong but you have no idea how to explain that gut feeling through words and expressions. All you have to do is tell your partner that five days is too much and you want to return to four. In this situation, everyone knows that there has been a slight hiccup in the relationship but it hasn’t derailed the love train completely.
Furthermore, if a complete break-up is necessary it can be done in stages. Perhaps you decide that as every week passes you lose one more day. This way, a break-up can be a cathartic experience whereby a couple comes to terms with the experiences they have had together.
Written by Rebecca Johnson