put a ring on it ... or else.

[ i attended a forum about relationships, sex, and violence at Morehouse last week. We hurried into a classroom, flooded with students from Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta University. While men and women battled back and forth about the dynamics of relationships and sex, i listened. ]

We were discussing the validity of the title "boyfriend/girlfriend". A lot of ladies said that they wanted a title. A lot of the men were saying that they did NOT need a title- feeling as though the title is used to merely appease the people outside of the relationship. A girl (with extremely intense eyes) raised her hand and expressed that --> dating a girl without the intention of commitment is disrespectful. She said she needed a respectful man and also stated that certain things regarding dating are just "common sense".

Let me first and foremost say that i see the validity of a relationship (they can be beautiful unions). But right then and there, I saw a piece of me in that girl- a naive piece. When i was in high school (and the beginning of college), i said that i wanted a guy with common sense. i realized a few years later that i was living in a euphoric state of mind. when it comes to relationships, "COMMON SENSE" does not exist.

For example,Some girls said they would leave if a guy did not "make it official" in 6 months. Another girl said 3 months. One girl leaned over to me and said, "nah, if he doesn't know in 2 months ... I'm out."And that's all fine. However, it is unfair to just assume that a man would know his "time constraints" ... considering that every one's preferences are different. nothing is "common" about dating. And "respect" is another fluid term. While the young lady thought it was disrespectful to "lead a girl on", some guys refrain from cuffing because they know they are not ready for monogomy. they stay away from the titles ... out of respect for the young lady.

While i listened to the two genders swing rebuttals back and forth, i suddenly realized something: i was siding more with the men than the women. I realized that a lot of women treat the boyfriend/girlfriend title like an "EASY" button from Staples. They think the title will clear up all of the confusion and grey areas about their relationship ... and they're wrong. point. blank. period. A relationship is a different recipe every time- full of unique ingredients (time, place, personality traits, emotional baggage, circumstances). i know people who merely "talk to someone" who have stronger relationships than people with the title. It's about COMMUNICATION. people have so many different expectations in relationships/dating - what constitutes cheating? what is respectful? what are my responsibilities as a bf/gf? are we discrete? to PDA, or not to PDA? While it may seem like common sense, it is NOT. honestly, what's a title if you do not know what it means?

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