At What Point Should He Call You His Girlfriend?

To a guy, here are the things that change after he has a girlfriend...

woman and man looking into each others eyes and smiling
woman and man looking into each others eyes and smiling
(Image credit: Paul Kline/iStock)

The other day I had to remind my sister to update her Facebook status (opens in new tab) from "engaged" to "married." She was being a bit lackadaisical with letting her world know that she was officially hitched (opens in new tab).

Indeed it is a right of passage to update that Facebook status. The "single" on my Facebook status is old, dusty and rotting. (opens in new tab) If I ever try to change it, I think the whole system will break as the gears on my Facebook status are dry and rusty...and a bat might fly out of there.

I talk to many friends who get hung up on "status" of a relationship. I can't decide if this is a legitimate concern. On one hand, if you're dating everything is great, the person is treating you right, why does it matter if you're labeled girlfriend-boyfriend?

On the other hand, if things are so great, why not just go ahead and admit you're girlfriend-boyfriend? It's a little strange and concerning when someone refuses to call someone a girlfriend or boyfriend. Why are they holding back from that step? (opens in new tab)

Ultimately, for guys at least, calling someone a "girlfriend" is a step toward commitment. And you women know how scared us guys are of commitment.

To a guy, here are the things that change after he has a girlfriend:

-He's off the market

-He can't look around as much (or as obviously?)

-He can't cheat or date other people (opens in new tab)

-He is most likely in it for the long haul (whether that's a

few months or a few years)

I think women who avoid titles have the same issues.

Ultimately, agreeing that you're "boyfriend-girlfriend" is agreeing on the logistics of a relationship. You're no longer "friends with benefits," or "casually dating," (opens in new tab) which is another step in intensity.

Plenty of guys hang out with women consistently, are physically intimate, say they care/have feelings, but then turn around and say "I don't want to have a girlfriend." There's a heavy connotation with the word.

So the status defense mechanisms are using words that are not as serious as "boyfriend or girlfriend" such as: we are dating, we are hanging out, we are talking, etc.

Things get a little weird when one person starts peppering the other person with questions about what's going on, or "what are we?" In my experience, those conversations never go well - they become over analytical and argumentative (opens in new tab).

You can't force a person to call you a girlfriend or boyfriend. But at the same time I understand how someone can get nervous if someone doesn't call them a boyfriend/girlfriend after a while. I'd be concerned that:

1. That person wants to continue to play the field (opens in new tab)

2. That person doesn't consider me "boyfriend material" or good enough to be considered a boyfriend (opens in new tab)

I advise you to avoid the "what are we conversation," especially when the relationship is moving along just fine. Why rock the boat?

It's really all about timing. At some point, you both become ready to be labeled "together" (opens in new tab) - so hopefully the timing works out correctly.

Usually it just happens. I often avoid calling a girl a "girlfriend" as long as I can. Then I get a little kick in the butt. I'll see her talking to a guy from afar while we are out and I'll realize that she's not "mine" because we haven't taken that step. (opens in new tab) Usually the little kick in the butt gets me to spark the conversation: "I really like you," etc...

My favorite are the story is (and I think this happens more often than I think): the guy is with with friends or family and says: (opens in new tab)

"This is my girlfriend, so-and-so," and it's the first time

he's ever referred to her that way. Like I said sometimes it just happens.

It's a scary step, just like the saying "I love you" step. (opens in new tab)

So I'm still divided; do you think it's legitimate to get hung up on "titles"? Do you feel weird after a while if a guy you've been dating refuses to call you a girlfriend? Do you have the "what are we" conversation often, and does it work out for you? Do you agree with my thoughts?

Follow me on (opens in new tab)