What does it mean when you aren't officially dating someone?

What does it mean when you aren't officially dating someone yet you get everything from them that dating brings? Things like someone to talk to, to go out with, someone who just checks in on you to see how your day is, someone who makes you laugh, someone who cares and puts in effort to do sweet things for you, etc... This guy told me that he's not able to be my boyfriend because he isn't where he wants to be in life right now. He feels that he can't bring something to a relationship if he doesn't even have himself together yet. He's expressed that he likes me and all that jazz and that "I make him feel safe and open and like he can get lost in me. We've been talking everyday since New Years day. We don't have a title, yet I feel like we're getting closer by the day. What does this mean?

1. Why is he continuing to talk to me and actually put in effort if he isn't ready to be a boyfriend?

2. What does it mean when you aren't officially dating yet you get all that comes along with it?

3. Is it unwise to continue to talk to someone who has stated they aren't ready to be in a relationship yet?

4. Is his reason for not wanting to date a copout?

Updates:
I'm personally ok with not dating right away, but who knows if he'll be ready by time I'm ready. That's what I meant when I asked question number 3.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • To me this means you are enjoying your time together, yet are free to see other people.

    If I was "working on me" first, wouldn't I do that before dating? For me the answer is yes, until I reach the point that I realize that I will never be finished working on me, and while the hell not spend part of the time having fun with someone I love.

    In my opinion, not committing to a relationship means nothing more than lack of committment. But I'm an old guy at this point, maybe it mean something different to younger generations.

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What Guys Said 17

  • "This guy told me that he's not able to be my boyfriend because he isn't where he wants to be in life right now. He feels that he can't bring something to a relationship if he doesn't even have himself together yet."

    Then you tell him that there's a huge variance between what he's saying and what he's doing, and that's confusing you, so maybe it's best that the two of you don't speak until he figures himself out.

    Because that's some bullshit motherfucking cop-out if I've ever heard one. I've NEVER been where I WANTED to be in life, and some part of my life is ALWAYS in some kind of fucked up chaos. Y'know, pretty much the same as most of humanity, and we have no problems with finding ways to commit to a relationship without having every aspect of our stupid little lives in order.

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    • Lol this answer cracked me up. But in all seriousness, thank you. This was very straightforward and I never really thought about it like that. I definitely will mention these points to him. Thanks!

  • My situation is slightly different. I'm initiating the going out and stuff, but the girl doesn't see herself in a relationship, although she does think I'm special and would make a girl smitten if only she could appreciate it.

    So disclaimer: my opinions about what your guy is thinking are just guesses, like what I'm guessing my girl is thinking.

    1. He enjoys your company. He sees you as a really good/close friend. He might see things in a non-gender way; to him you're a close friend first and girl second. And maybe being a girl doesn't really matter, does it?

    2. It means he doesn't need to make a decision. He's conveniently enjoying a relationship without the commitment factor. He may not know if you're the girl he wants, but he does know he enjoys it very much. But does enjoyment = The One? That's a tough question. He might be the type to reject a girl if she asked, but being in a non-commital relationship may give him the chance to do a test-drive of "what if". Y'know, the "I don't know if I do like you that way, but I'm okay with hanging out and seeing how things go".

    3. It depends what you need. Are you comfortable with waiting with no results? Do you need to be in a relationship right now? For my case, my opinion is no, not unwise. I see no reason why I can't wait. At least this girl is cute, seems compatible, and has said "maybe". I have tried other girls and I'm either not interested or they're not interested. So I think waiting gives me a good shot to get my ideal girl. I'm still young and confident enough to try again even if it fails.

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    • Sorry. I reread again and it does seem he likes you.

      He enjoys your company, he likes you enough to do all that stuff because he's smitten with you. But yet something is holding him back. It could be a life-changing decision that moves him away from you. Like going out of state for university or something?

      Maybe he's telling a white lie... maybe he likes you but he has his doubts if you're The One? Perhaps there's something he feels is missing, or a flaw or something that he's not sure if he can accept in the long run?

      Or maybe he can't see himself being a boyfriend because of commitment issues or being good enough for you yet. But just plain going out, that still seems manageable.

  • I am currently seeing someone in just this way. To me, it is because I am not in a place for something serious, I don't want something serious or I don't see myself with her long term. Currently a bit of a mix of those.

    Although we have never said we are exclusive and people say 'well if you didn't define it, you are free game to date others', that's bs and we know it. Yes you can technically see others, but if she or I found out the other were still seeing someone after seeing each other as much as we do for two months now, I would be shocked if we kept seeing each other.

    I guess I treat it as a mini relationship, where everything is the same except this is going to get too serious, in that there is never any prospects of moving in, meeting parents or dating long term/marriage. So for me, I enjoy my time and value her in my life, but it is just fun for now.

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    • Can I ask your real first name (wanna make sure this isn't the guy I'm seeing who I've been wondering why he isn't coming) loll

    • @love2run13 Well this happened in the UK and we broke up last September...

    • Omg thank god... I'm sorry about the breakup however how could you have "broke up" if you werent every officially together?
      I am waiting for the guy I am seeing for him to be ready to commit to me as a boyfriend, we been seeing eachother a lot in the past month and met last october-he is distrustful, avoids emotion and is reluctant to get into things too seriously since his ex fucking him over. Yet he texts me everyday and we cuddle and talk alot-how do you distinguish a guy who is genuinely not ready to commit yet an needs time with a guy who just isn't that into you to commit?

  • I don`t know about the officially dating someone... ya if its the first date, obviously someone may very well be seeing other people.

    But if you are on the third date... you should know by then where your head is at.

    For me... I never saw other people after the second date. Its just me, if I am having a second date, then that's means I think there is something there.

    if I am going out with two other women at the same time, then how can I possibly give the girl I am considering dating all of my attention!

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    • Interesting. That's pretty much my take on dating past date three. This "talking", "serial dating" (which is parallel dating, btw) or whatever we calling being in an open relationship flies in the face of that though.

    • Ya... I am not sure how anyone can parallel date for very long anyway... how the hell would you keep track of the likes and dislikes of more than one women lol

      Oh here honey... I got you your favourite ice cream... Ummm I hate pralines and cream... ohhh! ... Busted!

  • 1) At what stage of his life is he at? I know when I when I started looking at graduate/professional level schooling (PhD program and Law School) I felt the same way. He could genuinely be a busy person.

    2) Often, it means the person is into you, but not ready, for whatever reason to commit. Depending on how you view things, this could mean that either of you has the right to see other people.

    3) Not really. My now-fiance told me the same thing. I told her I was going to change her mind. Clearly, I succeeded - not to brag.

    4) Look at all the factors. Is he trying to get you in bed? Does he introduce you/talk about you to his friends. Is he open around you? etc. Ask yourself a few of these questions, answer them, then ask "What about him shows that he wants something other than a relationship?"

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  • Sounds like your Best Friends with the guy
    if he does things for you it could mean he
    wants to take things one step further and
    you two become a couple but your not ready
    cause your wondering about too many things
    about the guy and it sounds you need to be sure
    before you tell this guy you have true feelings for him
    cause you only see him maybe like a big brother
    or best friend nothing more than that will happen.

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  • Sometimes it is real good to have a buddy from the opposite sex that you just get on with. You meet with her because you want to, you ask nothing from each other, you are comfortable in her company. I suppose that could change in time. For now I would be very happy with that. I have one Lady friend of 20 years standing. We like each other very much, perhaps to take that further would damage our relationship? She makes me laugh, feel good, and we can get drunk without ending up in the sack. How valuable is that? :)

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  • I want to ask are you happy at this time or do you really need a label?

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    • Yes, I am happy. He treats me better than anyone I've ever known and I like his character. I guess the part I'm not happy about is that he feels he isn't ready for anything. If he hadn't stated that I would be perfectly fine with letting things fall in to place naturally and wouldn't be focused on a title but when he said he wasn't ready, it was like a slap in the face to me. In my mind I'm like "okkk so you feel like you can get lost in me and be open.. but you aren't ready for anything?". I hope I'm making sense and not contradicting myself.

    • No you're not but why don't you ask him about it and tell him how his comment made you feel

  • In short, not official means you don't have an agreement to be exclusive along with the label boyfriend/girlfriend.

    Even if you guys are only dating eachother, without the label you aren't "official". It's like a seal of approval so everyone knows.
    Sometimes people just have a hangup on the name, even if they only want to date you

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    • But for clarification. Dating doesn't mean you're together. You're just seeing eachother and enjoying eachothers company. If you're ok with that. Then there's nothing wrong with it. If you're lying to him and yourself about wanting more then you're going to end up hurt.

  • I think you become official when you start going out to the point where you accept that others are calling you together.

    Unofficial dating would be that you still keep it a secret.

    I think you can date someone when you're still trying to figure everything else out. Moving in, getting engaged, and those kind of things are more reserved for when you think you have achieved individual stability. Of course not everyone can really date when they are so focused on their goals so it is really up to the individual to decide whether they can include someone for the ride or they have to go it alone.

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  • I have no idea. I'm still trying to figure out what it means when you are officially dating someone. I can see how engagement might be "official", but what is the difference in official and unofficial dating?

    I can't keep up with rules. So I don't know.

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    • By the way, when dealing with a man, any form of "it's not you, baby, it's me" is malespeak for "I'm not interested".

  • friendzoned :p

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  • If you are interested in dating, i beleive that's called "talking" y'all aren't dating. y'all are "talking".

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  • He's probably weighing his options at present. I was in this position mid last year, but before it could further develop into an actual official relationship, she pulled away, and cut contact without any reason given. But if you're unsure, ask him.

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  • cold be friends with benefits , or a cop out.

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  • What is an official dating? You tell one another: "okay, we're dating now, cool?"

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  • I didn't take the time to read all of the responses but I say the exact same thing to females so I can probably give direct insight.

    I am trying to figure life out and I don't feel I am ready to be the guy a girl deserves yet BUT I still like being around girls because girls are fun. You probably are basically in a relationship but the technicality freaks him out because he doesn't feel or think he is ready.

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    • Thanks for answering, this was helpful.

What Girls Said 18

  • I've had a lot of these types of relationships. Some guys use it as an excuse, others its actually true. Either way they are always fun while they last, just as long as you don't get too close and start too fall too hard. Just keep going with the flow, don't get too close, but don't be too distant. Have fun with it and reek the benefits. As long as nobody gets the wrong impression or starts falling too hard, no one will get hurt and it is someone who cares and likes to make you smile, someone who will always make your day. Who knows, it could turn into something more, but like i said, don't let yourself get too close, because it could turn out to be nothing and trust me, that is the worst way to get hurt.

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  • 1) either you guys are having sex and he's staying around for sex or he is interested but is not entirely sure if it's a good idea for one reason or another.

    2) Basically it sounds like he is getting to know you as a person or a friend first. Or he means officially dating as bf/gf when he says that which means that you guys aren't committed to eachother.

    3) Not really unless he is a psycho then you would want to avoid him. There is nothing wrong with getting to know someone before you start going out with them.

    4) He sounds like he cares about you. I don't think it is. People honestly need to be in the right mental state to manage the demands that can come up when you are romantically involved with someone.

    I hope that helps. :)

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    • It was helpful, thank you.

  • Well first I am dealing with the same situation, and he told me " I like how we can go on dates and at times hanging out as friends without being serious " he could like you and is probably not ready, if you are happy with him, you should continue what you are doing just going out on dates and still have fun, he will realize soon when he is ready.

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  • It sounds like he wants all the benefits of a relationship without any of the responsibility or committment. You're better off telling him that until he wants the same thing, you're moving on. Then wish him the best. If he really cares about you, he'll fight to keep you. If not, at least you'll find out sooner thsn later that he is a waste of time. I know, easier said than done. It's just that there's a very big difference between a guy eho wants to take it slow and just date to see if you guys are compatable for a relationship and a guy who doesn't want a relationship at all.

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  • Does he ever seem like he is into someone else or is his focus mainly on you? does it feel like you are friendzoned or do you believe he just needs some time to think?

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  • He might be in a depression, that's what he means about getting himself together.

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  • According to my opinion, he is opt in taking things slow because in the past he probably was iin a relationship where he had been hurt before. Try to even find out if he has someone else he is hiding from you.. maybe a wife or a crazy x.. or he could also be married with a family!!

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  • it means you like to keep your options open.

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  • Fling? I think thats what you call it if not official.

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  • You are single and don't let any guy control you... follow your dreams and keep your head up.

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  • I think it's called a budding romance

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  • that's fucked up

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  • Girl!!! y'all just friends with benefits... he's gonna do him thats why he doesn't want a title... cause if he starts sleeping with someone else you may start snapping on him and he can come at you with... but i never made you my girlfriend thoooooooooo... leave before its too late sweetie

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  • Sorry I'm not here to answer your question... But geez your question is REALLY organized... goals... Enough said...

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  • It means you haven't put a title on it yet

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  • He's getting boyfriend privileges without having to put the actual boyfriend girlfriend title on it. I'd be suspicious. Most men aren't shy about making a girl his and only his if they really want her.

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  • Intimate relationships are big commitments And require a lot of effort and energy. People always say that yiu much first learn to love yourself before you can have a successful relationship with anyone else. Maybe that's what he meant. Yknow? Like maybe he's still not fully secure about who he is and what he wants and feels that he needs to figure it all out and get his life together before your life merges with his. he might feel nervous and that he cannot fully support you as a girlfriend yet.
    But that's just what i infer from your details :p

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  • I think he, and possibly both of you, are very misguided. You're not talking about marriage, so the whole excuse about not being where he is in life doesn't really pan out. He's not okay with dating, but is still playing the boyfriend, marking the territory and getting some practice, I guess. He wouldn't be doing any of that if he really liked you.

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    • Thanks for answering. Do you mind explaining how I might be misguided? Also, was the last line you wrote sarcasm? Or do you mean he would make it official if he actually liked me? Sorry, I'm just trying to understand.

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    • So yes, In my opinion he would have no problem in making it official if he really liked you. Sorry :(

    • I wasn't offended =) and thank you for the explanation.

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