How do you draw the line between different labels for levels of relationships?

there's dating, being exclusive, having a boyfriend, being serious. how do you usually differentiate? I've never been "official" with anyone but I've dated, hooked up, been exclusive, been exclusive plus more...i don't know how to draw the line between categories. does this inability to differentiate categories stress anybody else out? how do you "know" which guys are boyfriends vs. guys you've dated vs. guys you just hooked up with?


Most Helpful Guy

  • I'll spare the speech on "labels and live your life" as that's not very helpful to you. You want to know what exactly each entails.

    We'll (my opinion)

    -Being exclusive, having a BF(closed relationship), being serious should mean the same. Usually means you two are not having sex with anyone else and you're considerate of each others feelings, concerns, likes, dislikes.

    -Dating means you're seeing someone casually but you don't have certain obligations of having a committed relationship. If sex is major part of this arrangement than you're just hooking up and maybe getting a date or two out of it. You two are border line friends. Either of you could blow each other off and you don't have grounds to be upset.

    -curious what you define as exclusive, exclusive plus more. The latter sounds like full on relationship and what does regular "exclusive" mean?

    So are asking because you want a relationship and not sure what it entails?

    • i'm asking because I'm not sure what qualifies as a boyfriend if I've been with guys and we've never outwardly referred to one another as "boyfriend" or "girlfriend." I dated a guy for a while but never went official- met families and all. also exclusive is hooking up only with each other; exclusive plus more is hooking up with only each other but you're also together all the time, texting everyday, spending nights together & basically committed to each other in a way that's more than just sexual.

    • Yep, sounds like a Boyfriend to me. It's kinda an awkward thing to discuss when you're younger. No sure why...

    • i mean the one I was dating where I met his family I was quite young and didn't think to discuss a label but I guess he must have been my boyfriend or else why would I go to his house and meet his whole family? but the other was recent. he just didn't want to label it anything because he was afraid of it getting too serious. which is why I'm confused where the line is between boyfriend and serious. lol relationships and labels are so complicated...


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What Guys Said 6

  • I don't like the idea of having different categories either. I was raised and taught that there is only one category. When I grew up over many years, lots of different categories popped up. Open Relationships, Friends with Benefits, etc.

    I have a very very bad inability to draw this line myself. Who decides this, anyway?

    • exactly. I hate it because it can be one thing to one of the people and a different thing to the other and no one knows until you sit down and have the "what are we" conversation which always sucks a lot and still sometimes leaves confusion.

  • i don't really know cause the only line that I've been able to see is the friend one.and that one sometimes sucks a lot xd

  • In my experience, you just "know."

    It isn't something you logically conclude, it just 'happens.'

    It's why sometimes you may not 'verbally' be exclusive, it is fucked up to be sleeping with other people.

    It's like, you know you are a couple without verbalizing it.

  • Well, I don't date girls unless I'm being serious and I never just hook up, so for me, there isn't a difference between any of those.

    Life is too short to try and label everything, just enjoy it.

  • I don't feel the need to draw any lines, I work on a case by case basis. I demand from a partner some things or other depending on what I want, what she wants and what we agree upon.

  • the labels don't have to mean anything really. but normally I just consider it

    [Seeing each Other]


    -consistent seeing each other


    Someone declares it basically, and both agree


What Girls Said 3

  • I think of it like this: We are either in a relationship or we are not.

    Single, Dating (you're a couple but you're either new >6 months or you're not serious/have no intentions of getting married), Engaged, Married.

    If you are just hooking up then you are single.

    • Im single and I date but that does not mean I hook up with all my dates. No I just go on dates but that does not mean the guy is my boyfriend, but just because in single does not, mean I am going to have sex with them.

  • I have no idea. I think dating is getting increasingly complicated lol. I think I've said, "I don't understand the whole dating thing" about 10 times this past week lol.

  • I have a few criteria on which I base those labels. Being exclusive is when you don't do intimate stuff with other people, but you don't go out together as a couple. Dating is a step up from being exclusive, as in actually going out on dates. A guy is only your boyfriend, I think, if you refer to each other as hubby, babe and you have been through or still are in the dating stage. Being serious is the same as a boyfriend, I think.