You and your guy have been dating for a few months now and everything is perfect! You laugh at each other’s corny jokes, you can talk to each other about anything, and you’ve met all of his friends (who love you, btw). There’s just one problem… you’re not official yet. At first, it doesn’t bother you. I mean, you’re still getting to know each other; it’s only been a few months. When you really start to think about it, it doesn’t make any sense. He’s at your house 5 nights out of the week, you go to church together, you even met his mom. Once. By accident, but it counts! But he just can’t put a title on it. One day, after torturing yourself about this situation for weeks, you casually bring the topic up in conversation. “Hey babe,” you say gently. “I know we’ve been kicking it for a while and I just want to know, what are we?” or something like that. If you’re lucky, your man will say something like “We’re together. Everyone knows you’re my girl.” Aww… That’s awesome! The rest of us get some type of bullshit response such as:
“Why you ask?”
“Does it matter? You know how I feel about you.”
“I’m with you right now. That should tell you something.”
If this has happened to you, you are in a dark place known as relationship purgatory. If it sounds awful, that’s because it is. Some people believe that purgatory is a place where mediocre souls go after life. It’s not hell, but it sure ain’t heaven. It’s limbo—eternally stuck between the fiery pit and paradise. You’re probably thinking it’s not that bad, right? But imagine your friends are in this exclusive party, living it up VIP style, and you just watch helplessly through a window because you can’t get in… That’s spiritual purgatory.
Now relationship purgatory is the same concept. You’re not single, but you sure aren’t in a relationship. There’s nothing wrong if you’re just having fun and DON’T WANT a commitment. The problems start when you’re stuck here, but want a title. It doesn’t help when you see your friends in public relationships, getting married, etc. and you still don’t know if you can post a pic of your man as your #MCM… Men have been putting women in limbo forever! It’s the female version of the friend zone (Yikes!). Everything starts out wonderful—you’re going out on dates, kicking it, and hanging out for months—then you realize he hasn’t made it official yet. What do you do??
I’ll tell you what NOT to do… DO NOT play the passive aggressive role. Dropping hints and playing wifey won’t work. I used to think that if I showed a man how much I cared he would see how great I was and make me his girl… HA! That’s not how life works. There are some rare cases where women have escaped purgatory and went on to live a happy life with the guy. If you ask me, if a guy doesn’t make a commitment after a few months, you should probably leave him alone; but if you’re keeping hope alive, here are some things you can do to make purgatory a little less frustrating.
1. Continue to live your life.
Keep doing whatever you did before you met the guy. Work extra hours, study more, exercise, make plans with your girlfriends… anything. Just make sure he knows that you have an active life and will NOT cancel plans for him (He’s not your BF, btw)
2. Date other people.
DISCLAIMER: I do not encourage sleeping around. I’d advise you not to have sex with purgatory guy, but if you are, please don’t spread your legs to others!
Yes, date. If your guy is keeping his options open, why shouldn’t you? Plus, you might meet Mr. Perfect in the process! Also, he’ll begin to see that you’re a catch and can be snatched up at any moment.
3. Express your feelings.
Let the guy know from the beginning that you want a real relationship and ask him what his long-term goals are. Honest communication will save you a lot of trouble. Avoid giving ultimatums though because he’ll definitely run in the opposite direction.
4. Never settle.
If you want a relationship and he clearly doesn’t, just leave. You can’t change his mind no matter how generous, nurturing, or sexy you are. Don’t let him distract you from your true soulmate. If you want different things, just let it go quickly.
I wish someone gave me this advice years ago. Trust me, purgatory is not nearly as fun as a genuine relationship with someone who is ready for commitment. As the old saying goes,
Whitney is currently an exhausted teacher, a loving daughter, an annoying little sister, and a devoted wife. :-)