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Dating exclusively but not girlfriend

Though I’ve been completely open to investing my heart and time in quality men that I meet, my first reaction to hearing the word “girlfriend” too soon is to cringe – or even worse, RUN.I’ve seen other women get giddy over being in a serious relationship, but for me, as a single mom, that’s where things get complicated.

This time around I made a promise to myself to slow things down and go at my own pace – though that’s not always easy for me to speak up about and communicate to the men that come into my life. But I couldn’t put his feelings above my own and end up in relationship I was not truly ready for.

Recently a man I’d been dating asked me to be his girlfriend, and at the time I had to say no. As awkward as the conversation was to have, I explained to him my current fears about labels and seriously serious commitments.

Since becoming a single mom more than five years ago, I’ve gone through a lot of changes – especially in my dating life. For awhile I bounced back and forth between playing the field and not dating at all to focus on my son and myself.

At the time, seeing a man one or two times and then moving on to the next was easier for me than anything committal.

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From college onward, people are more likely to date in hopes of meeting the person they would like to marry. The reality of modern relationships is more complex than distinguishing between "dating" on one side and "girlfriend or boyfriend" on the other.

If two people have been dating for some time, one or both of them may consider marriage a possibility. Some people date because they want a committed relationship with long-term potential. If you are not sure of your status with the person you've been seeing, it is time for a relationship talk.

A funny thing happened after we had that exchange; because I was able to be completely candid about my feelings and also listen to his, my fears about labels subsided.

His willingness to stick around, despite my reservations, made me realize he was worth taking the leap into girlfriend territory. Be honest with the person you are dating about what you are comfortable with. Anyone who can’t deal shouldn’t be in your life anyway.

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