"It's Complicated"

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Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’ve used this line, or something to the effect of this line, to describe a relationship I’ve been in before.  (“Well it wasn’t exactly a relationshi– blah blah blah.  It’s complicated”)

But since then, I have grown and become wise (…right).  So allow me to share just a kernel of that wisdom with you:

Relationships are not supposed to be complicated.

They are supposed to be work at times, yes.  But complicated to the extent that you don’t even know what to tell people who ask if you’re seeing someone?  No, never.

A “complicated” relationship is basically a relationship that is not, for whatever reason, given the title of “relationship”.  In my experience, there are two primary reasons why someone wouldn’t want to just come right out call it what it is:

1.) One (or both) of the people say they don’t want anything serious.  They don’t want to hurt the other person; they’re afraid of getting hurt themselves.  It just feels less risky to be really really super-close friends.

Guess what.  It’s not.  In fact, it’s more risky.  You run the risk of the other person changing their mind or losing interest.  And since you’re “just friends”, no harm done, right?  Unfortunately, that’s never the case in “complicated” relationships.  It usually hurts more because you feel stupid for getting so upset over someone who was “just a friend”.

If they really cared about you, they’d want everyone else to know it, no matter the apparent risks.  And if they don’t want other people to know?  Well then you shouldn’t really want to be with that person in the first place.

2.) There is some apparent outside force preventing these two star-crossed lovers from being together.  (It’s SO Romeo and Juliet!)

Whether it be the rules of a parent or the fact that one of the parties just broke up with someone close to the other, sometimes there are outside forces that seem to stand in the way of slapping the title on a relationship.  And these may be valid reasons.  I would certainly never advise anyone to break the rules of their parents.  But just because you’re not officially saying you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re not in a relationship.

I think parents especially need to hear this.  If you don’t want your son or daughter to have a significant other until they’re a certain age, that is perfectly fine.  But realize this.  Having a significant other means much more than just having someone to call “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”.  It means much more than hand-holding or kissing.  I don’t even think you REALLY need those things to be considered in a relationship.

If you’re texting someone every second of every day… if you spend hours on the phone together… if you think about them nonstop… and you’ll use any excuse to be with each other… you’re in a relationship, whether there are the physical things like hand-holding or kissing or not.

And parents, when you allow these kinds of relationships without allowing your teenagers to put a title on them, think about what you’re teaching them.  You’re saying there isn’t anything different or special about this relationship.  …But would you really be happy if your husband or wife had that kind of relationship with someone of the opposite sex?  Hopefully not.  So I would encourage you to either tighten up your rules about “no relationships”, or allow your son or daughter to learn the real responsibilities of a relationship by putting the appropriate title on it.

But teens, if this is you, and your parents do have that rule, respect it.  And just as important, respect yourself and your significant other, and don’t have a relationship at all if you’re not able to call it what it is.