Ask Andi: The Guy I'm Dating Doesn't Want To Make It Official

Hi Andi,

So I’ve been seeing this guy for several months now.  We go out to movies and dinner, we hang out, we are intimate and stay the night over at each other’s places, we talk all the time and we have even met each other’s family!  We are also exclusive. The issue is, he hasn’t “asked me out”  yet.  I’m starting to second guess everything!  It’s not like I need our relationship to be Facebook official, I don’t care about that.  I just don’t know what to call him or how to introduce him!  It’s complicated because were practically dating, but we aren’t official.  He knows the way I feel about this issue and tells me we don’t need labels and I’m too hung up on this- am I?

-Second-guessing Sophomore

Dear Second-guessing Sophomore,

Before you try to figure out his reasons for resistance, make sure you fully know your own reason for wanting this so you can explain it to him.  From the looks of it- you seem to only want a status for assurance, not attention.  Make sure you communicate this to him.  Reiterate that you don’t want need to announce your relationship to the world, and that officially dating means no more or less of a commitment.  Official status means being able to refer to him as your boyfriend as opposed to your current awkward boyfriend-not-boyfriend situation.  Understanding his reasons for resistance won’t help you get anywhere until you make sure he is fully aware of where you’re coming from.

Now, the most common reason for a guy to procrastinate in the BF/GF process is a fear of commitment.  I know that you both are already committed, but when you achieve BF/GF titles it’s a reminder of that commitment which can scare many guys. 

Maybe he is holding off from the commitment because he needs time to be absolutely sure his heart is in it.  This is definitely a case where you need to give up your fight and respect his feelings.  You wouldn’t want to jump the gun and end up hurt and a reason like that for holding off shows that he’s the type of guy who is in a relationship for the long haul.  His caution is beneficial to both of you; respect him for respecting you.  Just let him know how you feel and give him some time.

If you know him well enough to know this probably isn’t the case, then another reason he may be holding off his fear of being hurt.  As insensitive as we peg guys out to be, they are people too. Nobody wants to be hurt, and from that, people are afraid or hesitant to take risks.  In his mind, he as the girl and therefore he was everything he needs.  If he takes on the title, then he leaves room for heartbreak to come in because once the title exists- it becomes something with the potential to be removed.  He might have been hurt before, or just is so afraid of being hurt.  This is a little fluke we all seem to partake in.  Like children who cover their eyes and think that people cannot see them because of this, we edge around utter commitment because we think that it somehow protects us from heartbreak.  It clearly never does though.  We waste enough shying around the real thing until eventually our chance vanishes.  Don’t let this occur with you two.  Assure him that you really like him and that the title is just to make things less complicated.  Make sure he knows that if he can give a little he will gain a lot.  Explain that you would be taking the same risk- agreeing to make it official is a compromise and shows that each of you care enough to take the risk, so you care enough to stay involved.

The last of the likely possibilities of why your guy won’t budge is because he thinks that other things come with an official title.  He is clearly happy being with you and therefore it’s safe to say he’s content with everything right now.  It doesn’t take a genius to know that men are the EXPERTS on being content (just think of how often you’ve seen a dude wear socks with holes in them, or re-wear their undies!)  The whole point is, it’s in a guy’s nature to not want to change something when it works as it is.  Unlike us, they don’t question how much better and more perfect things are. Beyond him seeing no need to make it official, he could also be worried that you’ll expect more from him.  Being involved is one thing but throw down the word boyfriend and guys start have nightmares of holding your purse in the mall or getting slapped for looking at another girl.  As ridiculous as it sounds, it is easy to think of things in terms of stereotypes or what we see in movies.  You need to let him know that you will be the exact same people and that you do not expect him to take on a role with the title.

If you feel you’ve dropped enough hints about him asking you and nothing has changed, ask him out! It’s the 21st century after all!  The worst he’ll say is he’s not ready and then you are back to where you started from and left with the same decision to make. 

Tips to remember are to be honest, open and clear about your feelings.  Don’t beat around the bush and leave no room for confusion.  Ask him why he feels the way he does and listen when he tells you.  Don’t have a tone and do not be pushy.  Use your trusty old “I-statements” and acknowledge how he may feel or think about the situation.  Recognize when the conversation is no longer moving forward and put it on pause if things start to get heated.  If end up not being able to agree on the issue and one of you isn’t happy with the outcome, then consider that an early warning sign. You can’t force him into an official BF/GF title, but remember he can’t force you to keep seeing him without one.  Decide how important being official is to you.  Do you abandon what you have for the lack of assurance, or, do you wait around for a ship that won’t sail? Whatever you decide will be the best thing that you can do- you’ll know it in your heart.

Xoxo Andi