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D has nobody to ask so I told her I would ask here.

 

D is now almost 18 and met a very nice young man (21 and has just started graduate school) about a month ago at a community environmental project. They hit it off and started doing fun things together--kayaking, fishing, sailing, biking, etc--because they are both active people. Then they began going out to art festivals, brunch, dinner, etc. They spend at least one long weekend day together, going from a kayak trip to a swim at the beach to going out to dinner and then seeing a movie, etc. and also see each other a couple of times (for about 3 hours per night) during the week.

 

D was very uncertain about the relationship (sometimes she can be clueless!) and when she finally asked the young man responded that HE thought they were dating. He was somewhat surprised because he had assumed D knew they were dating.

 

D came to me today and said that she doesn't want to keep "dating" if they are not in a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship...she said he is holding her hand, etc. but there is no mention of the word "girlfriend" or "boyfriend".

 

Her questions:

 

About how long do teens this age date one another before they are boyfriend/girlfriend?

 

Is the boy supposed to ask the girl? She says she doesn't think girls should ask the boy. But my husband, although older, had been in many relationships while in high school and college, and he said that the girls were always the ones to bring up the boyfriend/girlfriend issue...

 

(Unfortunately in previous relationships the boys have been more infatuated with my D and have acted in a less restrained manner...complete infatuation that ends as rapidly as it begins. So D really has no frame of reference)

Edited by distancia
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I think that they need to have that conversation with each other. They were going on dates which is the minimum for dating. The thing she needs to clarify is if they want to be "in an exclusive relationship." I married my husband without ever being his girlfriend. It is just a matter of terminology, but if she wants to keep up with what they are doing, it is called dating. If she wants him to be her boyfriend (which is kind of a young term to apply to a 21yo MAN), then they need to define that relationship and of it is going to be exclusive. Her other choices are to be "just friends" which means you go places together and have fun but don't have romantic feeling, or she can stop "seeing him" because they view the relationship in differnt ways.

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If she wants to know if they're exclusive, then I would just ask. "Are you seeing other people?", or something along those lines. She has every right to know and ask, if it is something that is important to her. She can certainly say that she's an exclusive relationship person if he indicates that he is seeing other people. I think it just part of being in a relationship, and I don't think gender has much to do with it. Some people are into exclusive/serious, and some are into non-exclusive.

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I think that they need to have that conversation with each other. They were going on dates which is the minimum for dating. The thing she needs to clarify is if they want to be "in an exclusive relationship." I married my husband without ever being his girlfriend. It is just a matter of terminology, but if she wants to keep up with what they are doing, it is called dating. If she wants him to be her boyfriend (which is kind of a young term to apply to a 21yo MAN), then they need to define that relationship and of it is going to be exclusive. Her other choices are to be "just friends" which means you go places together and have fun but don't have romantic feeling, or she can stop "seeing him" because they view the relationship in differnt ways.

 

Exactly!!! The need for a label may seem immature, but clarifying if a relationship is exclusive is fine. It helps both parties no where they stand and how much to invest :001_smile:. She doesn't have to give him all the control though...she can very well say "this is what I'm looking for...What are your thoughts?" Either they come to an understanding, or they part ways.

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:iagree: To me, if you're dating, then it's already boyfriend/girlfriend thing. He's not going to call her and say "hi girlfriend" unless he's gay and she's his friend, kwim? What she likely wants to know is if it's exclusive. It probably is, so this is something she may not want to ask him directly. I wouldn't. It's just something a girl knows through things she catches him saying. ie: he gets a phone call and he says "sorry, I have to go, my girlfriend is here." or, how does he introduce her to his friends or family? If it's girlfriend, then it's exclusive. If it's "here's one of my girlfriends" or worse, "here's my friend" then it's not so exclusive. Dating is sure tricky!

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I do not miss dating at all.

 

Different places seem to have different terminology for things.

 

Among people I know - if you are "dating" - you're exclusive. If you're "seeing each other" - you could also be seeing other people.

 

I don't think it would be unreasonable for her to ask him if he's seeing other people if she feels a strong need to know. Although under the circumstances you described - he says they are dating, they go out every weekend and a few times during the week - I would probably be comfortable assuming it was exclusive. For a guy just starting graduate school that is a lot of time to spend with a girl if it's not exclusive. How much time does he have for seeing anyone else?

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I was casually dating 4 guys when I met my dh. We had been casually dating for a little over a month when he asked me if I wanted to date exclusively. I was surprised because it seemed soon to me? But, I agreed (and broke a date I had later in the week) and the rest is history (more or less).

 

I agree with Tangerine, it would be fine for her to ask him if he's seeing other people.

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D has nobody to ask so I told her I would ask here.

 

D is now almost 18 and met a very nice young man (21 and has just started graduate school) about a month ago at a community environmental project. They hit it off and started doing fun things together--kayaking, fishing, sailing, biking, etc--because they are both active people. Then they began going out to art festivals, brunch, dinner, etc. They spend at least one long weekend day together, going from a kayak trip to a swim at the beach to going out to dinner and then seeing a movie, etc. and also see each other a couple of times (for about 3 hours per night) during the week.

 

D was very uncertain about the relationship (sometimes she can be clueless!) and when she finally asked the young man responded that HE thought they were dating. He was somewhat surprised because he had assumed D knew they were dating.

 

D came to me today and said that she doesn't want to keep "dating" if they are not in a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship...she said he is holding her hand, etc. but there is no mention of the word "girlfriend" or "boyfriend".

 

Her questions:

 

About how long do teens this age date one another before they are boyfriend/girlfriend?

 

Is the boy supposed to ask the girl? She says she doesn't think girls should ask the boy. But my husband, although older, had been in many relationships while in high school and college, and he said that the girls were always the ones to bring up the boyfriend/girlfriend issue...

 

(Unfortunately in previous relationships the boys have been more infatuated with my D and have acted in a less restrained manner...complete infatuation that ends as rapidly as it begins. So D really has no frame of reference)

 

 

I actually think this is a very good example of how young adults should date. I think the hurry to become exclusive, and have the boyfriend girlfriend label leads to dashed expectations and puts too much pressure on a relationship. As adults rarely does anyone ask about exclusivity until there is about to be a sexual relationship (and sometimes not even then..sigh) They are getting to know one another and see how the relationship progresses. Sounds healthy to me. If it were me I would ask dear daughter what being "girlfriend" means that she isn't already getting from the relationship, and if it is still important to her, then she can ask the guy if they are dating only each other, or other people as well. That answer will tell her whether they are boyfriend or girlfriend.

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:iagree: To me, if you're dating, then it's already boyfriend/girlfriend thing. He's not going to call her and say "hi girlfriend" unless he's gay and she's his friend, kwim? What she likely wants to know is if it's exclusive. It probably is, so this is something she may not want to ask him directly. I wouldn't. It's just something a girl knows through things she catches him saying. ie: he gets a phone call and he says "sorry, I have to go, my girlfriend is here." or, how does he introduce her to his friends or family? If it's girlfriend, then it's exclusive. If it's "here's one of my girlfriends" or worse, "here's my friend" then it's not so exclusive. Dating is sure tricky!

 

 

Great answer. How does he introduce her to people? Of course he might just say, Susan this is Betty and then ARRG, but usually there are cues. But it does seem early for him to think girlfriend.

 

Both of my older boys are slow to have girlfriends. They use dating to discover that a woman is NOT the one, and then he goes the friends route. I think it is much more respectful then trying to force a relationship too soon and then having to 'break up'.

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About how long do teens this age date one another before they are boyfriend/girlfriend?

 

Is the boy supposed to ask the girl? She says she doesn't think girls should ask the boy. But my husband, although older, had been in many relationships while in high school and college, and he said that the girls were always the ones to bring up the boyfriend/girlfriend issue...

 

 

 

From my own experience dating (way back when ;)) and from observing teens now, if the young man is serious about the girl, he's pretty quick to establish they are exclusive...he doesn't want to take the chance she's with anyone else, kwim? If she has to ask...he may still not be sure how he feels, or is wanting to keep his options open.

Has she seen the movie He's Just Not That Into You?

 

I thought it captured the dating scene pretty well.

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