I don't want to be owned by him — or anyone.
"So, what are we?" asked the guy lying naked next to me under the sheets.
"Human," I replied, trying to hide the fact that I really didn't want to be having this discussion. He rolled his eyes at me and half-chuckled and I could almost hear him trying to gather up the courage to ask what I knew he wanted to ask.
"So ... what is this?" he finally sputtered out, not quite asking the obvious "Are you my girlfriend?" question I was expecting to hear but making a definite point to establish that he was talking about the terms of our relationship.
I took a deep breath and pulled the sheets a little closer before letting out a sigh and saying, "It is what it is."
I know, really clarifying.
But he didn't back down. He challenged me with, "And what does this become?"
"Whatever it becomes," I replied, still dodging the obvious answer he was looking for.
Here's the deal: I'm not his girlfriend, I don't want to be his girlfriend, and I have no intention of ever becoming his girlfriend. But I did want the relationship.
He's the man I want in my bed and in my life, and outside of him I'm not looking for anything else. I just don't want him to be my boyfriend.
He's the first monogamous relationship I've had in a very long time and honestly, I'm not sure what the rules are. Polyamory has been my preferred lifestyle choice for the past few years (and I've enjoyed it) but he's the first man who's made me reconsider my feelings on that.
I've come to realize my dating style is less "I enjoy more than one person" and more "I don't want to feel like we have exclusive rights to one another." And by "exclusive" I'm not even talking about monogamy — I'm just talking about the rights of ownership.
I don't want to be owned by someone and I don't want to feel like I own someone else.
Sure, many people would argue, "Just because I'm someone's girlfriend doesn't mean he owns me. I can leave anytime I want to," but I just don't care for labels. I don't need to define the roles people play in my life. I want the freedom to be what we are in the moment — and if we're something different tomorrow, then OK, we're something different tomorrow.
It seems like the natural course of a relationship is to go from boyfriend/girlfriend, to fiancée, to husband/wife. And once you start labeling things the world expects you to stay on that course.
I don't want that. I want to be whatever we are, day-by-day. I don't like the constraints of having to categorize and define the terms of our relationship.
We are this. Whatever this is, is what we are.
Also, I know that when I put a label on something, I'll be expected to do certain things, like attend spend every birthday, holiday, and celebration together, in addition to his family functions. I'll be expected to call him first (and he, me) when I need something or when I have good news.
And it's not that I wouldn't enjoy many of the aforementioned things; I don't want to feel like I have to do them just because I'm his girlfriend. And similarly, I don't want him doing all of those things just because he's my boyfriend.
It's not even about not wanting to make a commitment; I've already done that. I've already promised not to see anyone else. Because I love him, I'll do all the "girlfriend" things simply because I want to — not because a label expects me to.
I want to be my own person without the world seeing my partner as "my other half."
I want to do things for the people I love because I love them, not because it's what's expected of me by labeling myself. So yes, he has my heart and my time — but he will never have the label of my boyfriend.
We just are, and if that isn't enough for him, then we don't need to be anything at all.