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LABEL MATES: Do You Really Need To Label Your Relationships?


LABEL MATES: Do You Really Need To Label Your Relationships?

Labels should be reserved for canned foods and designer clothing.

I know, a long time ago Carl Linnaeus with his taxonomy convinced the entire world that everything needed to be classified. Some 250-plus years later, I’d argue that there are some things that just cannot—and don’t have to be—labeled, especially when it comes to romantic relationships or “situations”.

The older I’ve gotten, the less eager I’ve been to put an official stamp or seal on anyone or anything. Seriously, what’s the rush? Sometimes we get so caught up in the need to have clarity or confirmation about what we’re doing, that we miss the opportunity to just let things be and develop in their own natural order and at their own natural pace. I’m not saying date someone for 6 years and never be officially in a relationship, but do you really need to have the label of significant other within the first 2-3 weeks of knowing someone? There’s nothing wrong with embracing the exploration period…label-free.

On the flip side, there is the external pressure for labels and classification. There is no greater perpetrator of labeling than our very own friends and family. While they mean well, the constant interrogation and “So what’s going on with you and _____,” can be draining and quite frankly really irritating. The people that need to understand your relationship are the people IN the relationship. Clarity for anyone else is simply a courtesy.

Trust, this has been a work in progress for me, as I despise gray areas, but I also detests being confined to other’s definitions of what should and should not work for me. I’m not anti-label, however, at the end of the day, the greatest label of them all is husband and wife. The labels you use along the way, really don’t matter.

Reprinted with permission courtesy of

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