However, if anyone refers to me as his girlfriend in front of him, the colour drains from his face.
When I asked him if we were going out properly he just said he ‘wasn’t there yet, and wasn’t even sure if he wanted a serious relationship.’ “I don’t want to push it as I have a really nice time with him.
That’s like being awarded a relationship through squatter’s rights.
And if you land a boyfriend that way and then ‘win’ (and by ‘win,’ I mean you get the ultimate prize – marriage) then can you ever really relax, knowing they were so blasé about you when you first met that it took them six months, nine months, a year to refer to you as their girlfriend?
That means after six short dates, 20-somethings are bound to have kissed, had sex multiple times and spent cumulatively an entire day with the person they're just beginning to date.
Online dating, and our ability to be in constant contact with everyone we know via text, email or social media make us unwilling to commit to one person, and more likely to want to hedge our bets. In an article I wrote earlier this year about modern dating, I used the example of a man I’d been sleeping with for over a year, who got cross when I referred to him as my boyfriend.
So, let me help you out with some suggestions next time you’re asked to define your non-relationship: “Well Gran, it’s funny you should ask, there is someone on the scene, we’re: sleeping together/seeing each other/dating/friends with benefits/friends (apparently the same as friends with benefits, but twice as infuriating) /having an affair (it’s unfortunate when, after 12 dates you discover that his reticence to define your relationship is down to his previously unmentioned wife) or wasting each other’s time until something better comes along.” I agree that technology – evil, brain-sapping technology – might play its part here. When I asked for further clarification as to what we were doing he said “We’re friends - you’re my friend.” Hilariously, when the article in question came out, a couple of my other exes read the piece and took credit for that particular quote (hint: it was none of them), which is a sorry example of quite how often I've gone down that particular road. My new rule is, eight weeks – if someone won’t call it after eight weeks, then I’m out of there.
Or maybe I’m just particularly unlucky when it comes to men.
A survey carried out last year by dating website ‘Seeking Arrangements’ found that most couples tend to say ‘I love you’ after 14 dates – or seven weeks (the average number of dates per week was two).