QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What REALLY Makes Someone A Boyfriend?

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Jan 9 2015 | 106 Comments  

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The gay community is obsessed with dating and relationships. But then again, who isn’t?

My own heterosexual brother spent 15 years obsessing over it until he eventually got married to his wife, now with a young child. He could never stay single and when he was, he would constantly work hard not to be.

This got me thinking. Since I was a teenager watching heterosexuals around me casually dating and coupling up, the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” were often thrown around without a second thought. Especially if the people had been seeing each other for more than a month or so.

I’ve even seen female friends meet a guy at a day party on a Saturday, then introduce that same man as her boyfriend to folks at a dinner party the following week.

True, the title does hold weight, sometimes even baggage…but for most human beings, the designation is tossed around as casually as a person appearing in only ONE porn film still being called a “Porn Star.” (Don’t get me started on that)

Think about it like this: If you saw one of your male heterosexual friends out at parties, dinner or the movies with the same girl multiple times over the course of a month or two, what would you call her in your mind?

Most people would say she’s his Girlfriend, regardless whether they’d had “the conversation” about it.

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That got me thinking even more.

Gay men are VERY cautious about using the Boyfriend word.

Maybe its because of the whole Banned Gay Marriage thing. Regular “Boyfriend Status” has replaced “Marriage Status” for many of us.

As I’ve stated in the past, gay men put a LOT of weight into the “Relationship” word. For many gay men, it’s the coveted Title to have, above all others.

I would argue that for Homosexuals there are only two states: Being Single and Being Married (aka “in a relationship”). No inbetween. No casual dating, period. No “Boyfriend” status without an assumed Marriage-like dedication, commitment and monogamy.

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But think about the high school, college and post-college heterosexual couples you’ve ever seen. What made them “A couple” in your mind when you saw them out together more than one time?

What would make a woman seen to be your Girlfriend if you were straight?

For me: Seeing her consistently for over a month or so, breaking plans with friends to hang out with her, buying unexpected gifts for her, stocking my home with her favorite foods, cooking meals from scratch for her, binge watching whole seasons of TV shows with her, meeting her friends, spending hours talking to her on the phone in the middle of the night when we both have to work in the morning, spending the night at each other’s place without asking in advance, helping her when her car breaks down on the freeway….the list goes on.

As a gay man, I’ve consistently done all of this with MANY guys that I’ve never officially called my “Boyfriend.” In every instance, it wasn’t just a physical bond, we spent tons of quality time together bonding emotionally. Time together that we regretted ending and were eager to repeat.

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I’ve stocked boxes of shitty Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in my crib (that I don’t even eat) just so the dude I was dating would have his favorite breakfast when he stayed over. I’ve driven 10+ miles to help a dude I’d been seeing who was having car troubles. I’ve cooked meals and had meals cooked for me. I’ve blown off best friends just to cuddle up and watch Netflix movies with a dude I was dating, no sex involved.

Were these boyfriends?

Even just on a short-term basis?

If I were a heterosexual college student, the answer would most likely be “Yes.”

These would have been short-term girlfriends.

In the Gay world, is there a hesitation to making that distinction, even when it walks, talks and acts like a duck?

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Don’t get me wrong, I know its all complicated and really varies from situation to situation. Even if you’re heterosexual you could theoretically be dating a woman for months and still not know if you’re boyfriend/girlfriends.

There have been entire shitty Zac Efron/Michael B. Jordan movies made about this very subject:

So my question, what REALLY makes someone a “Boyfriend?”

If you say being a “Boyfriend” is monogamy and commitment, then what is Marriage?

What’s the purpose of Husbands and Wives if the terms Boyfriend and Girlfriend imply the same thing?

Growing up, I’ve always taken the terms literally: A Boy who was a Friend…A Girl who was a Friend…But they were “Special.”

They did things together the you didn’t do with other friends who were boys or girls. You were more intimate with them, more protective, more supportive, more honest…ever getting closer and still learning new things about each other with each passing day.

I’ve had many boys who were “special friends” like this….but I rarely called them my boyfriend.

In hindsight, should I have?

Should I now look back and redo my inventory?

Or is this Olympic-level semantic gymnastics?

If these were not “boyfriends”, what is the term for someone you’re dating consistently that isn’t a Boyfriend?

What are your thoughts?

 

About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

   

106 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Dr. Strange
    Dr. Strange | January 9th, 2015
    +4

    Hmm, as you have stated this topic is rather confusing within the “gay” world. However, I think that there are different levels of connection, i.e. casual dating, boyfriends, and marriage and one doesn’t always assume another like dating must lead to marriage. Each is a process and all of them have the potential to succeed or fail.

    Anyways, I don’t think those people you speak of were boyfriends. I don’t think that kind of a title can be bestowed until both parties consciously decide that that’s what they want from each other i.e “the conversation”. I think its because the question isn’t simply “do you want to be my boyfriend?” its more about both people stating what they want and don’t want out of a relationship. Which is why the word boyfriend has weight to it, because being someone’s boyfriend requires a certain amount of more commitment rather than someone you’re just dating.

    Anyways, in essence I’d say you were just especially fond of those people and wanted to special things for them. A title is not required for that.

    • Nick Delmacy | January 9th, 2015
      0

      Hmmm, while I don’t really disagree with anything you’ve said…I’ve rarely met anyone (straight or gay) who’s had “a conversation” about being boyfriend/girlfriends. From what I’ve seen/heard it just kinda evolves to a point where its either understood or one of the persons casually says it and the other person doesn’t disagree, lol

      • Dr. Strange
        Dr. Strange | January 9th, 2015
        +2

        That’s interesting because I’ve actually observed the opposite. I’ve met people who tend to be very clear on where people stand in their lives. People I know don’t tend to throw around titles like friend, boyfriend, husband etc. lightly.

        Either way, even if their is a mutual understanding in a casual setting, some type of conversation on the subject has to occur or else one runs the risk of confusion. That’s like failing a key point of a relationship, communication, before it’s even bloomed.

  2. Mee | January 9th, 2015
    +1

    I’ve dated a few people who’ve disagreed with me on the differences between a date, a boyfriend, and a relationship. To me, boyfriends and relationships involve much more than ignoring friends and marathon tv watching. A boyfriend is somebody that I would be willing to invest a lot in…like joint bank accts, living together, family introductions…he’d be someone that I’d try to build a life with. Dates are people that I have good connections and good chemistry with. We may spend time, consider each other, watch entire seasons of tv on netflix, look out for each other, and have fun etc. To me, that’s just enjoying each other and living in the moment.

  3. BlackguyExecutive | January 9th, 2015
    +5

    I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of 4 years this past July. I think what you have described here correct that the terms mean different things for different people. When I first started dating my now current fiance/boyfriend…we went through an almost year long courting period. Meaning we date each other and went on dates with other people….eventually, I no longer wanted to see other people and he had never really thought about seeing other people and we became official boyfriends, in that exclusive type of way.

    We had always talked about marriage and I have always thought of myself as getting married to the right person in the future. I have found that person and we will get married in October of this year. What makes a boyfriend different from a husband (not including the over 1000 rights and benefits set forth in law) but its a symbol of status. When a person refers to their SO as Husband or Wife….everyone immediately understand the nature of that relationship. Boyfriend doesn’t hold that same status. That’s the reason why there was a big push for marriage equality…its a symbol of a certain status.

    Also, on a side note on the marriage front. The single most instrumental factor in wealth creation is marriage. Its easier to create wealth. The primary source of wealth creation is buying a house….sure boyfriends can buy a house together and create wealth but not a the pace or ease of married couple.

    • achris
      achris | January 9th, 2015
      +2

      Congrats to you!!!

  4. SB3000 | January 9th, 2015
    0

    What kept consistently happening that kept you guys from having ‘the talk’, and maintaining the relationship, regardless of the title?

    While I def think actions speak louder than words (titles), there’s clearly a lot of weight behind making the mutual decision to be exclusive.

  5. Ocky Williams | January 9th, 2015
    0

    I’m from the school of thought that the terms are used too loosely or overused. Personally I have never liked or referred to men I’m dating as boyfriends.

  6. Discordant | January 9th, 2015
    +4

    Well the difference between a boyfriend and husband is largely based on the legalized rights and protections to property and self that you two enjoy. But I do think the term “boyfriend” carries its own social contract. You’re (usually) agreeing to exclusivity in dating and sexual activities and essentially telling them and the world that they are a major priority in your life. That contract creates a new set of expectations and I would say is universally acknowledged as you being an official couple.

  7. alton
    NYCforEVER | January 9th, 2015
    0

    I never thought of this before, but the term ‘Boyfriend” for gay men could very well be a psychological substitute for “Marriage”, since for the longest time marriage was never a (legal) option for us. So muhfukaz ARE very hesitant to give someone that title, just like str8 people dont run around (seriously) callin someone their husband or wife (not to be confused with ‘Wifey”). The parameters for ‘Boy Friend” material are (like many things) completely subjective and determined by the individual(s). For me, a BF would entail monogamous, honest, meeting most of my desired physical traits in a man, someone I could co-mingle finances with, live with and not wanna blow my brains out after the first month, someone that knows all my friends (all two of ’em LOL), someone that I could never get tired of being around, and a whole host of other nuances. For others, a BF could just be someone that can come through, play Playstation, smoke a blunt, and f#$k the dog piss outta them once or twice a week. Maybe go out to McDonalds or Xing Wan Wok every now and again to grab something to eat. Completely subjective.

    • Nick Delmacy | January 9th, 2015
      +1

      Yeah very subjective, because I’m not co-mingling finances or getting joint bank accounts with any dude who’s just a “Boyfriend.” What you described sounds more like a full on Marriage to me. So I agree with you, very subjective depending on which Homo you’re talking to, lol

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | January 9th, 2015
        +1

        LOL Hence why I said…” ‘Boyfriend” for gay men could very well be a psychological substitute for “Marriage”, since for the longest time marriage was never a (legal) option for us.” Me personally, I kinda with you. I’m not co-minglin’ a GOTdamned thing until I know for DAMN sho’ who a muhfucka really is. I’ll SHARE in the meantime, buy a muhfuka dinner, maybe a tie… no ties expensive as shit… a shirt, ec , but you not getting access to my bank account no time soon. Fuck around and find out I been paying some otha nigga college tuition, buildin’ they wardrobe, and/or financin’ they fantasy life with my hard earned $’s, then my black ass is in jail for life. smh

  8. ControlledXaos | January 9th, 2015
    +2

    I think “Boyfriend” should be reserved for when both parties are exclusively dating each other and both are not actively trying to pursue more people to date nor, are they responding receptively to unsolicited advances.

    Men who you are dating and there’s no formal exclusivity or none expected, are ‘friends’.

    As I’ve gotten older and look at the variations of seriousness in my past relationships, the term “Boyfriend” evolves as you do and mature. Are you both committed to each other? Then you are ‘boyfriends’ by my terminology. That’s your ‘man’, ‘guy’, ‘dude’ etc… all that applies if it is what you use for an exclusive commitment betwixt you and the other party for romantic purposes.

  9. RolandG
    Rolandgarros28 | January 9th, 2015
    +1

    I remember asking @ocky something similar to this before and he addressed it in his relationship podcast. I believe I asked when do you reclassify your relationship status from period to period. Legal relationships are easy to classify as they involve paperwork. In my many years on this earth, i’ve never had a specific conversation in which i’ve told a guy, “I would like for you to be my boyfriend.” LOL That sounds corny. My relationships have mostly just been understood. I might say something to a dude like, “You know, i haven’t even thought about dating another guy in months,” or I might say, “I guess i’ll delete my dating profile and see where this goes.” What never follows is me using the word boyfriend. I hate that word.

    And @nick…a couple of things; that dude that liked Cinnamon Toast Crunch has excellent taste. Second, driving 10 miles to help a dude fix his car is chivalrous. Shows that you were willing to help. Now driving an hour to help a dude who’s having car troubles and then whipping out the credit card to pay for the parts to fix it means you’re definitely boyfriends. LMAO

    • Nick Delmacy | January 11th, 2015
      0

      Yeah I agree, never actually heard of anyone having “The Talk” like @sb3000 said, except in the movies and TV shows. To be honest, in hindsight, if I was on the phone while sitting next to one of my past guys (after dating for 2 straight months) and said, “I’m over here with my boyfriend.” They wouldn’t have disagreed. But because neither of us actually did that, said it out loud, that seemed to not make it real for either of us. I went on out-of-town trips and everything with one dude. That’s more than just someone I’m fond of like @dr-strange said. Him and I had a talk a year later and we both admitted we pretty much were in a hindsight relationship, lol

      • SB3000 | January 11th, 2015
        0

        By, the talk, I meant, with any situation that had existed for a bit of time, finally stopping to ask, ‘so, what are we doing?’ Clearly, thats atypical for some ppl. I personally dont mind sharing my time w you w/o a commitment, I just need to know what lane we’re in. And closed mouths dont get fed.

        • achris
          achris | January 12th, 2015
          +1

          Yea, in every exclusive dating situation ive had there has definitely been some type of talk in which we ask “what we are doing” and “what we are.” It just saves the confusion later bc the other person actually may not have the same thoughts about your situation as you do (ive seen it 1,000 times and experienced it personally). Also, I can’t really hold you to “boyfriend” expectations (dating other people, sex with others, etc) if there has never been a discussion about what the situation is. Again, I see people do this all the time.

          • ControlledXaos | January 12th, 2015
            +1

            Many guys would rather assume than face possible rejection. The problem here is that if you assume wrong, you have to face the fact that your assumption is wrong and look crazy, drinking your moscato and listening to your Mary J Mix CD from 1998.

            It’s better to ask and know than to assume and be wrong because if your ‘boyfriend’ that you’ve assumed is the type who requires the declaration that you two are in fact and exclusive couple before he will be exclusive with you, you’ll be waiting around forever if you are depending on him to bring it up.

            “Well yeen neva say notin’.”

            • alton
              NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
              0

              Splayed across the bed in that “filk” floral dooby wrap, listenin’ to “My Life” LMAO

              • ControlledXaos | January 13th, 2015
                0

                “Why he dew dis ta meeeeeeee?”

                • alton
                  NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
                  0

                  LOL cue the “Ugly Cry – Alien III” gif that Cyrus posted in the “Crying Partner” post LMAO

  10. IJS | January 10th, 2015
    +1

    The biggest problem with the boyfriend title is the commitment associated with it. A lot of men will act like boyfriends but won’t claim the title because of the perceived responsibility. This is totally fine if you’ve clearly communicated it to your partner and you’re both on the same page. I’ve learned the hard way that too much time together, very intimate moments, and unaddressed relationship status’ can quickly lead someone into believing that they have a boyfriend.

  11. Thabo Daba | January 11th, 2015
    +1

    I was recently involved with a guy and had the same dilemma. We went out out for about four dates, in two weeks. We were really into each other but I never knew what label to use to describe him to my friends. All my friends are straight and my best friend is a straight male who automatically sees everything in boyfriend / girlfriend terms. So at work and with friends everyone kept asking how’s my ‘boyfriend’ but I could never use that title. Alas him and I broke up after just a month of ‘seeing each other’. He basically moved to Cape Town whilst I stayed behind in Johannesburg. I could never call him my ‘boyfriend’ considering we weren’t together for so long yet at the same time I hate the idea that we’re just ‘dating’ without taking responsibility for what we really are: which is really boyfriends, no matter how early it may seem. I think what we choose to call someone is an indication of how strongly you feel about someone. Casual sex/dating buddies don’t count as boyfriends but the guy you want to take home for Sunday lunch with your folks is definitely a ‘boyfriend’.

    • Nick Delmacy | January 11th, 2015
      0

      Well said. Thanks for adding that anecdote to the discussion.

  12. BlackUrbanite | January 11th, 2015
    +1

    For one I don’t like the word boyfriend … I always use my man, hubby, lover. We’re men, I say anything but boyfriend.

    But it’s all relative … but I don’t think it’s a conscious thing, it just naturally evolves to relationship status. Well at least for me that’s how it went.

  13. PH Howard | January 12th, 2015
    +1

    This might sound corny but i always say this is my “soul friend” and i leave it up to others to decide what that means to them.

  14. tigerbreaux
    Tigerbreaux | January 12th, 2015
    +8

    For me, the bottomline is this: You aren’t in a relationship (boyfriend/girlfriend, boyfriend/boyfriend, etc) until you have a conversation about it and come to an understanding. You can do all of the aforementioned things you’d like and you can feel/think whatever you like about your situation, but at the end of the day, without that conversation you don’t know how that other person feels or what they’re doing once they leave your presence. Granted you could both feel the same way and be in denial or not even think about it, but I know PLENTY of instances where one party thought they were in a relationship and the other party was casually dating others without even realizing it was a problem. Communication is always key. By that same token, you can have a conversation and decide you’re going to do all the things that people in a relationship will do, but don’t want the label. Whatever works for you.

    That being said, the big difference between being in a relationship and being married is pretty obvious to me, but basically it’s the rights and entitlements that come with being married. You’re basically signing a contract that it costly to get out of. You don’t reap the benefits or incur the risk when you’re just a “boyfriend”.

  15. Awkward Black Boy | January 12th, 2015
    +4

    I wouldn’t have a boyfriend or consider someone my boyfriend unless we have that conversation. I actually have a hard time even saying I’m dating someone because I don’t want to assume shit so I just say we’re “hanging out” or “getting to know each other”. It’s all semantics really. I think two people know how they feel about each other and what they want. It’s just that the conversation probably isn’t had.

    • ControlledXaos | January 13th, 2015
      0

      This.

      I wonder about and how some guys can manage to give enough time and attention to 2+ dudes and they all feel like they are on cloud 7 but the guy isn’t exclusive and he doesn’t feel like he’s on an cloud or “oh we just hanging out and fuckin”

      This is why I feel like some guys really know that someone is in to them but they are really just gonna start on “I’m doing me” mode until they get that conversation. Which I understand on one hand but on the other, it just comes off as being really dense and greedy.

      Most of us complain about not being able to find anyone or people are not worth dating then you run into people where no one wants to put themselves our there. We don’t have to be so guarded and its not unmasculine to admit you like someone and want exclusivity before they say it.

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
        0

        Well…some muhfukaz consider it an effeminate and Str8 Black Women’s trait (an ig’nant ass philosophy imo) to want to be partnered up with someone in a relationship with the “official” title of BF, Man, Partner, what-have-you (Heaven Forbid, that would mean you ACTUAL have to consider committing to one person like….a Woman GASP!), so therefore you got dudes that just “go with the flow” but never establish anything cause they don’t wanna be considered Bitch Made for “expressing their feelings”. Then they end up all butthurt and bitter 6 months down the line when the situation turns out NOT to be what they had going on in their head. I don’t give a fuk, I work in “absolutes”. Lemme know whats going on from the beginning (meaning after about 2-3 months) so I know if I’m wastin’ my time or not. Muhfukaz is not mind readers.

      • IJS | January 13th, 2015
        +2

        Yeah, a lot of men reject the “bf” thing because they’re always looking for the next best thing or are chasing the idea of an ideal lover. Also, a lot of it has to do with immaturity and a lack of self acceptance. Having a boyfriend makes being gay a lot more real to some men.

        • alton
          NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
          0

          LOL True dat. I equate a lot of gay dudes’ pursuit of “perfection” to snortin’ Coke. You can only keep lookin for the “Next Best Thing” (high) fe but so long before you either realize it’s unattainable and just settle down and be accepting/appreciative of what you have (there’s ALWAYS gonna be someone better lookin’/sexier/nicer/etc than the one you with) or you gonna burn ya’self out in the process (That in itself could mean MANY things).

          • ControlledXaos | January 13th, 2015
            0

            I agree with this.

            Men need to learn and accept that the fact that there’s always going to be someone who is better in every aspect than the person that they are with. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work with what you have. To try to go through the process of establishing a relationship and trust with someone else, when 9.5 times out of 10, it’s only because of physical attributes, when next week you are guaranteed to see someone who you think is equally or even more attractive.

            It’s just too much work.

            I think with gay men, “Boyfriend” is so major because until recently, only a few same sex couples could make it more concrete than that with marriage. Now that that’s a thing, the title does become real since we are still in a shift as far a marriage goes that I think will take another generation gay men for it to really set in but, “Boyfriend” probably in the ‘finance’ sense of traditional terms now since “Husband” is an actual title a man can call another man in more than half of the USA.

  16. Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
    0

    I think a lot of these commenters either didn’t read the post or they have a black & white idea of what a BF is…Maybe its based on the gay marriage thing…I think there is an overemphasis on “commitment”, as if they were proposing to the dude.

    Like really?! So the ONLY difference between a boyfriend and a marriage is the legal paperwork?! Like, there’s nothing in between “casual dating” and “Marriage”?!

    I don’t think many hetero couples get together as a couple in the first month of dating and say: “This is the person I’m going to marry. We just don’t have the paperwork, but we are already committed for life!”

    Also, in the 1000 words in the article, I never said that me and the dudes were dating other people at the same time. In actuality, for as much shit I talk, I don’t date multiple people often. At least not when I’m acting like a BF to a dude (ie: going on trips, seeing multiple times per week, always texting and talking on the phone, sleepovers, etc).

    I think actions are greater than words b/c there are a lot of ppl who “had the talk” and are so-called Boyfriends but they still act very Single.

    Not to disregard everyone’s answer to the question, I just wanted to explore the gray areas of dating a little more.

    • alton
      NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
      +4

      I think a lot of dudes DO have a “Black & White” of what a Boyfriend is. For the majority of dudes, it’s someone you’re in a monogamous relationship with, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Im one of those people, if I’m willing to refer to a dude as a BF or whatever, then we’re doing the trips & dinner shit and we not fuckin nobody else, so yeah, it’s the gay equivalent to a marriage. If Im kickin it to a dude and we doin the trips & dinner thing, but we haven’t established anything serious, then you not my BF, and you not my friend…you just a dude that I’m spending time with and fuckin every now and again. I don’t see what’s so wrong with dudes who like to have a “title” to back their position. It might not make much difference in the bigger scheme of things since a nikka gonna cheat regardless, but the “title” I guess actually MAKES the sleepin around a “valid” offense. If we not BF’s, then I got no right to get mad over you pluggin/gettin’ plugged by some other dude, but if we supposedly in a relationship and you with everybody else on the block then yeah, we got probs. And that is the basis of why so many dudes keep that shit in a “gray” area cuz muhfukaz want the cake, the icing, AND the muhfukin plate the shit is served on, but do nobody wanna take the time to bake the shit.

      • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
        0

        Even the sum of a marriage is more than just “Commitment.” Seems to me by your comments, you would be in a relationship with a guy who was lacking in EVERY way as a boyfriend….just as long he was committed and monogamous.

        All I’m saying is there are many guys out there who have never had “The Talk” who are acting like boyfriends and not even dating other people. I have been that dude on MANY occasions. In hindsight, this was more than “just hanging out”…however, we never called each other boyfriends…

        • alton
          NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
          0

          Dude, lets not start the Gymnast Semantic Wordplay. None of my comments in reference to my idea of a committed relationship on CA have ever alluded that I would be in a relationship JUST because a dude was monogamous. Quite the contrary. I’m just saying, if “I” am spending time with a dude on a “relationship type” level for a long period of time, I find solace in having a title attached. YOU obviously don’t feel the need for that, and there’s nothing wrong with that, just like its nothing wrong with dude that DO want a title. Again, the shit is completely subjective and few people are gonna share the same criteria. So the end point is do what works for you, but don’t try and down the next nikka because he doesn’t conform with your own ideals.

          • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
            0

            Man stop being sensitive. If you think any of my comments here have been downing anyone else, this must be your first day on this site, welcome.

            All I read in the above comment wan an overemphasis and over desire on having “the title.” Its like a female showing off her engagement ring to the girls over brunch mimosas.

            My question has repeatedly been: What if you’ve been a boyfriend without being “the boyfriend”? Do the actions/behavior matter just as much, if not more than, the arbitrary title or “conversation”?

            This is the question not many people have actually answered.

            • alton
              NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
              0

              Not being sensitive or “angry” at all, bro. Its impossible to convey proper sentiment via text w.out it being construed as overly emotional. I’m just saying in regards to what people have been commenting on, there’s no solid line as to what the criteria of what a BF is and when/if the title should be established. In regards to YOUR question in the post (which admittedly I haven’t answered clearly)…

              “What if you’ve been a boyfriend without being “the boyfriend”? Do the actions/behavior matter just as much, if not more than, the arbitrary title or “conversation”?

              I don’t see where a definite response could even be drawn with that even if people tried to answer it. If you are or have been a ‘BF” without being a BF, then your actions/treatment towards and of the other person are the exact same of those that you’de show towards a BF/Partner, BECAUSE you’re being a BF, with or w/out the “official” title. There’s nothing to base the validity of action off of because in either scenario you’re actin as if your a legitimate BF. I’m not gonna say “Oh, in hindsight since me and homeboy wasn’t really official but we still acted like we was official my actions woulda been different had we been established BF’s” nah, because in my mind the nigga would’ve been my BF w/out having the title, so therefore I’m treatin’ him exactly the same I would any other dude I’de consider my partner. That’s like askin a str8 couple who’ve been in love and together for 25yrs unmarried, if in hindsight would they have treated each other any different if they had been married, or if their actions/feelings toward each other would’ve been more valid/intense had they been married. ijs, that’s my opinion.

              • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
                0

                “I don’t see where a definite response could even be drawn with that even if people tried to answer it.”

                *He follows that statement with an 180 worded answer.*

                LOL Welcome to Cypher Ave, Ladies and Gentleman! We’re here all night!

                • alton
                  NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
                  0

                  Dude, did you draw a “definite” answer from my 180 words, other than there IS no definitive answer? My 180 words (I’m mad you really took the time to count each word) were explanations of how NO definite response could be given to your proposed question.

                • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
                  0

                  LOL Again, if you think we’re looking for definitive answers to the questions we pose for discussion: This must be your first day, Welcome to Cypher Avenue!

                  All I was seeking was for people to start actually TRYING to tackle the question posed instead of responding with romantic treatises about lifelong commitments and Marriage.

                • alton
                  NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
                  0

                  “This must be your first day, Welcome to Cypher Avenue!”

                  Thanks, Im sure I’ll enjoy my time here. Seems like a kool ass site. LOL

                  Anyways, so then lets see. Now that you’ve re-established your initial inquiry, lets see if anyone tackles the “topic at hand” and if anyone could discern the actions of a “BF who’s not a BF” but both muhfukaz ACT like BF’s from those of a Boyfriend who is a Boyfriend” and both muhfukaz have ESTABLISHED their “boyfriendship” I’m sure the diversity in commentary will be astounding. LOL

                • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
                  +1

                  True. I still expect many of the same “Mary J Blige Syndrome” comments from men who have been scorned by the “What are we?” dating question ambiguities.

            • Awkward Black Boy | January 13th, 2015
              +1

              I think that they are both equally important. For me anyway. If we’re, or I’m doing things that a boyfriend should be doing and there is no title at some point I’m going to feel like I’m doing all of this because I’m invested and would like to continue, but you possibly don’t. That’s just my own paranoid neurotic mind at work though. On the flip side, if we have the discussion and one or neither person is backing it up with action then what the fuck are we doing here? Actually, after typing this I’m leaning towards prefer action over the title if I can’t have both for whatever reason.

              • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
                0

                Yeah I know this heterosexual white couple who are NOT married, yet they have been together TIGHT for at least 7-8 years, they have a home together, pet cats together, share finances, have a home Christmas Party every year…In my mind they are married, yet they don’t have the Title or Legal Paperwork…does that make them less than married and committed life partners?

                The guy in this relationship told me they don’t plan on getting legally married until EVERYONE can get married. Yet they are still married in the minds of all that know them.

                To each his own, I guess. I doubt they give any care about a Title to validate their relationship.

                • alton
                  NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
                  0

                  So, then use this example to answer your own question…would his and her actions toward one another to be considered any different/more/less valid than if they were actually married? Since he’s essentially being the ‘Husband w/out Being The Husband” and she ‘The Wife w/out Being The Wife”.

                • Awkward Black Boy | January 13th, 2015
                  +2

                  I think this all just shows we have no idea what the fuck we’re doing. Just winging it.

                • Awkward Black Boy | January 13th, 2015
                  0

                  Marriage is really a romantic security blanket. Having that type of relationship without any security scares people. As it should.

                • achris
                  achris | January 13th, 2015
                  +2

                  But I am sure this couple has established a relationship that has clear expectations, boundaries, etc. despite not being legally “married.” I would bet that if someone asked them what they were to each other they wouldn’t being going off a feeling alone when expressing their answers. I would assume, since they are living together and mingling finances, that they have had to do this through some form of CLEAR communication, even if it is to express that they are happy living together as unmarried people. At some point I would think they have had to come to the conclusion that, in fact, they are partners having their hands in key areas of each others lives (how they did this I don’t know but i would assume you would not open a bank account with someone without some type of discussion about the relationship). The term partner, in itself, is a title (whether it is used romantically or in business) and has a certain level of expectation to it even if the people are not traditionally married (my cousin and his now wife operated this way for a while). It is not quite the same thing as cooking breakfast for a dude that sleeps at your house every weekend for a few months after watching netflix all night and assuming that, bc this is a regular occurrence, you are somehow in this title-less relationship without ever having any conversation about what is actually going on. Frankly, it just may be a little easier to exist in the way aforementioned than to face the fact that you MAY be more “in it” than the other person when it comes down to the wire, as most people are not fans of rejection or not getting the response they may hope for.

              • alton
                NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
                0

                “I think this all just shows we have no idea what the fuck we’re doing. Just winging it.”

                Pretty much, my dude. If we were all “experts” in this shit, there would be no need for these topics/debates on CA. LOL I think we all get some good insight on how other dudes see shit, and that helps us all get a little ‘better” at the game.

                • Awkward Black Boy | January 13th, 2015
                  0

                  The game is frustrating if you refuse to play. It’s almost like if you don’t adopt the “When in Rome” mentality, it’s a rap.

            • alton
              NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
              +1

              “True. I still expect many of the same “Mary J Blige Syndrome” comments from men who have been scorned by the “What are we?” dating question ambiguities.”…

              “If you think any of my comments here have been downing anyone else, this must be your first day on this site, welcome.”

              While I might agree with your perception of “Drake Ass” “Mary J. Blige Syndrome” dudes to a certain extent and under certain circumstances, that comment in itself seems a lil’ condescending to the dudes that do function under “what are we” relationship criteria, my dude. Like if somehow you’re “better” because you don’t feel the need to function under said parameters. Just comes off madd “Hoity Toity/ Holier(Manlier) Than Thou” LOL
              obamanoxious.jpg

              • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
                0

                LOL If any black gay men visiting this website thinks that comment was offensive then they’ve obviously have never read comments on Youtube, MediatakeOut, Bossip or WorldStarHipHop #IJS #GrowASack #TheresNoCryingInBaseball

                • alton
                  NYCforEVER | January 13th, 2015
                  +1

                  C’mon now, you know dudes STAY butthurt over topics on this site. LOL

            • ControlledXaos | January 13th, 2015
              0

              My question has repeatedly been: What if you’ve been a boyfriend without being “the boyfriend”?

              I’m not sure if I’ve been there and done that, but I have prioritized in a way where, I’d return their phone calls first or if they call when I’m on the phone with someone else, tell that guy “Let me get this, I’ll hit you back.”

              Partly because I really liked this person more than the others and wanted to ‘invest’ to stake my claim. So maybe I did do some ‘boyfriendly’ things as a gamble to get to what I wanted at the end, even if we didn’t have the talk, it was too early to have said talk.

              This is possible what many of us are doing and not really realizing it. We like A. A is hot. He’s saying the right things and we are sitting there day dreaming about how awesome A is so we are doing all this above and beyond for A. Meanwhile, A thinks you are cool and stuff but he’s just not there. We don’t know this but we like A so we don’t mind.

              It’s not until A tells us that he’s not feeling us like that we get the butthurt.

              As been said, communication is key.

              If we like someone, we need to just put it out there and take the chance. Better to get the rejection and clarity than the ambiguity and heartache. Fall back if you have to and find someone else. There’s ALWAYS someone else. Hell, and inital rejection could turn into acceptance after someone takes a minute to think about it.

              Monday rejection could turn into something positive by next Wednesday.


              Do the actions/behavior matter just as much, if not more than, the arbitrary title or “conversation”?

              The actions are going to stay the same at least for me and hopefully, as time progresses, the intensity of said actions and additions of others will be included. But most of us are going to reserve any financial or property collection until some papers are filled out.

              During the courting period, if I’m feeling A more than B, then I’m going to do more for A just because. But if A graduates to boyfriend status, on Monday, it doesn’t mean we are going to the bakery to do wedding cake tastings on Friday.

              To me, once we have established that we are boyfriends and exclusive, there’s still time and room to grow the relationship. It’s an adjustment period. What ‘Boyfriend” to me means, in part, that we are exclusive emotionally and sexually and we are both making each other our priority. Loving, trusting, helping, supporting are all things that are going to take time to grow up to the point where we could consider our relationship concrete enough to move on to a marriage.

              We can be boyfriends, exclusive for years, do all the trusting and loving and still it may not work out as time passes and life happens to us a couple and as individuals and we may never have gotten to the point where ‘marriage’ was ever a thought.

    • SB3000 | January 15th, 2015
      0

      But hold up, cus u still havent explained why u never had ‘the talk’, or why things ended, eventho yall were doing all of this BF shit?!

  17. Awkward Black Boy | January 13th, 2015
    0

    I was evaluating some things based on this post and I need to get my shit together. Looks like I would sacrifice a bit, do favors for etc. For someone that isn’t even a boyfriend. Of course it’s more lower level favors. A boyfriend is important I suppose so I’d definitely be there to help more so than I would if we were just dating. I don’t really see a difference in how I would act with a boyfriend or husband except when it comes to finances.

  18. achris
    achris | January 13th, 2015
    +4

    I think it is very tricky (for lack of a better word) to assume anything about any situation without actually talking to the other person. Just because you see certain acts as “boyfriend” acts does not mean the other person, no matter how much time yall spend together, “connect,” etc., sees these acts in the same way. Most of the things listed in the article Ive done with people I just enjoyed hanging out with, may have gone on some dates with, but still did not necessarily see them in a “serious” light; we simply had a good time together. The problem is that ppl assume that certain things “mean” something and to the other person, it may not mean the same thing or anything at all. For me, establishing, through conversation, what we are is extremely important bc, not only does it speak to our ability to communicate our feelings with one another (which seems to be a struggle for a lot of dudes), once we establish that we are boyfriends and what that looks like for us, there is less room for interpretation and slick sh*t. IMO There is a different level of responsibility that goes with a title. For me, if we are just dating/seeing each other but have not established that we are in a relationship or have a boyfriend situation, that does not mean I won’t respect you, but there is still a certain level of access you don’t have.

    • Awkward Black Boy | January 13th, 2015
      0

      Truth. I had to learn the hard way that just because something meant the world to me doesn’t mean it mean anything to the other person. Assumptions lead to trouble. I also agree with your statement that having a clear understanding of what you are what expectations you have creates very little wiggle room and forces you to be responsible for your actions.

    • SB3000 | January 15th, 2015
      0

      Ok grasshopper, I see u!

  19. RolandG
    Rolandgarros28 | January 13th, 2015
    0

    As careful as I am with my money, I’m definitely going to need a title, a ceremony, notarized paperwork, two witnesses and possibly a prenup before I co-mingle finances. LOL But for real, the word “boyfriend” just seems to be insufficient. Some people use it to describe that person that they spent happy times with whether it was exclusive or not or 2 weeks or 2 years. How do you introduce the man you’ve been dating exclusively for 2 months to your friends without sounding like a douce? I prefer my dude over boyfriend, however, i had one gut tell me he was put off by me calling him my dude. Then, what label do you give to the guy you dated for only a brief period? Again, most of the time I just say, “oh that’s a guy I used to date.” It’s always been interesting to me to see people who have been together, exclusively, for several years and still use the boyfriend term. At that point, I would think you would refer to each others as partner instead of boyfriend but not so for many. When I feel like I can trust a dude to co-mingle finances, and give him keys to my place etc, only then might he get a title of fiance/partner. Until then, he’s just a guy I’m dating.

    • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
      0

      This is probably one of the only comments here so far that actually contemplated the complex question posed. I agree with your assessment in many ways. I would add that, for me, looking back and even saying “he’s a guy I used to date” for certain dudes feels insufficient (as you correctly phrased it). Yeah, there are the dudes I went on a few dates with then never contacted again. But the ones I actually cared for, did things for, looked forward to getting that text from, planned a whole weekend around, took off work for….we both even still think about each other from time to time….those weren’t just “guys I used to talk to…” But we weren’t the quintessential “Gay Boyfriends” seen in this photo either, LOL

      article-0-1E3F22DB00000578-496_634x635.jpg

      • RolandG
        Rolandgarros28 | January 13th, 2015
        0

        You done gone too damn far nick. LOL But these two actually refer to each other as partner if i’m not mistaken. I’ve heard them say it in their interviews. I’ve never had anything near as close to this where i’m sharing a home with another man, taking christmas pictures in front of the christmas tree and combing his daughters hair. LOL So if this is boyfriends, I damn sho ain’t never had a boyfriend. If anyone else has a better characterization for what i’ve experienced, i’m all ears.

        But for real, you wrong for that picture. Maybe 98% of the gay community would classify this particular relationship as a partnership and not boyfriends. I know you’re exaggerating for effect though. LOL

        • Nick Delmacy | January 13th, 2015
          0

          LOL yeah, slight exaggeration…but read the comments posted below from dudes on what constitutes a being “boyfriend” and this photo wouldn’t be too far off from that.

          • RolandG
            Rolandgarros28 | January 13th, 2015
            0

            Ok. I see what you mean now. LOL But in all fairness, most of the guys posting, in my opinion, are speaking more in terms of the specific activities they would expect of this “boyfriend.” I just think the term is used so frequently and loosely because it is the easiest word to classify a person. Look at this sentence from the always reliable Wikipedia…

            A 2005 study of 115 people ages 21 to 35 who were either living with or had lived with a romantic partner notes that the lack of proper terms often leads to awkward situations, such as someone upset over not being introduced in social situations to avoid the question.”

            Now this sums up my experience. Sometimes, I almost cave and just call the guy my boyfriend so I don’t feel awkward introducing him. Like i wrote before, I had a guy get very upset about how I introduced him and the others will wrinkle their brow at certain terminology. It’s just an easy word, sorta like it’s easier to say this is my fiancee instead of this is the guy that proposed marriage to me and we have every intention of getting gay-married on Fire Island this summer. That’s how I think most of gay men see it. Possibly straight folk too.

            • SB3000 | January 15th, 2015
              +1

              1. I personally, have always felt that ‘partner’ sounds soooo fukn gay.

              2. Boyfriends are boyfriends. Just becus ur gay doesnt make it some new sub lane of boyfriend. It applies in the same way as the last bf ur mama/sister/aunt/cousin had.

              3. Sans the kids, that pic represents a reality that many of us have lived. 2 names on a lease, budgeting, paying bills, n also taking annual vacays to some island. Jackd/grindr will have you fooled, but legit relationships arent exclusively atypical to gay men.

              • ControlledXaos | January 15th, 2015
                0

                Thank you!

                Can some brothas get the benefit of the doubt that we are actually capable of having a shared life with some other dude?

                Do we REALLY need to see ‘our stories’ on TV and the media for this because I’m really wondering if dudes just stay on Defeatist Attitude or they just don’t know any better?

    • Pensive | January 15th, 2015
      0

      LOL. I had to laugh at this. I’m in FULL agreement. If you don’t have the key ,y’all just fuckin, period! The “preferred” booty call.

  20. straight_up | January 14th, 2015
    -5

    LOL at this conversation! It’s pitiable that grown azz ashy men are debating back and forth about when it’s appropriate to call another grown azz ashy man a ‘boyfriend.’ This is an exercise in futility because the reality is MOST relationships don’t work, and LEAST of all gay relationships. So having said that, it doesn’t matter what or when you call him or it, chances are it’s temporary anyway, so why use the energy?

    Gay men are some of the most unrealistic people on the planet. I can’t believe black gay men have bought into this hype of boy meets boy. That’s some fairytale shit if I ever heard it- right up there with the Grimms’ and their book of fairytales, LOL. We should know better.

    The cold reality is, in general, male/male relationships don’t work. That’s not to say that they CAN’T work….it is possible….but they DON’T. And before you all come with that tired shyt that you know some gay couple in a “successful” relationship, just know that, assuming that’s true, they do not represent the average living black gay man- thus are in the extreme minority. If I were a bettin’ man, I certainly wouldn’t place money on those odds!

    The truth is that the “playing house” thing is not in the cards for gay men. Many try to force it because society likes to tell people that they’re worthless if they are single, but the reality is that we gave up that “privilege” when we all decided to play on this side of the fence. It’s not happening naturally. It is what it is. Accept it and move on.

    Any gay man in 2015 that’s still hoping for and looking for the gay equivalent of the ‘house with the picket fence’ is setting himself up for complete disappointment. Especially those that are over 30.

    Sorry for that reality, fellas…but better you hear it here than in the streets.

    • alton
      NYCforEVER | January 14th, 2015
      +3

      http://media.giphy.com/media/uOqyDdAwZcYFO/giphy.gif

      Damn, I thought I was bitter. You’re like a Kale flavored sugar free Sour Patch Kid, my dude. LOL!!

      • Nick Delmacy | January 14th, 2015
        +2

        dont-feed-the-troll.jpg

        • straight_up | January 14th, 2015
          0

          HA! Call me what you like….just don’t call me a liar 🙂

          Oh, and the bitter moniker is played like the high top fade, fellas. If you can’t come better than that, don’t come.

    • IJS | January 14th, 2015
      +1

      Your perception is YOUR reality.

    • ControlledXaos | January 14th, 2015
      +4

      tumblr_inline_ndqc17q6TM1sqqavy.jpg

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | January 15th, 2015
        0

        LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | January 15th, 2015
        0

        This fuckin GIF, STILL has me crackin up. LMAO

        • ControlledXaos | January 15th, 2015
          0

          Let me just say that I love this one so much that I have just been waiting for an excuse to drop it somewhea!

    • Pensive | January 15th, 2015
      +1

      I’m going have to agree with you on this. Not from a bitter perspectIve but more realistic as I believe is your approach to the subject .
      I personally have had three successful longterm (2yr) “involvements, which you can rightfully term relationships. But having the approach that some friendships are for REASONS AND SEASONS help me keep everything in perspective.
      Men are KINGS. You can become “allies”. But the average ,closer to the masculine side of the spectrum male is going to be challenged in the constant submissive /dominant tightrope that takes a lot of energy to balance ,when you are in fact dealing with another “King” and not a ‘wife’ with a dick.

      Getting through four consecutive seasons is a major achievement in itself. Learn , grow and love. And work towards the softest “landing” possible when you see things nosediving, which nine time out of ten it will, in time.
      Looking at it this way motivates you to give your daily best until inevitably someone has outgrown the other for one reason or another, with one hundred created reasons for why it happened,or to make it happen on time, as in cheating and getting caught (wink).
      I like to enjoy the ride I chose to get in and hope I survive the crash unscathed .
      For some reason I like the term “special freind” because I don’t deal with ‘boys’.
      I strive to see a fork in the road where I can look back and say I learned and grew. It’s the best you can expect with men.
      As a side note, none of us really know what goes on its these longterm relationships. Many stay in them and indulge them for many reasons that have little to do with actually loving the other person unconditionally.
      We’d be surprised what Dante and Hakeem are up to when no one is looking…….

      • achris
        achris | January 16th, 2015
        0

        I know this was not your main point and that we all speak from our own personal experiences, but when will gays realize that we don’t know what is going on with dante and AMANDA or dante and hakeem. I say that to say that ALL relationships are difficult, all take work, all take compromise, people change and outgrow each other in all types of relationships. This argument that gay relationships are harder, I don’t know, its starting to become very played to me. I have str8 associates that cant seem to get it together, it has nothing to do with their orientation, it has to do with THEM. Although a lot of gay guys are in various stages of development, comfort, etc., that has to do with them as individuals. Contrary to popular belief, every man, even masc ones, are not the same.

        • Pensive | January 16th, 2015
          +1

          @achris.
          You are correct everyone is not the same . But we are speaking statistically and in general. Men tend to not be as controlled by and large when it comes to longterm monogamy. Why fantasize with those odds when you can just take a pragmatic approach to the situation. Even if it means as a younger man being involved with someone much older because he simply isn’t going anywhere fast if he has gotten the prettiest houseboy he can get.
          I agree , straight situations are not much easier. In the end , relationships are maintained by both parties working on their character. That’s alot of inner work most aren’t will to put in or see the need to, depending on their agenda. And most often than not young men have wide and varied “agendas” which they should have with the short amount of time there is to live healthy and able. So the tendency is very strong to create a reason to bounce when whoever you’re with is no longer serving purpose. This is natural and mostly to be expected.
          I argue to prepare for that mentally ahead of time. Then when the fork in the road inevitably comes , you’re not so blindsided and crushed. The car crashes eventually in MOST cases. Just keep the car well maintained in the interim to get the best use out it. And enjoy the ride and be glad you traveled.

          • achris
            achris | January 16th, 2015
            0

            I get you…I just think we often sell ourselves short as gay black men…Its almost as if some of us question our right to being in loving, stable relationships (I actually think this issue is pervasive amongst the black community, gay or str8).

            • Pensive | January 16th, 2015
              0

              @achris
              Could the short sell be a direct result of not knowing what to realistically expect. Most people are not prepared for longterm close relationships resembling marriage in general. Few know just how much character it really takes to maintain one. What to model themselves after etc. We get a rush from someone one way or another. Seek someone we can be intimate with on the regular. And think that’s enough. When we find out it much more than that, we bail out.
              The fortunate few know for sure about relationship “counseling” whether it’s reading on your own. Talking with your spiritual leaders or a therapist. Few do that, or think they need to. So they fail.
              You have to really “want” to be monogamous. And you have to accept that it’s work. Otherwise you WIIL spin your wheels . One face to another.
              We are bombarded daily and hourly on how to fuck up a relationship through media and music. Someone is getting in your head,,,”these hoes ain’t loyal”…..or taking “a whole damn year to repair your body”. It goes on and on. Unless you are constantly putting constructive things on your mind in your view to relationships you’re going suck in all the negative out there which will color your persoective.
              Few prepare properly for a relationship. So they are bound to fail. As they often do.

      • straight_up | January 16th, 2015
        0

        Careful now @pensive, you keep speaking in reality like that and the CA goon squad will surely come at you with their bows flexed and arrows aimed squarely at your center mass, lol.

        Anyway, what you said is reality. You know it…I know it ….and THEY know it too. Some just choose to deny it and continue to live life with false and/or unrealistic expectations.

        What’s that old saying? Denial ain’t just a river in Africa, LOL!

        But, hey, at least you get to enjoy those cute little amusing ‘gifs.’ 😉

        • Pensive | January 16th, 2015
          0

          @straight_up
          Lol. You right on. Our psyche by nature, yearns for “happily ever after”. Problem is we’re not in Paradise. Truth is not something most want to face . But you save yourself much headache and disappointment longterm.
          It’s much easier understanding the faces change along the journey to ones sense of ….unity. Just pick your faces well till you get there.

    • SB3000 | January 15th, 2015
      +1

      Can yall add him to the list for the next prayer circle, please?!?!

      I mean, I can be a pessimist, but damn!! I cant get me a boo cus u done decided that black n gay equals ‘pull the damn trigger’?!

      • ControlledXaos | January 15th, 2015
        0

        If one’s mind is set to “Negative” all one’ll get are negative results.

        Now, all black, gay, masculine men have been pigeonholed into these slim black and white lanes because all of us ‘ain’t shit’? That’s some mad black woman, “No More Drama” “I’m Not Gone Cry” kinda thinking if there ever was any so IMO, dudes who think like that deserve what they get.

        You treat people how you want to be treated. If they don’t treat you the same, step. It may not be easy to do, but it’s a pretty simple solution.

        Every single union of two people, male+female, female+female, male+male is going to be as unique as those individuals are unique so we can’t throw blankets to cover every possible use case. But If one goes through the list of responses, you can find a lot of commonality and those are the basic truths that are self evident to me.

        You want my bank information? Not until we married.

        You want me to cosign for that Kia K900 (really, bro)? Not until we married.

        You want us to buy a new house? Not until we married.

        And yeah there’s some particulars that one dude may be okay with but another one may not be but that’s just part of the individuality of our opinions on the idea of a Serious Relationship That is Not Marriage/Engagement Where We Call Each Other “Special Friend” “Boothang” “Man” “Guy” “Boyfriend” “Partner” “Homie Lover Friend” or What Ever the Hell.

    • D'Juan | January 23rd, 2015
      +1

      Here’s the way I see this issue, and I’m going to try to not be too cynical here, but we have to stop existing in our romantic relationships without an eye on the door. It seems that too many gay men (myself included) are in relationships with the hope that someone “better” will be coming around. It seems that we are reluctant to call someone “boyfriend” because of commitment issues. If I call you my boyfriend, that means that I have to accept at least the possibility of “forever.” Many of us exist in a sort-of Peter Pan mentality and having grown-up relationships means growing-up. This is a difficult proposition for a lot of us. There are a lot of cultural influences at play here. On the one hand, society wants us to cultivate monogamous, hetero-normative relationships that look like the movies, but that’s a lot of pressure. On the other hand, we (individually) feel that being outside of hetero-normality means that we can make up the rules of relationships as we go. Only individual “couples” can work these things out. There is a huge amount of reconciliation and negotiation that has to be done in order to make these relationships work. We have to talk to the person we’re seeing and determine what those relationships are going to be. Only the individual can say what having or being a “boyfriend” is, and we have to not be afraid of talking about it with the person we’re seeing. We also have to be present in it without the expectation of the next best thing around-the-corner.

  21. hannibal
    Hannibal | January 14th, 2015
    +1

    I usually just assume that if he has sex with me then hes my boyfriend.

  22. Ocky Williams | January 15th, 2015
    +1

    Just curious, if ‘partner’ sounds too gay how isn’t ‘boyfriend’ too ‘teenaged-high-school-girly-while-drawing-hearts-in-a-diary’? I’m dealing with a grown man, not a boy.

    Also, how does a man have a boyfriend or stay someone’s boyfriend for years on end? So basically a dude is a boyfriend until you’re legally married? Nah Son.

    1_61_teen_phone.jpg

    • ControlledXaos | January 15th, 2015
      +1

      I hate ‘partner’ and I hate ‘lover.’

      I don’t have a problem with ‘boyfriend.’ Maybe it’s because I’m used to hearing it, even when grown women say it in reference to who they are dating at the time.

      “Man” “Dude” “Guy” “Muh fuhka”…I don’t care.

      • achris
        achris | January 16th, 2015
        0

        Ive never been to fond of the term “lover” either (its a very “dated” term to me, like something from the 80s). Boyfriend is cool with me; if we stay together past a certain point and are more advanced in our relationship, I think partner would be more appropriate.

    • tigerbreaux
      Tigerbreaux | January 16th, 2015
      0

      I completely agree. I may not know what exact term I’ll use (more than likely partner with some interchanging of terms given mood & crowd), but I DO know that once I reach a certain age (mid-to-late thirties), and have been with someone an extended period of time, I certainly won’t be calling him my boyfriend. Too sophomoric. The terms “Dude”, “Man” and “Guy” can and have all been used by men (gay or straight) to describe a platonic friend. The ‘partner’ almost always has a definite connotation of a relationship. I never saw what was wrong with the term, it shows you’re in it together.

      • ControlledXaos | January 16th, 2015
        0

        Guys are taking the ‘boy’ section of “boyfriend” too literally. Why not say “manfriend?”

        • tigerbreaux
          Tigerbreaux | January 16th, 2015
          0

          Eh, it’s all personal preference. I’m not saying that because I think it sounds even worse than all the rest lol.

        • Ocky Williams | January 16th, 2015
          0

          LOL ‘manfriend’ LMAO reminds me of…

          998777.jpg

          • ControlledXaos | January 16th, 2015
            0

            See…. Lolololol

  23. Enkil | January 24th, 2015
    +1

    After reading this article and listening to the accompanying podcast I have several thoughts…

    First and foremost if you shy away from having a conversation with someone on the direction that your relationship is taking I think that it belies a greater issue. How can someone take you or your intentions seriously if you’re too afraid to address them. Don’t get me wrong having some ambiguity in your relationship is a good thing (we all need a little wiggle room) but who the hell goes for months on end entertaining someone without a clear understanding of where you stand? Having a legitimate relationship requires that I am able to be vulnerable with you. How is that possible if we can’t even talk about what we’re doing?I’ve never understood that mentality.

    I have never been one to hastily slap a label on anything but anyone that I’m dating has a clear understanding of my intentions. For example, I’m kind of old fashioned so I court for atleast six months before I slap a label on it. Until that time we’re just casually dating. I’m free to see other people and so are you. If in that time we grow closer and decide to become exclusive that’s cool, if we decide to move on to other things that’s cool too. This method has worked well for me because it’s fair to all parties and no one feels like they’re wasting their time (Not to mention that it has netted me some really great relationships.)

    Where labels are concerned I prefer the term “partner.” I’m 27 and I’ve learned enough from my past “boyfriends” to know what I expect from a life-long “partner” (hence the distinctions). I feel like when you first start dating you have “boyfriends” (i.e. guys that you’re interested in and don’t mind committing to) but as you grow and date you become more selective about the things that you expect and the things that you will tolerate from someone that you plan to spend your life with (i.e partner). In short the major difference (in my mind anyway) between a “boyfriend” and a “partner” is standards. Your “boyfriend” standards tend to be superficial (“He has to be 5’7 -5’11 with tattoos, a 7 inch dick and nice clothes) whereas your standards for your partner are more refined (“He needs to be able to hold conversation about more than just entertainment”, ” He needs to have a passion for his craft so much so that it makes me want to learn more about it,” “He needs to be emotionally well adjusted and an effective communicator”). There is plenty of overlap between your “boyfriend” and “partner” standards but generally there is a HUGE difference between what you’re willing to tolerate in the short term and what you’ll tolerate in perpetuity. I’ve met plenty of guys that would be great boyfriends but terrible partners and knowing the difference has saved me alot of time.

    I do agree that there aren’t enough models for what “gay dating” looks like but I’ve never been one to look outside of myself for what my love life “should” look like. I fully believe that you write the rules of your relationship and no one else can/should dictate your terms.

    • Nick Delmacy | January 24th, 2015
      0

      There’s nothing to disagree with here except to say there is no “fear” in having not having “a conversation.” One thing I repeatedly stated is that many long-term couples (I’ve known) never really had a single “relationship defining conversation” that has been described by commenters. Like the conversation you see in TV Shows featuring angst-ridden teenagers and young adults.

      If I’m dating someone for 6 months and we’re having real discussions about everything imaginable, I’m sure at one point we’ve discussed what we’re ultimately looking for, whether presently or in the future. Typically, after many months, you just know you’re looking for the same thing…or not.

      I’d argue that if you’re seriously dating for 3 or more months and you don’t know if the person you’re with desires a relationship, just sex or is just filling time and you need him to “Spell It Out” for you…that belies an even greater personal issue. Just my opinion.

      • Enkil | January 24th, 2015
        0

        I feel you. I guess I don’t agree with the “you just know” part but I’m a blunt type of guy. I would prefer that we talk about everything even and especially when it may hurt my feelings. I don’t like working on assumptions lol.

        • Nick Delmacy | January 24th, 2015
          0

          True…but I’ve learned that when dealing with gay men, even “talking about everything” matters not when feelings are involved. Like, even when a man specifically says, “I’m just looking for friends” many times the other dude will still catch feelings and get disappointed. Also, many guys confuse lust for love, which is a whole different conversation in itself.

          • Enkil | January 24th, 2015
            +1

            Oh no doubt, men are full of shit lol. I think it’s fair to say that some times we don’t even know what we’re looking for; sometimes things just evolve in a way that you can’t anticipate. You find yourself saying “When the fuck did I start feeling this way?” I mean hey, such is life. I guess my comment refers to those subset of times when that isn’t the case.

  24. SwagJack
    SwagJack | March 22nd, 2015
    +1

    Dudes are pretty territorial by nature. So after a certain period of time you’ve been seeing somebody with consistency and you like where things are going, it’s natural to want to lock that down or at least have the conversation about locking that down. Going about it any other way leaves too many unanswered questions and assumptions about exclusivity, expectations, etc. Too nebulous for me.

  25. Manavie86
    Shammy Thy Manavie | May 20th, 2015
    0

    For me there will be only 2 terms. My “friend” and my “man”. Everyone is my friends no matter how close we’re. I’ll just follow the most archaic terminology and function. I helps and care about everyone just the same so they’re my friends. My “man” is probably use for someone that i’m monogamously in relationship with and began to live together. Should we proceed to marriage (If it’s legal), then i’ll call him my husband.

  26. scooter
    scooter | February 24th, 2016
    0

    During my early 20’s I used the term boyfriend a lot, but I’ve alway felt that term had a heteronormative connotation when it comes to the SGL community. As I tend to mature in life and in love (no pun intended), I prefer using the term partner when it comes to an exclusive SGL relationship, or the person I’m dating. However, when it comes to the man I choose to build my life with or per se marry I’ll begin using the term life-partner/husband for legal purposes. Idk that’s just my two cents 😇 be blessed!




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