I like to think I coined the term but I also like to think I am a lot smarter and more clever than I actually am. I probably didn’t make up the term for or concept of the not-a-boyfriend but have had many in my life, I can provide a great definition for who they are. A particular person in your life may actually be your not-a-boyfriend if any of the following behaviors sound familiar. A person in your life is definitely your not-a-boyfriend if multiple of the following behaviors sound familiar.
1. This person has romantically or sexually been in your life more than six months and you have never defined your relationship. I don’t know about you, you may be normal. I most assuredly am not, but people never leave my life. They simply waltz in and out most likely at their leisure like the revolving door of a hotel for christsake. Just when I think I have finally washed my hands clean of someone entirely, they pop back up and all too often get me in weak, nostalgic moments often triggered by indulging in the better part of a box of wine and then they weasel their way back in. I really have got to work on putting up a stronger front, but I don’t see it happening.
2. You take into consideration their opinion on certain things before making decisions about your life even when they aren’t directly affected by these decisions. I once stopped drinking for a NABF who had a particular distaste for alcohol and girls who drank. It was the most miserable two weeks of my life and I felt really stupid in the long run for giving up something I liked to do for someone who “wasn’t even my boyfriend”. I eventually told him I loved vodka more than I could ever love him and you could imagine how well that went over.
3. You expect things of this person. You expect them to call. You expect them to text. You expect them not to talk to your friends. You expect them to abide by the rules of being a decent member of humanity which we all know is no easy task for men. Then you get irrationally mad at them when they don’t- much like a girlfriend. But you are not their girlfriend.
4. You have ever described them as your boyfriend to someone that doesn’t know you well and doesn’t have time for the complicated tragedy that would ensue and possibly end in tears or rage should you actually try to define whatever the hell the two of you are at that particular moment since the answer changes every two seconds. Just the other day I got pulled over and the cop asked me where I had been. Like reflex I said my boyfriend’s because it’s just easier than explaining a person you randomly hook up with to fill the Grey’s Anatomy time slot during hiatus.
5. Your friends don’t like him. Your true best friends can be some of the most objective people in the world and you should listen to them. They see the whole situation and feel the whole situation right along with you without the cloud that comes from having emotions for someone. Listen to them when they say he sucks. They are probably right.
6. You have ever let your not-a-relationship with this person hinder you from a potential actual relationship. I feel like there many have been many genuine good guys I could have had more than a not-a-relationship had I not been so hung up on my not-a-boyfriend. At the height of our not-a-relationship I often had trouble even kissing another guy. I felt like I was cheating on someone I wasn’t even in a relationship with. This is potentially the most ridiculous symptom of the not-a-boyfriend social phenomenon and looking back on it the most laughable of all. Never pass up kissing another guy you could be interested in because I can assure you, they are not passing up another girl.
7. You talk about hanging out more than you actually hang out. They always text you about how much they miss you or want to see you but often don’t do anything to change either. Not-a-boyfriends are pretty notorious for excuses. If a guy wants to see you he will and cut the bullshit excuses.
8. You feel like you’re in competition. You know it’s not locked down because there is no title and all of the implications that come with that. There’s nothing worse than wondering if such a big part of your life might completely walk out of it.
9. You stalk him. All girls stalk. It’s really a fact of life. If you’re a girl, and you say you don’t you’re not only a stalker, you’re a liar. Embrace it, bitch. You’ve drove by his house wine drunk at three AM with your best friend screaming picture to burn with all of the windows rolled down. There may or may not have been disguises involved in certain instances. And his social media? You could take a quiz by memory.
10. You have tried to end things at least once and failed. Not-a-boyfriends are hard to quit. It’s a habit that is so easily to slip back into because you didn’t actually go through the disaster of a breakup and you don’t have to go through all of the complications of actually getting back together with them. You’ve blocked them on facebook, Instagram, and twitter. Hell, even myspace so he would know he was THAT dead to you and it makes your strong, independent woman sound better when you tell your friends. But then you get bored. You want to makeout. You’ve had a few glasses of wine. They are all too easy to send a text to and fall back into the same patterns you were trying to get out of in the first place.
11. You want something more. You can act like your impending status (WTF are we ladies, mail) doesn’t bother you because you are a mythical creature more rare than a unicorn- a woman who can be sexually involved without being emotionally involved! They don’t exist. I am such a believer in a girl and a guy being just friends and I also believe that sex can be just that- sex. I don’t think that just because a guy kisses a girl they are together. What can I say, I’m evolved? But bottom line, it can only be just sex for so long. If you’re talking to someone regularly and being sexually involved someone is going to catch feelings eventually. It just happens. And it will bother you. It might not bother you enough to end things and it might not bother you enough to risk ruining what you do have by trying to define something you feel like you might be making too much out of. But when you watch the episode of One Tree Hill when Luke tells Payton she’s the one, deep down you know that’s what you want to. Because that we are girls and that is what we all want.
12. You deny that you like him. You do. You would not text him 24/7, go out of your way for him, or quite frankly keep having sex with someone if you didn’t like them. You may not want to be with them out of practicality but you still like them. Your friends put you on the spot about it all too often because once again, our best friends know us better than we know ourselves. Each time you deny it with an explanation that you are “just ______ insert lie here”. Most often this reason is yelled. My best friend told me once if you have to yell it, it’s not true.
13. You get really defensive about whatever the hell you are when someone asks you about it. Not everything you do has to be accepted by everyone you know, but when you feel the need to defend something you probably know deep down it’s not the best thing for you anyway and your defense is just a series of rebuttals to arguments you’ve had with yourself. The worst is when you start making excuses for the asshole to your friends. Don’t do that. Your friends get to hate him because he is a dick to you and that is your friend’s job.
14. Common Courtesies are one-sided. You would never dream of trying to “holla” (forgive me, I spent most of my formative years in the 2000’s) at one of his boiz but he doesn’t see a problem with texting your friends because “you aren’t together”.
15. He’s your go-to. You have a bad day, your wine drunk (I drink a lot of wine can’t you tell), the time void in your Thursday night when Grey’s Anatomy is on seasonal hiatus, and a day without talking to him just seems downright weird. You ask him to do “man things” for you and you literally cannot imagine your life without him.
The not-a-boyfriend can be a very valuable person in your life as long as your not-a-relationship doesn’t become destructive which I regretfully add is the case more often than not. A not-a-boyfriend often fills the void of being single without the restrictions of an actual relationship. If both parties are completely upfront and honest with each other about what they want in a not-a-relationship, it can actually be a beautiful, empowering thing that pretty much tells all stereotypes to go straight to hell. My crowning advice on relationships is if you have a good thing, enjoy it. If someone makes you happy then just be happy with them because it is such a rarity in today’s world to find someone that truly makes us blissfully happy. Honestly not everything needs a title and not-a-relationships can be some of the best friendships out there. The thing to remember is that a not-a-relationship should not require the work of an actual relationship or in some cases even more. It’s something that is supposed to be fun and easy. The second it becomes work for either of you the simple, carefree-ness than makes a not-a-relationship fun is gone and it’s just another problem in your life that you really don’t need homegurl.
Reprinted with permission from Thought Catalog. Want more?