“You’re staring at me.”
“I’m not allowed to stare at my girlfriend?” Panic. Fear. Wide-eyed, unabashed terror. I think he wanted to take it back as soon as he threw it out there but there it sat; a rock heaved into a placid pool.
He hasn’t used it since (at least not in front of my face) but I am so aware of it now. Girlfriend. It’s quite a leap. While I was under the impression that we were just dating, taking things one day at a time, leaving commitment out of it for awhile, I think he already has me holding a serious place in his life.
To me, using the “girlfriend/boyfriend” label signifies something more. It means meeting my parents and getting to know my brother. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and pretending to enjoy the Model as Muse exhibit at the Met because it’s important to me. It means that you are obligated to occasionally blow off your friends to watch romantic comedies with me because I had a rotten day at work. In other words, with the labels come a responsibility. And with the responsibility comes a promise that while maybe we’re not slipping rings on each others’ fingers, there is a commitment being made.
One reason why this has shaken me so much is because I am still petrified of the fall out. I’m scared that I’ll lay out my relationship expectations, he’ll recoil in typical-boy-fashion, and shudder at the thought of my definition of commitment... to me. And where will I be then? It’s easier to maintain the escape clause.