Defining Undefined Relationships

Florence Williamson
3 min readApr 11, 2023
lonely woman looking out of her window
Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

So you’ve been going out with someone for a while now. Things are looking well and the it’s clear that your feelings are mutual.

There’s just one problem.

When you finally meet their circle of friends, they introduce you as just a friend. Ouch!

Whatever you two have right now doesn’t have a label. Sure, it feels like you two are an item. It just isn’t official — yet.

Does this situation sound familiar? If not, that is what undefined relationships look like.

These setups aren’t new. They’ve been around since the rise of modern dating. If you find yourself in such a dilemma, take notes from the next few sections to help you navigate these tricky waters.

What Are Undefined Relationships?

These relationships are what their name indicates: undefined. There’s no label clarifying your status.

Think of it this way: you’re not “lovers”, but you’re definitely more than friends. The emotional connection is present, but the “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” tag is nowhere to be found. Do you see where this is going?

Why Do People Engage In Undefined Relationships?

I’m sure some of you have asked yourself this question: why do people avoid relationship labels?

There are folks who are scared of defining their relationships for various reasons.

One, they fear expectations. Relationships aren’t one-size-fits-all setups, and some want to maintain that without living up to conventional standards. The responsibility that comes with commitment may be too much for them.

Two, they’re scared of getting burned twice. Past experiences shape a person’s perspective, and for some, their first taste of love hasn’t been delicious. Once someone wants to have the DTR conversation, their first instinct is to run for the nearest exit.

Three, they simply don’t want something serious at the moment. They’re at a stage where they just want to have fun. While it isn’t a bad thing per se, it can be pretty disappointing for folks who want more than just a good time.

The Dangers of Undefined Relationships

At the risk of sounding like an old-school person, undefined relationships can be dangerous for your feelings. Why? These two reasons should give a clear explanation:

#1: You’re always unsure of where you are

Good vibes may abound, but the lines are blurry. Where are you two headed? Where do you stand in the other person’s life? How will you know the answers to these questions if your status remains undefined?

#2: You’ll always assume you’re overstepping boundaries

Are you doing something wrong? Are you saying the right things?

Asking ourselves these questions is easier because we control our actions. We can’t rant about the other person’s moves because we don’t know where their boundaries lie.

When to End Undefined Relationships

How do you know that it’s time to end things? The signals should give you a clear warning:

They avoid making plans with you

While you don’t have to be part of every moment, it’s suspicious when some of their future plans don’t have you in them.

You’re all alone in the setup

Are you the only person looking for affection in your current arrangement? Do they ignore your wants? If so, it may be time to move on.

They refuse to define your setup

If they adamantly say no to labels, here’s a hard truth you may not want to hear: they’re not the person you’re looking for.

Undefined relationships aren’t for everyone, and that shouldn’t be an issue. Don’t compromise your feelings just for the sake of having someone around in your life.

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