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Why You Should Never Ask “What Are We?” In A Relationship

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I was recently asked “What are we? Where do I see this going?” by a girl who I’ve avoided a wet spot with. If you’ve ever been asked this question, you know that the relationship is as good as done. This relationship is a boring horror movie and she’s saying, “Just tell me the ending.”

I’ve written about that in the past. But before coming to terms with just letting them know that this all ends in blood (me knowing she got her period and it ending), your mind jumps around. How could she not know what THIS is? What about the loose plans that always got canceled and the cell phone I put face down on the table was an indication that we had some direction? Those two in the morning diner chicken fingers weren’t a homemade dinner date I planned. Meeting my roommate wasn’t “a step.” The paper towels I threw to you for bodily fluid cleanup weren’t hand cut flowers. Then you calm down. You think about whether there’s a future or not. You realize how ridiculous that question is when you barely know this person outside of their beauty marks. You’ve been put in an unfair position. You acted honestly and the other, equal party, never gave detours or stop signs directing you towards their own honest destination.

I do understand what the person wants. They want to protect themselves. The guy asking “What are we?” is protecting his ego. His friends know that he’s left them to go the extra mile for someone he likes. If she just drops him then they’ll know his penis was small, his jokes weren’t that funny, and he asks, “Does this feel ok?” a lot during sex. And for a girl, it’s protection against wandering the single desert. She found a guy who she knows is safe and STD-less and micropenis free. She wants to know she doesn’t all of a sudden have to start at the beginning of that investigation. Finding a new guy who talks about something more interesting than their major or what they do for work. Landing on the right man whose good looking on the outside and doesn’t disappoint them once he’s naked. I understand the need to protect, but it’s immature.

The “What are we?” people are being dicks. They’re taking their lack of confidence and their fear of getting hurt and putting them on the person they’re asking. They ignore your shorts texts and your cancelations and the fact that you haven’t spent a minute together during the daylight hours. They disregard the small problems they have until those thousand cuts add up to an explosion of “WHAT IS THIS?” And that’s when you have to choose to lie or be honest. Both choices make you the asshole. If you lie and say you’re into it and then end things a few weeks later, you’ll be accused of wasting time. You’re a time waster even though they ignored all the honest actions you took that they couldn’t stand. And let’s say you’re honest and you tell them exactly how you feel about this situation. That you think they’re fine and good but you’ll never marry them and you think there’s someone out there who is a better fit. That they are a pair of pants that look O.K. but they’re a little loose and you think that some place will offer a better fit but you still need clothing in the meantime so you’re not just going to throw these pants away. Go tell someone that and see how they feel. See how you feel.

The “What are we?” question isn’t as much a question as it is a statement — “You’re responsible, I am not.” And I think we all need to readjust. If you were playing on a basketball team and never got into the game, you might ask the coach what was going on. He’d say you’re good enough for practice but not ready for the big game. You’d have a choice. Get better and maybe find a new team but, most importantly, you’d play and find out more about your own game. Or you can keep asking for playing time. Keep having talks with the coach. Keep going in circles asking why you’re not good enough or who else is better or who else can do that cool thing with their tongue during a blow job. All that time wasted asking questions with answers you already knew while you could have been playing.

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Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a New York City-based comedian who has been featured on MTV’s Failosophy and is the host of The JTrain Podcast presented by TFM.

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