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Ask Dr. Sherry: 'Am I His Girlfriend Or Not?'

A woman tired of having all the perks of love but no commitment wonders if she’s being taken for a fool.

You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it’s your turn to sit in her chair…

Q: I began dating a great guy in January and since then we have seen each other once a week and every weekend. We are both artists so we both attend each other’s events and are always out and about. After six weeks of dating I asked him where this was going because I am a single mom and my time is valuable, so I wanted to make sure I am spending it with the right person. He told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship because with his last girlfriend he cheated on her and doesn’t understand why, but then said that he still wanted to date me exclusively. I agreed as long as he promised to be honest with me and let me know if he wants to start dating someone else. I also let him know that I don’t have sex unless I am in a serious relationship. Here we are a month after the conversation, still no sex, and we’re still seeing each other two to three times a week and attending work functions. I have met many of his friends and there are even pictures of us together of Facebook. I told him I needed new tires and other things done to my car and he took my car for the whole day so I could take his and get pampered. He always calls and texts me every day, and he makes future plans for me. I read articles on how to know if he’s into you or not and he always falls in line with the guy that is into his girl, only, I’m not officially the “girlfriend.” I don’t think he is seeing anyone else because he is too busy pursuing me. He acts like my boyfriend in every single way. After everything that he does for me, should I be concerned about the title? Or should I just enjoy this “commitment” I have with him as is, even if he isn’t my boyfriend? Why is he dating me exclusively now for three months but still no title? I’m confused about my “relationship.” Help! — Chasity

Chasity, I understand why you are confused. Your dilemma reminds me of a person driving a car where the warning lights are coming on. First, it is only one warning light, and before you know it, everything is flashing. Rather than stop and check out the warning lights, you just keep driving. Let’s look at some of the warning lights: You have no special title with him. He has not identified your position in his life, and he says that he is not “ready” for a relationship. Plus, there seems to be no sexual interest on his part and posting pictures on Facebook and public appearances as if you were his girlfriend doesn’t change that. These warning lights need to be checked out before the car stops. In essence, check things out before everything falls apart and leaves you stranded wondering what happened. 

It would be nice to think that he may just be a nice guy who likes to do nice things for a nice girl. While that is a possibility, it may also be far from reality. You communicated earlier your need for clarification with the direction of the relationship. You also say that you let him know that you do not have sex unless you are in a serious relationship. Apparently, he is comfortable with ambiguity. I can understand this initially, but it has been awhile now. You asked why he has dated you exclusively for almost three months but you still have no title. The reality is, he may not be dating you but just fronting about his feelings. Be very clear, there is definitely nothing wrong with a person’s choice of sexual orientation. However, many men have difficulty for whatever reason being open and upfront with women regarding these issues. Therefore, they need the image of having a girlfriend without committing to a girlfriend. Many women are taken by surprise because some men offer them everything they could have dreamed of in a boyfriend but they never receive the title or the commitment as a girlfriend.  This does not mean your friend is not truly interested in you as a friend. You may just be friends without benefits. You need to figure out how you feel about all of this before you two move any further. —  Dr. Sherry

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