CAUTION: DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE ANYWHERE NEAR THE PERSON YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT BASED ON THIS TITLE UNLESS YOU’RE READY TO WALK AWAY RIGHT NOW…

Labelless love. That bastard.

I wish I knew then what I know now. Whether you call it a “situationship”, an “understanding”. or you’re really not sure what to call it… a labelless love is definitely one you should leave in 2018. Here are 8 things I wish I would’ve known before getting into a labelless relationship.

  1. The title actually does matter. We see it all the time on social media that “the title doesn’t matter”, but yes the hell it does. A labelless relationship does nothing but leave room for misunderstandings, confusion, and ultimately, heartbreak. Here I am, happy as all get out, providing the best girlfriend qualities I possess just to be introduced as his friend months after we had been involved. It was like a slap in the face. I wasn’t “just your friend’ when you were holding me at night or when you wanted me to cook for you. And I especially wasn’t “just your friend” when you were whispering sweet nothings into my ear while we made love.
  2. I was setting myself up for a failed relationship. At the end of the day, I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself. And I had given him permission to hurt me, too. I say it all the time… “people get away with what you let them get away with.” By accepting a labelless relationship I was letting him know that he had permission to give me the bare minimum and I’d still treat him like the world because to give me more would have definitely meant putting a label on what I thought we were building… a relationship.
  3. I couldn’t be upset about the other women. Nothing frustrated me more than NOT being able to question him about outside relationships because when it all came down to the facts, I wasn’t his girlfriend. So, what gave me the right? Obviously, it took multiple arguments with him and my friends for me to realize exactly where I stood with him… nowhere.
  4. I was giving myself away too easily. There have been countless social media posts and blog articles about learning to stop doing “wife things” for your boyfriend, but I hadn’t seen enough about being a girlfriend to a man who would never make you his girlfriend. Because of that, I suffered. I was giving my best self to a person who saw me as optional and temporary and that’s something I will never consciously do again.
  5. If I was as important as I thought I was, he would have given me the title I deserved. At this point, I know my worth and I’ll never make the mistake of letting a man dictate that for me again–unless he thinks more of me than I do, of course–It happens, ladies… I promise. When I did finally allow the reality of the situation set in, I realized very quickly that I had sold myself short. I was painting a picture in my head that was so completely different than what was actually taking place. If he had truly wanted me, there would be no question in my mind about that.
  6. Now, I can’t give the next man I meet what he deserves because I’ve drained my resources dealing with you. I’m exhausted emotionally because I’ve spent so much time dealing with you. I spent so much time being a girlfriend to him when I shouldn’t have. I spent so much time learning him so that I could be his person. I spent so much energy on him that I nearly lost myself. So now, I can’t give my best self to the person dealing with his aftermath, even if I wanted to, but it’s okay because I’ve learned to take the time to heal so that I won’t miss out again.
  7. Obviously, I deserve better. At the time, I was just like you. I thought I determined what I deserved… and because of that, I sold myself short, even without knowing it. If a future with me wasn’t what he wanted I should have opened my eyes to that, but I chose to blind myself because I didn’t want to hurt my own feelings. The signs were there, but I was truly in denial. It makes me chuckle now, but these are the facts.
  8. But I don’t blame him, I blame myself… It wasn’t his fault. I gave him the wrong example of the way I want and deserve to be loved. He just followed my lead.

Just to be clear, there’s no love lost, fellas… I’m just being clear about my experience. To my ladies, we’re leaving labelless relationships in 2018!

This article was originally written by Editor-in-chief of Prime Fifty-Two, Isis Nezbeth, and can also be seen on Thought Catalog.