We grow up with a lovely myth about how relationships develop. You meet someone. You decide you like each other. You get involved. You get more involved. You get so involved you can't live without each other. You get married. The myth being that you start at point A and follow a straight-and-narrow, ever-more-committed line to point B.
But as we learned in geometry, lines all lie on planes. Unimaginably big planes that stretch out to infinity. Planes that allow for more variations on that line than you really want to consider. Out on that plane is the world of the nebulous relationship. The nebulous relationship twists and turns, goes backwards as often as it goes forward, sometimes sits still, and, most of all, never even pretends it's aiming for point B.
We've all had them. Some of them were awful. Some of them made us a best friend. It's time to give these relationships the recognition they deserve. After all, we're due to have a lot more nebulous relationships in one lifetime than concrete ones.You're destined to have them--you might as well get used to them. Hey, you might even try to enjoy them.
Here follows a guide to the most standard variations.
The False Start: A relationship that seems totally beautiful for either three weeks or until you sleep with him, whichever comes first.
This can get messy if you fall into the habit of doing it over and over with the same guy every six months or so. Each time you go through a False Start with him you swear up and down to your friends that it will never happen again. They nod their heads sympathetically and tell you they don't believe it for a second.
They're right; you're wrong.
Special Naked Friends: The SNF represents the best that a nebulous relationship can be. Perfect for when you've just broken up with someone and aren't quite ready for another intense romance.
An SNF is almost boyfriend-like, but neither of you expects or wants to fall in love with the other one. You're good friends. You do not play mind games. You do not hit on other people. (At least not when the other one's looking.)
The SNF relationship will last until one day one of you gets screamingly jealous because the other one flirts with someone at a party. The two of you will have a long talk about how you've both gotten a little too dependent on each other given the we're-not-planning-to-fall-in-love clause in your relationship contract.
That will be the end of that.
The One-Night Stand: You know, that thing that happened in college that ended with your walking home in high heels at dawn holding your earrings in one hand and your bra in another, with the sure knowledge that you were never going to talk to that football player again?
The one night stand comes in many, many forms. It happens with a variety of people--from good friend to that last guy at a party. It produces a variety of emotions--from "Wow, I needed that" to "I am never drinking Jagermeister again." And it has a variety of results--from destroying friendships to forging brand new ones.
The worst thing about one night stands: they can make you miserable.
The best thing: they can make for the funniest stories.
The Repeated One-Night Stand: It's the one-night stand over and over and over and over. You are not friends. You do not go on dates. You hook up no more than once a month, and always because you happened to be in the same place that night. You had always thought you couldn't possibly sleep with someone with whom you can't even carry on a conversation.
You were wrong.
Jungle Love: Not to be confused with Jungle Fever. This term was coined by a producer who spent two wonderful weeks with a guy she met in the jungles in Africa, and then came home to mope and miss him.
The Jungle Lover is the person with whom you instantly hit it off. You're soulmates. The only problem is you don't live anywhere near each other. The Jungle Lover is the person you are absolutely convinced would be your Prince/ess Charming if only they didn't live so far away. Neither one of you will ever move; there will be no fairy tale ending.
He/She Is In the Process of Breaking Up with His Wife/Her Husband: Three words for you: No, they're not.
And you're not going to be the person they date when they finally do.