When is it weird not to be ‘official’?

Love Island 2018 runners-up Paul Knops and Laura Anderson have reportedly split up after failing to spend enough time together after the show ended – this is probably coming as a shock to literally no one as, well, they weren’t even together in the first place, and surely after a few months of dating but not committing, things can get a bit… weird? When is it weird not to be ‘official’?

The general consensus was that there was trouble in paradise, and this largely stemmed from their continued non-official status and Laura saying increasingly defensive things like “It’s difficult to be like: ‘Shall we make this official?’ – especially because we’re older, and you don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, another relationship that didn’t work out’”. Their tiptoeing around their official relationship status whilst doggedly asserting that it was all okay because they were ‘exclusive’ and ‘didn’t want to rush into anything’ made it clear to pretty much everyone with eyes that really, they were doomed from the start.

It begs the question, then – when is weird to not be official?

If their relationship is anything to go by, it seems two or three months is when it gets too weird. But a bigger point that needs to be made is that their relationship shouldn’t be anything to go by. Nobody’s relationship should be held up as a baseline or a point of comparison for anyone else.
Yeah, for them, things went on a little too long, and anyone could see through the strained excuses that it wouldn’t last. But that’s them! And how many other relationships do you know where the first month of it – including the first date, snuggles in bed (staying warm during ‘cuffing’ season), and meeting the parents – is broadcast to the whole country?

Some people take days, weeks, months – maybe even years – before knowing that they want to commit to a relationship. The concept of being in an exclusive relationship also means different things to different people – not in a bad way – but, in Laura’s defence, it’s hard not to see your potential partner as a husband when it comes to any long-term, serious relationship in your early thirties. Younger couples, though potentially daydreaming about wedding their current SO, are less likely to be seriously contemplating whether they’ll still love them in fifty years’ time.

Admittedly, relationships can be very simple. If two people want to be together, they’ll be together. I’ve used excuses all too similar to Laura’s to condone fuckboys trying to skirt around becoming exclusive. Arguably, that was how I knew my current relationship was going to turn out alright: there was no dodging the subject, no bullshit, no excuses. We wanted to be together and so we were. I didn’t see any red flags that were deal-breakers

But, again – why compare yourself to anyone else? You shouldn’t be abiding by any dating rules. Open your eyes enough to see that that boy or girl who is permanently ‘busy’ and leaves you ‘on read’ will likely never be your boyfriend or girlfriend, but every relationship is different. And, ultimately, no one knows what’s going on between yourself and another apart from you two alone. Have confidence in yourself and what you’re doing, and hopefully, everything will turn out the way you want it to.

On a deeper level still, a lot of people have relationship hang-ups due to former toxic relationships, former abuse, or just heartbreak. While one person may be open and loving, another may be more guarded. There simply isn’t a hard and fast rule for everyone when it comes to relationships – which is why, really, we ought to keep our noses out of other peoples’ love lives.

…Except those who willingly sign up to nationwide dating shows, because for some reason, gossiping and speculating about people we don’t know is addictive, and I plan on reading up on every last article about Laura and Paul.

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