I love this picture of contemporary christian musicians Shane Bernard & Bethany Dillon's wedding, I think it goes well with the title of the post.
I'm on facebook and I changed my relationship status from "single" to "its complicated". Well, I was thinking one day (yes, I think, occasionally) and I realised that while I was not in a relationship, I wasn't really single. It was then that I coined the phrase "Unofficial Relationship" to describe what sort of situation I was in.
Many people are actually in unofficial relationships, from hence forth referred to as "UOR".
Here are two people who like each other but for some reason or other cannot commit. I've seen it happen between a young man seeking a young woman. He likes her and has made his position clear. The young lady does not give a no but doesn't give a yes either. Perhaps she says, give me time or not right now. The two begin hanging out, or talking alot. The young man buys her gifts and talks to her alot. They become close sharing what is happening in their lives, enjoying many benefits of being in a relationship but are not really. The two individuals isolate themselves.
Or perhaps its a guy, alittle too young to seek a girl, a teenager, still a dependant. He likes a girl and starts sending her alot of text messages or calling her and chatting with her. The girl likes him back and before long they become close and go for walks perhaps and he buys her gifts, maybe she does the same. They enter into an UOR. For teens nowadays whether Christian or non-Christian, I've observed, the chap sees the girl, likes her and pursues her. They get hitched and "breakup" in due course (ever noticed they just never last, these teen/post-teen relationships?)
Its not always the same, but the idea of isolation and developing a rather close friendship is prominent. The feelings are typically mutual or else there wouldn't be an UOR in the first place.
Basically an UOR is a relationship between a male and female (ideally) where while the two have not committed to each other they have isolated each other. While they may not necessarily do everything that two people in an official relationship do, they do things which two people in an ordinary friendship do not do, they are somewhere in between the mere friendship and the official relationship.
I call it unofficial for obvious reasons, if you ask the two individuals whether they are in a relationship, the answer will be a definite no. But if you ask them how often they talk to each other, how much time the see each other, how often they are together, you will soon find, that there is some sort of "thing" going on.
Now (Paul Washer always goes to the next point of his sermon like that, "Now, ..."), UOR are dangerous and unbiblical making them wrong. I hope to discuss that in Part II.
I have "charged" two people of being in UORs both of whom actually were, they both bitterly denied it, which is natural for people in UORs. The first person I "charged" was a young lady, she denied it because she had been approached by the young man and liked him but still wasn't so sure she wanted to see him and didn't want to feel or appear bound. Yet she entertained him and accepted his gifts and attention. The other was a man, he too denied it, I don't know why. In his particular case he sought the young lady and she basically said it was too early but she liked him too and now they are bound to each other by virtue of the fact that he had declared his love and she her like and now it would be betrayal on her part if she started seeing another man either now or later cause he's waiting.
I was going to give a list of things to help someone better judge whether or not they are in an UOR, but here is a simple test.
The official relationship and the UOR have alot of things in common but here is the clincher. In both, the individuals are bound. In the official relationship, it would be taboo for any of the mates to begin pursuing anyone other than their mate and it would hurt their partner. Its exactly the same in an UOR. The two are bound to each other. The man has shown his interest by the attention and gifts and the lady likes him and so entertains him. Should the man "move on", the lady will feel betrayed.
"He sent me all those signs only to leave me."
Were you together?
Then why are you hurt, why do you feel betrayed? I'll tell you why, you decided to enjoy a relationship without committing. You consented to an UOR.
Or perhaps the man is the victim when the lady accepts another man who approaches her.
"I sent her all those gifts, all those text messages, all those chats we had, all that time we talked and spent time together, yet she was just using me to pass time, I feel betrayed."
Were you seeing each other?
Then why feel betrayed? You were not in a relationship so she was still a free woman.
And the problem is, you cannot take your mate to task for leaving you because it wasn't official. The papers were not signed as it were. All it would take is for your mate to say, "No we weren't." and that would be it.
If your "friend" suddenly started seeing someone or entertaining someone other than you, would you feel hurt or betrayed? My dear friend, you are in an Unofficial Relationship and it is dangerous and it isn't biblical.