So what’s the difference between girlfriend and courtship?

What I know for certain is that us single wives have subjected ourselves to this role and somehow got lost on the road to marriage; stuck in this place of move forward or back away — the middle ground. The space between “I think I like you” and “I think I love you.” In the relationship guide, No Girlfriends Allowed: Unlearning What You Learned About Love & Relationships, author and coach, Marcia Alene shed some a light on this “middle ground.” Among the many topics discussed, which include celibacy, the sharing of her personal story with relationships, and dispelling the myth that men can’t commit, the girlfriend piece is what resonated with me the most.

The book starts out discussing “pit-stops” along with the boyfriend/girlfriend title; however, I was amazed to find out such a title doesn’t even exist. According to Marcia’s research, the term “girlfriend” started in the 1860s and meant a non-committed relationship.

Mind. Blown.

As time progressed, the term became widely used during the 1920s (think Suffrage), where women began to shy away from the patriarchal views of themselves, relationships, and sexuality, as well as pushed for more equality in and outside their white picket fences. Ergo, the term “girlfriend” became the pit-stop between dating and marriage. Whether folks called it “courting” or “going steady,” this girlfriend term became a badge of honor; an entitlement piece that meant some sort of imaginary fringe benefits from said man that included locker sharing, pin wearing, key holding, bed rocking, bill splitting, and whatever “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” do, but…none of it means he is committed to us.

Why the hell are we calling ourselves some man’s girlfriend expecting a commitment when that’s really not what that ish means?

Skylar's face when you tell her she has to be a "girlfriend"

The revisited concept of courtship is making its way back into the dating sphere, but what is courtship really? According to Google (one can rarely go wrong with it), courtship is a period during which a couple develops a romantic relationship, especially with the view of marriage. So is this the segue we’ve been missing?

I believe everything we do comes with a process. Life has a process, education has a process, careers have a process, hell, platform building has a process. My point is that there are levels to everything, but somehow, dating seems to be the most skewed element of our lives with unclear levels and circular paths that lead us back to the same spot we tried to leave from — singledom.

But should there even be a dating middle ground?

If courtship is the space between dating and marriage, what if our potential husband is courting more than one woman, trying to figure out who he loves the most? Does that then reduce everything you’ve built with this man back to dating? Should you walk away and save yourself before walking down a church aisle filled with rose petals? Do you see why we’re all confused?

Single wives, we need some clarity here.

As single as I am, I do believe that this relationship thing, this dating thing, really shouldn’t be that hard. You like me, cool. We’re dating, cool. You wanna bend me back and buss it open, while we’re dating, cool. You want all of that with just only me, cool. It really feels like the semantics are what’s keeping us from connecting with a person of interest who can potentially be the love of our lives. On this road to marriage, the ride isn’t going to be smooth. The closer we become with our mate, the more we’ll need to adjust our seating, the air (or heat), change the music, grab a snack from the backseat, etc. But are these pit-stops there to fuel our car for the journey, or are we dropping people off who get on nerves and picking up strays along the way? Is this really what being a girlfriend means, I’m good for the ride until my driver decides I annoy the f*ck outta him and he grabs a new beau at the nearest Quik Check?

Nah, I’m cool.

Just send me a note with the itinerary and let me check “yes” or “no” when you ask, do I wanna ride, and let’s figure it out along the way. Cause this middle ground, this purgatory, this incubator space, this what the f*ck are we doing and where the f*ck are we going, I rebuke thee.