“Where are you from?”

A common question we get asked that I often have a hard time answering. My response is always pretty long winded: I grew up in Texas, my family resides in Las Vegas now, I went to school in DC, and now I live in New York City. Sometimes this will lead to a follow up question of “so where is home for you?” And to be honest, I still haven’t figured it out. New York feels like the obvious choice, but I usually resort to an open-ended “Well home for me isn’t linked so much to places, but more to feelings, emotions and memories. Home is my mom’s cooking. It’s my herb garden. It’s my best friends from college. It’s breakfast tacos.” It can’t be defined in a clear cut, obvious way.

In a similar sense, another hard-to-answer question we often face: “So what’s the deal with you and [insert fling/hook up buddy/romantic interests name here]?”

There are now so many facets of the “It’s Complicated” relationship status on Facebook, and if you’re single but actively dating, you know what it’s like to live in this grey area. You’re at brunch catching up with friends and they want to know about the new guy you’ve been seeing for a few weeks. The explanation almost necessitates an accompanying diagram: “Well we’re hooking up, but not exclusive, but texting pretty regularly, and I think he’s into it, but I’m trying to play it cool, and I’m definitely into it, but too soon to tell if it will turn into anything, so yeah I guess we’ll see…”

Everything is untitled, undefined. These days, I’m hesitant to even speak of any developing romantic interests to my friends for fear of jumping into the idea of a relationship too quickly. Maybe I am playing it cool to a fault? At this point you’re probably thinking, “Wait, isn’t this the same chick who told me to just have fun a couple weeks ago?”

And I still support that we should be having fun; however, if you’re two, five or seven months into “hanging out” and you want something more, you also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. Labels and definitions mean rules, expectations and commitment, but they can also mean clarity. Just because we might be dating in a culture where these ideas aren’t the norm doesn’t mean we can’t want them.