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cutiepi92's avatar

Does this count as four years?

Asked by cutiepi92 (2119 points ) December 16th, 2013

I always say that I have been in a relationship with my loving boyfriend for over four years. However, a friend of mine reminded me that he and his girlfriend have been together for nearly four years without any type of breaks. Normally this would seem harmless, but knowing him this was a side attack at the integrity of my relationship. Here’s why:

So while my boyfriend and I have been together for over four years, it is not what I guess would be “official”. After the first 8 months of our relationship, we went through some serious personal issues (I was kicked out of school, dealing with the harshness of my family, he was going through a very rigorous and mentally exhausting private ordeal of his own). During that time, we argued a lot and subsequently went on a “break”. During this period, we were not referring to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend yet we saw each other nearly every day, still went out together, didn’t date any other people, texted plenty, still had sex, and still celebrated birthdays and holidays with each other. We were still on break, but essentially we did every thing a couple would do minus a title. We were still exclusive. After 4 months of this being on break, we got back together. Four more months passed and once again we went through a rough patch. Again, he wanted a break. This time, the break lasted 10 months, however, we again were exclusive and did couple like things with each other. There was no title, there was no “facebook official”. After that ten month period, he did this huge thing and we got back together. We have not gone on any type of break since and have been better than ever.

We always claim that we have been together for over 4 years because during those periods we still did couple things and were still exclusive. Does that not matter? Is it wrong for us to say we have been together for that long?

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16 Answers

ETpro's avatar

Don’t let small-minded people bring you down to their level. We are each on our own journey. Each of us gets dealt a different hand and each of us decide to take the road we take. If the two of you feel like you’ve been together four years, that’s good enough for me. Those that it’s not good enough for can just figure out how to deal with their mental anguish that, thanks to their dedication to personal responsibility, is all your fault for not counting to four the same way they do.

Smitha's avatar

@ETpro is right It’s really up to both of you how you want to count it as. If you feel like you should use the second date, then use it. If not, then don’t. As long as you love each other counting years together doesn’t matter. In your case you both have stayed in contact during the time you were “broken up”. Sometimes even married couples take a break. Don’t get bothered by such things, Just enjoy your relationship and be happy.

cutiepi92's avatar

I guess it’s just irritating because he feels like his relationship is “worth more” or something because he and his girlfriend haven’t gone through the things that we have gone through…...

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Though you were not together by title, I say you were still together even if you both did not want to believe it or acknowledge it. I have known people who say they were in a relationship but did things that suggested anything but. They may not have fought, but it might be because they hardly spoke. I can hardly believe they were boinking each other, but in some cases it was clearly noted they were boinking other people. I go by the action more than the verbiage.

Pandora's avatar

By your friends definition, I was on break from my husband every time he was deployed. I mean. We would talk when we could by phone but that is all we could do. We didn’t date anyone else or screw anyone else and we never really went around swinging our marriage title. I didn’t call him husband when I was speaking of him. Just by his name. And yet I’m pretty sure we were married.
Even though the two of you were on “break”, you still had an on going friendship. Last I look that means you had a relationship. A break is when you both do all you can to not be involved in each others life, and having sex is most key to being involved in a relationship. Don’t even know why you guys called it a break. At most, it was just an act of tabling unresolved issues.

JLeslie's avatar

I would just say 4 years. What are you going to do? Explain all the ins and outs of your relationship to everyone?

BosM's avatar

You’ve been by each others side all along. People can judge you only if you let them. True friends are willing to be happy for the achievements of others and what you and your S/O have done is show great devotion and resilience in working through relationship issues rather than just throwing in the towel. That is certainly worth celebrating the full length of your relationship.

Don’t let this other person bring you down. No relationship is perfect, not even his. Don’t let him fool you.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I agree that I’d still say 4 years, just to avoid any unnecessary explaining. If you were still exclusive during those months, hanging out and having sex, you were in a relationship – I don’t care what you called it.

I do think it’s bullshit that this “friend” is trying to make you feel as if your relationship isn’t worth as much as theirs. All relationships are different and I wouldn’t even call yours an “on-again-off-again” relationship because it sounds like you were both deluding yourselves thinking you were on a “break.” What made it a break if nothing changed? (rhetorical)

I have to admit that I’ve probably made a similar comment as your friend, but never in an attempt to belittle someone else’s relationship. My husband and I started dating in high school and have been together for 6½ years with absolutely no break-ups. We’re surrounded by people that break up with their SO every few days/weeks/months – they seem to thrive on drama. His brother and his girlfriend have split up so much, I have to ask if they’re still together this week whenever we go to a family gathering. I say, if we break up, that’s it. There’s no “on again” because there’s obviously something not working between us that we’d rather walk away from than fix together. So, bye! But that’s just me. I don’t put up with bullshit and drama when it comes to relationships.

creative1's avatar

Count it the way you want, every couple has its ups and downs and its your relationship with him so you and him know how you want to count the time you’ve been together. If you want to say over 4 years, then say it because technically you have.

LostInParadise's avatar

Looking at it as objectively as possible, I would count it as four years.

This reminds me of the joke where a guy says,“I have been happily married for seven years. Seven out of twenty is not too bad.”

jca's avatar

When you say your boyfriend was going through a private ordeal when you were first going out, did that include him going out with, living with or being married to someone else? I ask because that could have been the case with you still seeing him during that period and you still considering him your boyfriend. If that is the case, your friend may be referring to that.

Pachy's avatar

Forget the math. Cherish the relationship.

cutiepi92's avatar

@jca no nothing that involved another woman. Since we first met, I am the only person he has ever remotely been romantically involved with and vice versa. That’s why I said we were still exclusive.

jca's avatar

What I would do, then, when your friend brags about the length of his relationship, is just smile and say “that’s wonderful!” Make it sound like you’re happy for him, and so if he is looking to start any debates, he won’t get far with you.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Hereforhelp's avatar

you two where together then too just without the title as you said yourself and the feelings were still there for both of you while on the break.. if ya’ll were sleeping with others then there might be a gray area but.. still seeing each other and being around each other as a unofficial couple i’d say yes ya’ll been together over 4 years

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