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Having a ring carefully placed on your left hand shouldn’t change that. I write about love and feelings and things that keep me awake at night, things that unite us all.Providing clear and mutual commitment to your significant other generally comes in the form of an engagement, leading to the exchanging of vows, but it doesn’t have to. We haven’t yet coined a term to represent the significance of adult relationships that are clearly more permanent. So what really differentiates a long-term relationship from a marriage if the labels are stripped away? In our modern world, the evolution of relationships has caused a paradigm shift in how people approach their partnerships.

While there is no biological basis for categorical labeling, we do so nonetheless. It was very significant to me, and is the most meaningful relationship I’ve had thus far in my life. Having experienced a divorce and (ahem, breakups), I have noticed what makes the two different: a ring and a piece of fucking paper.

We give these labels a lot of power and meaning, allowing them to color our perceptions of people and create prejudices with little regard for their But what does it really mean? I noticed that friends treated my relationships differently based on the title I’d given my partners: boyfriend or husband (or playmate, as it were).

I wasn’t happy in my marriage, I didn’t want it from the start, but I reluctantly agreed to it because I thought it was expected of me. And the poor guy spent a small fortune on an engagement ring, so I somehow felt he deserved to get the wedding and the wife and the monogrammed towels.

I wanted my love life to be sorted out so I could focus on some other things in my life. I was never fulfilled in that relationship/marriage and I spent months deliberating my options, which boiled down to: stay with my husband and know I’ll be mildly unhappy for the rest of my life, or leave him and gain a new title: divorcee.

I think the urge to have it all settled burdens men and women alike, especially as we age, leading to some impetuous marriages that have the same shelf life of an avocado at room temp. While this deliberation occurred, I processed it externally with my pals, debating all the what ifs and maybes and should haves.

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