I used to think that life was either black or white.
You had to choose.
I was never a fan of the color grey (until I actually found the color slate which actually looks GREAT on blondes) – but that’s another topic for another day…
Years ago, to me, living in any grey area in your life meant that you had undefined and poorly established boundaries. This meant you were weak and wavering, right?
But we will get to that in a minute.
After all- life was about making decisions, choosing a side, forging a path, selecting a choice. I mean growing up it always seemed like I was supposed to decide. There just weren’t that many choices so the selection process was easy.
Believe me- I am not old. But back in my day, it was Pac-man or Centipede. It was Coke or Tab. On tests it was either A or B. You made a choice and stuck with it.
Then came multiple-choice… The anti-Christ.
You could choose more than one. Oh goodness, now what?
I’m starting to believe women’s empowerment, gave way to the birth of what I like to call, “The Grey Era”. And I don’t mean Christian Gray. I mean the era of ‘grey relationships’— otherwise known as vague, open ended, undefined.
Or like some other women may put it… anxiety provoking, headache causing, purgatory basing, mind messing.
You get the drift.
Because women are more independent now and no longer need to rely on a man for food, shelter and bringing back wood and fire back to the “cave”— we can be single and have a baby -or not. We can get married- or not. We can have free love—or not.
But the need for marriage and commitment has definitely dwindled more and more. Thus, it brings me to the undefined, uncategorized location of where some relationships have wound up in today’s day and age. We are talking about the non-traditional relationships. These new ‘hybrid’, non-committal, free- floating relationships that don’t seem to have any real theoretical name, but they have titles.
I like to keep it to about four main ones that I know of.
I’m quite certain there are a few I have missed.
1. The hook up
2. The friend with benefits
3. The arrangement
4. The undefined
What I realized with all 4 of these unique and non-traditional relationships was that “together” or “not”, is not as black or white as it used to be. I’m mildly shocked that I have actually come to understand the “undefined”. It wasn’t that I woke up one day and had an epiphany. It’s the fact my life’s path has taken me down certain roads that have made me realize that there is no such thing as certainty right off the bat and that clairty does need to be provided, but only when the time is right in both peoples’ lives.
Sometimes the ‘grey’ relationship is a suspension bridge until the next real love shows up. Many times it’s a docking area until you’re ready to sail on your own. Other times–it’s going to lead to something much more down the road.
Either way, no matter what, one-day it will change. Not necessarily because the relationship will change but because something will change in your life causing the relationship to either grow or die.
That’s because nothing stays the same forever. Nothing.
In the beginning, many people are in foggy romantic relationships. The only thing making them controversial is the guilt they put on themselves. I think it’s time we celebrate finding companionship in all forms because life is too short—and too long—not to thoroughly enjoy every shade of love we find and grow from the experience.
When we judge ourselves for the grey relationships we have, and when we judge others, we suppress one of life’s most precious offerings, the free gift of connection. So many people go through life lonely. So many don’t need to. Those of us who choose the lonely route because we are too proud, stubborn, and fearful to allow ourselves to color outside the lines, miss out on a chance to relish in happiness (even if it’s temporary), or the chance to make life a little easier, a little sexier, and a little kinder for the moment.
So today I challenge you to appreciate the grey area; live happily in it. Try and resist the urge to tightly define these parts of your life. Have the courage to give up control and enjoy the beauty of the moment, the experience that is without definition. Make peace with not knowing for just a small minute.
Let things be as they are. Define them when they’re better formed.
Most importantly– realize sometimes there really is beauty in the unknown.
Until Next week,
Born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Karin has a BA in sociology, with a minor in psychology earning honors at Michigan State University. Along with certification in relationship coaching, Karin is an international blogger and past columnist. She is currently accepting clients and advertisers and can be reached @firstname.lastname@example.org.