“The Bachelor in Paradise ‘secret relationship’ reminded me why I hate modern day dating.”

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Brett Moore was someone I had never seen before. Though he was apparently on Sophie Monk’s season of The Bachelorette, I’m choosing to call his entrance into Paradise on Sunday my official introduction to him, and to begin with, I had no issues. That is, until he opened his mouth and he said a string of words that rang so many bells my ears just about self-destructed.

It went a little something like this: “Steph and I have been ‘seeing each other’ for about a year now but I’m actually single.”

A year.

Brett spent 365 days just casually viewing Steph’s lovely face. To be clear, Australia, Brett is not exclusively with Steph. No, he just likes to look at her. So much so, he’s been doing it for 365 entire days.

My problem isn’t with people who aren’t relationship types of people. I get it. You’re attractive, young, wild, free etc. etc. Want to play the field? Go for it. Don’t want anything serious? Fine. But a whole year of spending time with someone signals to me otherwise. So, tell me: When did we start labelling every single stage leading up to an “exclusivity”?

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say something along these lines. Before any of my taken friends entered into a relationship, there was a period of uncertainty that created apprehension for either one or both parties, also known as the “seeing each other” stage. It came right after a phase of casual dating and lingered on until someone posed the question of exclusivity.

But hold up, Osher, because even then, there’s no rose yet. After one would ask the other to be exclusive, they still weren’t officially a couple. There may be weeks, if not months of waiting. Twiddling thumbs until one of the two bit the bullet and asked the other to be their official girlfriend/boyfriend. How. Exhausting.

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Someone, please, hand me a manual of some sort, ‘cause this stuff’s darn perplexing.

After consulting a few older couples, it seems to be a form of classification only younger people practice, and honestly, it’s probably one of the many sound reasons every other generation criticises us.

It’s as if we’re allergic to commitment, scrambling for excuses to be indecisive and to justify disloyalty on a technicality.

Please, Ross. No one ASKED YOU TO YELL. via GIPHY

With the risk of sounding old fashioned, the concept of courtship seems pretty simple. Sure, the lead up to a real relationship certainly isn’t black and white, but millennials have made it a multi-coloured amalgamation of mush that has completely overcomplicated what should be a somewhat pleasant experience. I’m no expert, but if you like someone, it makes clear sense to fully commit to the idea of getting to know that one, singular person. Conveniently keeping your options open seems more like a strategy than the natural progression of a relationship.

Whether you chose to continue the relationship long term or not is up to you, but the need to have some type of deeply anticipated, nerve wracking confirmation ceremony about every step prior to that seems unnecessarily convoluted and frankly, stupid.

Now, relationships everywhere are being undervalued with a simple, “oh, it wasn’t official, I was just seeing him/her”. DO YOUR EYES NOT HURT THOUGH?!

So much murky water, so many blurry lines. If anything proved that, it was Monday night’s departure of Brett, where the collective confusion of other contestants regarding his relationship status sent him home… to Steph, probably, because we’re all well aware of his penchant for looking at her on a casual basis, no strings attached.

The only true aspect about calling a relationship exclusive is that it’s exclusively bollocks. Let’s strip away the obscurity and kick it old school, people.

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