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Is it common to have a conversation about exchanging keys or is it something that just happens naturally?

I was wondering about this after watching the VH1 reality show Black Ink Crew Chicago recently. One of the characters, who goes by Phor, has been dating his girlfriend Nikki for over a year. She’s a cute girl, but she does have a short fuse. If women get too close to her boyfriend or he does anything she doesn’t like, she can go from zero to 100 — real quick.

And yet, they’ve managed to make their relationship work. That is, except for the fact that she had been wondering for a while why he hadn’t given her a key to his apartment. In his mind, giving her a key was a major step in their relationship and he didn’t seem ready for it for some time. When he finally was ready and gave her a key and even asked her to move in with him while the cast of the show was vacationing in Cabo, Mexico, she didn’t necessarily seem all that appreciative of the gesture. In fact, she told him that if she had been forced to wait much longer, she had planned to just go ahead and make a copy of his key. The response, unfortunately, caused a big fight because he didn’t understand her reaction, while she didn’t understand his hesitance in taking that official step. In her mind, she was always in his place, her things were there and so they basically already lived together. What was the holdup?

They’d only been together for a little while. What about couples who’ve been together for years?

is this petty give key


Image via Getty 

While looking around for women who had similar gripes about exchanging keys, I found people who said they only had to wait a few months for their significant other to hand over entry to their home in such a way, not that they’d even asked for a key. There were even people who said they’d never had a conversation about it, and instead, only broached the subject when they’d made the joint decision to move in together. But there were women in multiple forums who wanted and waited years to get a key from the men in their lives.

One woman had been with her partner on and off for three years and felt that his decision not to give her a key signaled that he didn’t see their relationship lasting for the long term.

And another woman on Wedding Bee said it took her more than five years to get a key from her mate, which was much longer than she would have liked.

“Too long!  I finally got him to give me a key year…6? of our relationship,” she said.  “We had plans to move in together, but still no key!!”

For some people, it seems that key conversations weren’t needed because both parties either moved in with one another eventually, or both parties didn’t really see it as a necessary thing. I mean really, how often are you truly in your partner’s place without them?

But what happens when you want that key, and in reality, want what you think it signifies, but you seem to be the only person in your relationship who feels that way?

People like the aforementioned woman in the off and on three-year-long relationship want a key because, to them, it represents more than easy access to their significant other’s home. It also seems to say that this is a relationship that is serious and will last. If you’re given a key, you can come in whenever you want, and can consider the space a second home. You can leave all of your underwear and beauty products around the house. What’s theirs is yours. But if someone is not ready to send that message, for reasons that can include just not being ready and in some cases, thinking the possible recipient is not ready for that (or not secure enough not to use it as an opportunity to snoop), you can’t make it happen no matter what fuss you put up.

Not getting a key, to me, isn’t a sign that your relationship is going nowhere. If your partner was secretive and barely liked to let you in their house, then that would be the red flag. But for some people, giving a key is sometimes just about convenience, and if you’re not consistently inconvenienced in an attempt to visit with your partner, they might not think you need it. In the end, giving a key to someone who is laid back seems to be, for many, not a big deal. But when you’re dating someone who is looking for validation through that little piece of metal, it might not come so easily…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Do you care about exchanging keys? And what does it mean if your partner doesn’t give you one after some time? 

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