I saw a preview for MTV's The Real World in which a young Christian gay/bi guy who is sort of (kind of) newly exploring gay relationships (though he apparently left a boyfriend to join the show, so I just don't know what's so new about it) was "hanging out" with another gay guy with whom he'd been making out, but he didn't want a "relationship" because he was still exploring what he wanted, so he told the other guy something like, "It's only been a few weeks. Can't we just be friends? I like spending time with you and I want to learn from you..." The other guy replied, "I don't wanna be a lesson!" I laughed to myself with a silent amen.
This Christian gay/bi/"don't-force-your-labels-on-me" guy seems to have a sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants attitude which sounds attractive on the surface and with which I actually agree in some ways (e.g. not getting overly hung up on culturally constructed labels). And I fully acknowledge I don't really know his perspective except that which editors decide should be on the show and what he's said in an interview, so I may be unfairly correlating him with my own past experience and observation. And he seems like a sweet guy who could be fun to know. But the kind of approach he seems to espouse, in my experience, often leads people (especially those as young as he is--he's 22) to live with a certain disregard for the emotional consequences of their situationally reactive behavior on others with whom they didn't confirm a mutual understanding. Glossing over such consequences frees them up to get what they want out of the relationship and blame the other person's hurt on their being too restrictive and small-minded. ...no, I've never been bitter about this, why do you ask? ;-) Actually, I've observed this more than I've experienced it.
Anyway, he seemed mildly baffled by the other guy's response, but I think eventually, most people will end up in a position in which they'll understand where he was coming from. Potentially uneven interest or emotional investment, mixed with the vague knowledge that this is someone's "stepping stone" relationship, can make for some messiness. But more than that, there's just something that feels kind of toolish about knowing someone regards you as a sort of "coming out" tutor to use until they feel secure enough to go out and look for a "real" relationship, all while enjoying and pushing for physical affection benefits that most people reserve for relationships of the not-just-friendship variety, when you already know that, if they weren't so new and volatile, you'd probably have been interested in a "real" relationship all along...hard to describe maybe, but it's just awkward and feels cheap to be on that side of it.
Of course, in many respects, I probably still am that new guy, so if I were to actually start really dating, I suppose I should expect a stepping stone relationship or two along the way. Hm, so mental note: don't fall for the best ones first...wait, that's just messed up. Ha, perhaps it's best to just play that part by ear and sort of deal with it as it comes. Thankfully, I have other things to worry about for now. I can put off that complicated dating stuff. How convenient...