When It's OK To DTR (Define The Relationship) If You Absolutely Must


So, you’ve been dating this hunk (or a 2, whatever you’re into), and things are going really well. You’re seeing him regularly, the chemistry is popping off and things have been steadily progressing. And, look at that, no red flags! Sounds ah-MAY-zing. But you’ve been at it a while, and you’d really like to know where this is going and is he really in it for the same reasons and is the timing right and does he like you as much as you like him and are you guys on the same page and how many kids does he want and… GAH.

Zack Morris Time Out.

Gurrrrl, calm yourself. Sounds like you’re in serious need of a DTR (Define The Relationship) chat.

Cue the obligatory, Ughhhhhhh.

Blech. I know. This requires that you be, shudder, vulnerable. *Shudder, shudder.* Look, if I could pick one thing that I wish I’d never have to do ever again in the history of forever, it would be being vulnerable. So, I get it. DTR-ing is not what’s up.

I’m a much bigger fan of DRTR (Don’t Rush The Relationship), but I understand that sometimes you find yourself in predicaments that (you feel) are absolutely, undeniably, omg-if-I-don’t-talk-to-him-about-this-RIGHT-MEOW-I-will-die urgent and must be addressed. (I feel you, I’m The Worst at not speaking my mind—my trick is to never get involved enough to care. I am not advocating this, btw. I'm just sharing. It seems to work. Just ask my ex-bfs.)

But, since it’s 2013 and I’m really into this whole new year, new personal paradigms deal (see this and this), it’s clear vulnerability is on the top of our lists of To-Do’s for the next 10 months.

I just want you to really think hard about what you want, what your relationship needs are and whether homeboy is meeting them, and if he is who you actually want to be with.

Because you just might find that you’re more in love with the idea of him, than you are in love with him.

He looks good on paper; you’ve been single for a while and are over the dating scene; he would make your parents happy; he’s great arm candy; you don’t want to be alone… Whatever the reason you wanna be with him, make sure it’s a legit one.

Because once you lock in that exclusivity clause, things are looking a whole lot more serious, and it’s a commitment that you also have to make to him, not just something that prevents him from boinking other babes. There’s an end you have to uphold too, my dear. And if you’re not ready to deliver, you have no business dishing out requests.

To recap: You're honestly into him and want to make it offisch. Attempting to DTR is never fun (hell, it can be downright nerve-wracking), and my general rule is, let the guy do it. Eventually, he’s going to want you to stop dating/putting it down on other chaps. That should prompt a DTR from his camp. If not, well, then you also know where you stand.

That being said, here are some cases in which it may not hurt to initiate The Talk:

  • When your feelings and self-respect and self-worth are being compromised and you no longer feel comfortable in the relationship. You either gotta step up or step out.
  • When it’s been 7 years and he hasn’t put a ring on it yet. For your sake, I hope it’s been discussed at least once in the 49-dog-years amount of time that you’ve been together.
  • If you're engaging in activities of the promiscuous sort—hopefully you haven’t found yourself here (because you’re a goddess and your body is a temple), but for health reasons, if nothing else, this is a must. C’mon.*

*Medical-ish disclaimer from a non-medical professional: have safe, smart sex. Period.