The Relationship Talk: “Excuse Me, Are You My Boyfriend?”

So, you met this fantastic guy. You’ve been hanging out more and more, spending some nights, meeting up at parties, maybe even going to parties together. Things are great, you have a ton of fun, and damn, can the man kiss! You meet some of his friends, and he meets yours. Maybe you even do the toothbrush drop-off at each other’s houses. Awesome awesome awesome; he’s SO into you!

And then, no matter how great things are going, after about four months (max!) it hits you, and you go insane. And you have to ask: “What ARE we?”

Now, we can all admit that dudes are f’in confusing. I am guilty of this insanity as much as anyone. It makes everyone totally crazy because you just want to know that things are getting serious, and that he’s not secretly plotting to get out soon (or spooning with someone else). But still, I am staunchly anti-DTR (that’s ‘define the relationship’), and let me tell you why.

Generally speaking, there are two reasons for initiating the talk:

1. Things are fabulous, you are happy, and you want to revel in your togetherness as much (and as officially) as possible.

2. You’re unsure of how he’s feeling about the whole situation, and you want a little clarification and security.

If you’re in situation #1, first of all, congratulations! That’s the happiest place to be, and you should enjoy it! Second of all, if you’re happy and comfortable, why the need for the talk? If it walks like a boyfriend and talks like a boyfriend, chances are: it’s a boyfriend. Put much more stock in his actions than in his words, especially if you’re forcing those words out of him.

If you’re in the #2 situation, it gets a bit hairier. If he isn’t treating you like his girlfriend, then that is the issue you should be dealing with. If it’s an issue of feeling secure, then, well, if he is the sort of guy who will make out with someone else at a party, just because he never SAID you were his girlfriend, you do not want to be dating him anway. You can say boyfriend or not, but having ‘the talk’ doesn’t make you something new, nor does it (or should it, or can it) change the way you feel about each other.

Broaching this topic as a Talk, with a capital T, can lay down a power shift. Say you want it, but he doesn’t. He wants it, you don’t. Either way, one of you is more ‘officially’ invested in the relationship than the other, and it’s up to the other to say yes or no. It’s like a marriage proposal: you don’t want to ask unless you’re pretty damn certain what the answer will be.

Just because there’s is so much relationship bullsh*t circulating (see: The Rules, He’s Just Not That Into You, etc.) doesn’t mean that you have to define things in the terms these sage advisors use. Nor do you have to use mine, for that matter. At the end of the day, no one knows your relationship but you, and f**k everybody else. But in my experience, trying to create something by labeling it is a disaster waiting to happen, plain and simple.

[Photo courtesy of Dear Sugar]

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