Being the typical, young, male, commitment-phobe I am, I’ve had a few of these conversations. Some went better than others. All were uncomfortable. If I only knew…
Firstly I want to highlight I am no love doctor or dating coach, but relationships are an important factor of lifestyle design. More so for the location independent worker or globetrotter, as many people you meet won’t have your level of flexibility.
Ahh, new love, is there anything more exciting? The first few days, weeks or months after a chance encounter leads to meeting someone new and exciting. The first eye-gaze, the first joke, the first kiss, the first time you [adult reference]. Days filled with flirty text messages, stories, teasing and laughter. In the office it’s easy to spot. Cheeky grins and chuckles while typing an ‘important email’ – definitive signs of a flirty conversation. These days or weeks can become some of your fondest memories until…
D-Day: the day of the Determine the Relationship (DTR) conversation. This is the talk where your potential partner drops a question like “what’s happening between us?”, “where this is going?” or “my friends have been asking me about my relationship status on Facebook?”. You know it’s coming, but you never know just quite when, where or how. Sometimes it’ll be as obvious as a smack in the face, sometimes as subtle as… something really subtle. Typically face-to-face, occasionally on the phone – I’ve even had one over txt (gen-y in action) but it is bound to come. Depending on how things are going so far and your situation in life, this conversation can be a huge weight off your chest or the uncomfortable moment you’ve been dreading. Either way, it’s an inevitable and important talk that will set foundations for the relationship and should not be overlooked.
Every relationship is different. People need to look inside at what they feel and outside at their circumstance before making a decision, but there are a few things you can do to make things smoother.
- Be Prepared. It’s going to happen sooner or later. Just knowing its coming will stop you being caught off guard.
- Control the environment. Don’t let an argument or a fight spark the conversation. Try to avoid having it in public or when you might be interrupted (like in the morning before work). If the environment isn’t right, move it. Tell them you understand this is an important conversation but you don’t feel this is the right time and place. Set a new time and place, somewhere you won’t be distracted.
- Be honest. Relationships are tricky. Sometimes you just don’t know. And deciding if you want to commit to someone is a massive decision. So if you don’t know where your head or your heart is, be honest. Talk through what you like and don’t like about the relationship. Talk through your life situation and the things that may be holding you back. If you’re not sure, say so. It’s unfair on the other person to be vague or deceptive because you need more time to figure things out.
- Accept the outcome. Usually this conversation will finish with 1 of 3 outcomes. Either you move forward with your relationship, you continue as things are to reassess in the future or you part ways to look for greener pastures. Whatever the case, be mature and accept the outcome. Don’t have a hissy fit if it doesn’t work out like your dreams (her offering a no strings attached relationship and all her friends are invited / him proposing while doing the dishes and calling your mum).
- Understand the outcome can change. Remember, whatever happens, you can usually change it. Sometimes, losing someone is the only way you realise how much you care for them (or how much they annoy you).
Ever had a weird, funny or scary DTR talk?