You've been dating a while now, and he seems really into you. But you're ready to define things.
After you spend a certain amount of time with a guy, inevitably, you must have the "So, what are we?" relationship talk. You can tell it's time for "the talk" when, suddenly, instead of spending one weeknight and one weekend night together you're suddenly seeing each other every-other-day (and he even lets mentions he'd like to spend even more time with you).
He may also start mentioning other women in an attempt to gauge your reaction and get a sense of how much you care. Think: He went out without you on Saturday (no biggie, you're not officially dating, right?) and fills you in the next morning on the woman who blatantly hit on him on the dance floor. Hmm, are you... jealous? inquisitive? watchful over your man, ahem, friend?
First things first. Why is this an important step in the relationship process (even if you decidely do not want any strings attached)? Well, two things, really.
The first is that each person wants to know what to expect and how much to invest emotionally in whatever you two have going on. Spending increasingly more time together is a sign of progress, but to what end is unknown until it is spoken. A simple, heartfelt and direct "defining" moment can set the course straight and let each person's objectives and desires be known.
Secondly, no one wants to get hurt. If each person clearly knows where he or she stands then this is a solid step to avoiding the quashing of anyone's feelings (whether intentional or not). Here are three tips to keep in mind when navigating the "How About Us?" talk toward the outcome you desire.
1. Don't be caught off-guard. Pay attention to the signs. If you're increasingly spending more time together and more questions are arising about the other people with whom you attend activities (aka, are they single or married?) then, honey, the talk is looming on the horizon. Be prepared. Take some time on your own to think about where you see this going and be able to articulate what you want and need to be happy in a relationship.
2. Be a straight shooter. Talking about feelings is never easy, especially if this is new conversation territory with your guy. It's easy to shy away and be bashful. But try to resist the urge. If you like the guy and want more, let him know. If you like the guy but don't see it going anywhere, let him know. If you're confused as all get out, but are still having a ball, let him know. Communication is the key to opening all doors and is one heckuva strong note on which to start any relationship (or friendship, for that matter).
3. Close the deal. Don't let the conversation remain open-ended. E-x-c-l-u-s-i-v-e. Say it with us. Either you are or you are not. Your objective in this chat is to find out which it is going to be and go with it. Once you one of you spits out the word the hardest part is over. Then, you can find out which each other is thinking and not be left wondering.