For many men (and women) it seems the word, relationship has become a “bad” word. Remember when you were in grade school, worried about getting caught using one of George Carlin’s “7 Words You Can Never Say on Television?” These words were loaded. You discussed them with your friends. You questioned their meaning. You practiced saying them, hoping you wouldn’t get caught, or that you had enough zeal, zest behind each one so that the syllables would roll off your tongue easily. Flawlessly.
And in this same way, I hear women questioning the use of the “r” word. Relationship.
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Wondering if merely mentioning it will make a man run. Wondering if by stating that they are looking to be in a relationship with a man, the person whom they are dating will perceive this as vile, lewd, inappropriate and plain ol’ icky.
Alert: The word, “relationship,” is, in fact, not a bad word!
There is absolutely no need to avoid this word when you are dating someone whom you are beginning to care about. However, it must be used correctly. Thus, it is imperative that in using the word “relationship” in conversation you remember the following guidelines:
1. After approximately one month of dating consistently, it is appropriate to let your date know that you are ”now in a place in your life where finding a committed, long-term relationship has become one of the values which you hold as important.” In communicating your values, you are now sharing something with your date that will enable him or her to know who you are on a deeper level. Telling him that relationship is important to you, is akin to telling him that you place value on things like family, travel, or spirituality.
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Notice this: In using these words you are NOT telling your prospective partner that you want a relationship with him, right now. Instead, you are merely checking in with him to open up a conversation in which you collect new information — does this person have the same value as you regarding relationship? Thus, the world relationship is not “loaded.” Instead, discerning if you share the same values is merely information you collect in the process of “Data Dating,” which is the time spent getting to know someone in which you collect data about him/her while connecting through the shared experiences you have on dates together.
2. DO not ask him if he is want to be in a “relationship.” It is true what the dating gurus say, that men will often vanish when you bring up the word relationship. However this vanishing often occurs when you ask him if he wants to be in a relationship with you using language like, “where is this going,?” or ”how do you feel about us?” Notice that in these examples you are no longer talking about values. Instead, you are, in fact, putting him “on the spot,” as if you are demanding to know what he feels about you now, in this moment. Don’t do this.