7 Reasons You Need To Define Your Relationship

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DTR Meaning: Why It's Important To Define The Relationship

Guy and girl meet. Guy and girl start to like each other. Guy and girl separately decide to stop seeing other people, but never actually discuss it with each other. And the topic of mutual exclusivity is avoided by both parties at all costs. 

This is the latest and greatest trend among young daters. Once we finally achieve the seemingly impossible feat of finding someone who makes all of the other options seem obsolete, we don't want to talk to them about it or even learn how to tell if he wants a relationship. 

Why? Finding someone to date is hard enough, but having the "DTR" conversation about where your relationship stands seems nearly impossible because it has become a rarity in our dating lives.

Abbreviated as DTR, what does it mean to define the relationship?

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For starters, the whole “What are we?” conversation seems so stale, juvenile, and awkward. Something about it just reeks of our awkward high school years and we just can't go there. How do you even start talking about it? 

Secondly, if you’re having fun with someone and are scarred by a past of a few good dates gone awry, you do not want to risk blowing it by talking about commitment too soon and possibly never going out with this person again. 

We would rather die than be the one to bring it up, even when we’re 100 percent sure our pseudo-significant other is on the exact same page. So, instead, we keep the whole “I’m off the market” discussions and comments among our closest friends, to random bar trolls looking for numbers, and within our minds as we drift off to sleep. 

In my stubborn mind, and being the victim of “not wanting to bring this conversation up” labels don't matter to me. If I know without a doubt that I’m with someone who is only interested in me, and vice versa, I don't think the whole “What are we?” conversation needs to happen.

You’re both into it, dating/hooking up with other people would be deemed cheating, so that means you’re boyfriend and girlfriend. Boom, done and solved! 

My stubborn rationalization is one we all use as a crutch and an excuse when avoiding determining if he wants a relationship. Perhaps this is the exact same mindset all young daters use to comfort them in their label-less confusion.

However, this is not an trend we should keep around.

Here's why it's important for you to define the relationship and have the "what are we?" conversation.

1. Labels actually do matter.

For some people, until that actual discussion happens, they have a huge outlet to be polygamous. You never talked about how you both weren’t seeing other people, remember?

If you choose to avoid defining the relationship, you might end up getting blindsided by someone who didn’t feel the same about your relationship as you did. 

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2. If you want a relationship, you want to define it.

I know this to be true because I’ve done this before. Was I interested in other people? No, but I truly didn't want my relationship in question to enter “serious” territory, ever.

I knew this relationship wasn’t going to last very long, so I didn't feel the need to slap the label on it. If your potential significant other isn’t defining the relationship, it's because they don't want you to be their girlfriend or boyfriend. 

3. If they aren’t your partner, then what are they?

Would you consider yourself single? Would you consider them just a friend? Just a friends with benefits?

You can't help but feel slightly dumb calling someone your boyfriend or girlfriend when you really haven’t clarified that with them.

Therefore, you can't help but feel kind of weird while attempting to explain to your mom who you’re bringing to your cousin's wedding, or to your coworker who you went to dinner with the night before. 

4. It’s disrespectful to you if he avoids having the conversation.

If you avoid defining the relationship because you think they should bring it up, you aren’t demanding any respect for yourself. If you are putting time and effort into a relationship, you deserve to have that recognized with the label of boyfriend or girlfriend.

For all you know they might avoid it until you bring it up. This could lead to months spent just being someone’s “plus one” when you actually are so much more than that.

5. You won't know how they describe you to others.

Imagine for one split second you are wrong and they don’t feel the exact same as you do. They aren’t hoping to date you, ever. They are keeping you around as a friends with benefits, which is exactly how they refer to you around their friends.

Wouldn’t you want to know sooner rather than later if the whole town thinks the two of you are just having casual sex?

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6. Giving up your single life shouldn’t scare you.

You likely have survived this before, and have likely survived a breakup as well. The key in that sentence is "you survived."

Your life is not at stake when you commit to a boyfriend or a girlfriend. You are still allowed to have fun both in your single life and in your taken life. Your life only changes as much as you want it to.

The single life is not all that great, so don’t be terrified to leave the lonely nights behind. 

7. It's a chance for you to go after what you want.

If you find yourself in the happy situation of having someone awesome in your life who makes you eager to abandon your single days, you need to man up and have the DTR conversation. It makes life easier for everyone. 

As juvenile as it may seem, it's more juvenile to avoid speaking your mind. Whether that conversation goes as planned or not, at least you figure out where you stand and what's actually going on with this relationship. Isn't that kind of the point of dating, after all? 

As humans, we categorize absolutely everything, and we take this up a notch when it comes to relationships and dating. Isn't that why we invented 90 different terms for dating and breaking up? (I’m referring to talking, benching, ghosting, shacking, and so on.)

Until you and your significant other decide that you’re actually carrying the term "boyfriend and girlfriend," you leave the door open for confusion. Don't do this to yourself and whomever you’d like to date.

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Karen & Kristy Ambrose are twins who are passionate about writing, especially about topics geared toward their fellow ladies. Follow them on Twitter or visit their website.