“The Talk”: Who’s Supposed to Define The Relationship?

I was having a conversation with a girl friend of mine and we were discussing the inevitability of heartbreak. It is my opinion that everyone should get their heart broken at least once by the time they graduate from high school. There’s no way to escape that pain, it’s a non-negotiable part of the dating journey. Heartbreak and disappointment usually comes from cheating partners but nowadays disappointment comes from lack of communication and people being misled. With the rise of roaching and ghosting, people are more devious than ever and deception comes into play as people are only out to get what they want. So how can you cut down on the chances of being heartbroken or disappointed by the new person you’re dating?

The most surefire way to protect yourself from disappointment is to have define-the-relationship (DTR) talks with the person(s) you’re dating. This is the most secure way to get on the same page so that everyone’s intentions are known. The problem is that we’re not communicating effectively because we don’t want to look too vulnerable or needy. We’re afraid to express our true feelings because we run the risk of getting rejected which is a weak, fearful mind state to have. With good timing, the DTR conversation can save you from embarrassment or heartbreak before it’s too late.

So when is a good time to have the DTR conversation?

When it comes to dating, it is key to understand that there are no strict rules. You’re dealing with fickle human beings who want one thing today and the opposite tomorrow. So there is no clear time to have the DTR conversation but I am glad to offer my opinion on when it would be best. I believe that it is best to have the DTR conversation by the end of the third date.

The first date is obviously too soon to have such a serious conversation and here’s why. First, the first date should be treated as a pre-date. Unless you’ve already known each other prior to dating, you’re basically having dinner and/or drinks with a stranger. The first date is just to see if you even like this person. So, if a man brings up the DTR conversation on the first date, he will come off as desperate. This will turn a woman off because she doesn’t even know the guy and he’s already talking about a relationship. She will subconsciously know that a guy who gets so serious so early doesn’t get laid much and is probably going to turn out to be a weak, possessive control freak. If a woman brings up the DTR conversation on the first date, she will come off as stifling. A man doesn’t even know the woman yet, and if she’s already bringing up the DTR conversation his freedom is immediately threatened. Having the DTR on the first date is a definite no-no for both parties.

By the second date both people will have more familiarity with each other. Whereas the first date is a pre-date to get to know one another, the second date can be taken more seriously. This is the date where you get to know the person on a deeper level and determine whether the first date was just a flaw because you both were on your best behavior. It is my opinion that having the DTR conversation on the second date is still too soon because at this point, you two should just be having flirty fun with each other. Having the conversation this early still denotes desperation.

I believe the third date is ideal because now things are heating up. It is widely agreed that sex has the highest possibility of happening on the third date. If the gentleman plays his cards right at this point, he has established himself as a fun guy that the girl can enjoy herself with. She should be comfortable with him and her barriers should be lowered, opening the door for him to make that move. Because sex can definitely happen at this point, I believe this is why the third date is a great time to have the DTR talk. But who should be the one to initiate this conversation?

As mentioned earlier, there are no clearly defined rules when it comes to dating. Conventional wisdom states that it is the gentleman’s job to lead the woman, therefore it’s his job to have this talk. I believe that the person with the most to lose should be the one to initiate the DTR conversation. In most cases, this would be the woman. I wrote about how women have more to lose when it comes to sex in this article so let’s not waste too much time there. The person who is most emotionally invested should be the one to initiate the DTR talk because they are the one most at risk for heartbreak.

I must warn you, having the DTR conversation does not mean that you will never get hurt or deceived again. There are people out there who will tell you what you want to hear just to sleep with you. So women, if you have the talk with the guy you’re dating and you still get lied to then there’s nothing you can do. It is up to you to be an outstanding judge of character and determine whether this guy you’re dating is worthy of a relationship; this is what the first few dates are for. Remember, the DTR conversation won’t save you but it will allow you the opportunity to be clear with what you expect from him while allowing him to express his intentions.

Don’t be foolish and trick yourself into believing that you will never get your heart broken again, this is naive. However, by communicating clearly and defining the relationship after several dates you can lower the chances of heartbreak. I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.

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