I would like to take a moment and talk about one of the scariest conversations you can ever have.
Defining the relationship.
I am by no means a relationship expert. Honestly, you don’t even want to know all my previous relationships and where they went wrong. But there is one thing I do know: you have to define the relationship eventually.
Pretty common sense, right?
Wrong. People just expect the person they’re seeing to magically read their mind and know what they’re thinking and how they feel. That’s just totally unfair and that’s how you potentially ruin something that could be wonderful.
Relationships are a lot of “what-if’s” and there’s no point in making it even harder on you. That’s why you have the DTR, the defining the relationship.
Adam and I matched on Tinder like so many of our 21st century, Millennial, counterparts. We matched on February 27– four days after my 21st birthday– and we set our first date for the following weekend on March 4 (I only remember these dates because I wrote them down for Adam in a little anniversary book). He wound up staying the night because we got back late and slept on my couch. We woke up, ate breakfast together and he left to go back to Bragg. I kind of thought that would be the last time I would ever see him and went on about my day. Well, an hour and a half later I got a text from him asking to see me again soon. That Wednesday, I drove down to Fayetteville and we met up for dinner. I got back to Raleigh, texted him, and he asked if we could go out again this weekend.
I know, it all seems like it went so fast but stay with me here. While, yes, we had our first three dates over the course of a week, it didn’t go this fast for long.
For the entire month of March, we went back and forth between Raleigh and Fayetteville seeing each other. He would come on a Friday and leave on Saturday and I would come down on a Wednesday and meet up with him for dinner. Eventually, he told me that he was going to be doing a training exercise in the month of April and we might not be able to see each other as much while he was doing this. Right after he said that, he told me that wanted to be an exclusive couple and wanted to keep seeing just me. I didn’t even need to ask, he told me to just think about it.
Did I mention he also dropped the bomb that he was deploying in August that night, too? No? Yeah. He did. He gave me all the information I needed to make an informed decision.
We kept seeing each other after that and he never asked me for an answer. He was never pushing me to say yes and he never even brought it up. Around the end of April I texted him and said, “When you come over tonight I have some good news.” Sometimes I wonder if he knew what I was going to tell him but, to his credit, he didn’t push me to tell him right then and there. When he came over, we had the talk about what we were, what we expected from each other and that’s when we became an exclusive couple.
It has seriously been a wild ride with him. There’s been so many ups and downs and differences, I can’t count them all. The moral of this story is: don’t let anyone push you into doing anything you’re not ready to do. If you’re not ready to be in a relationship, tell them. Don’t make them read your mind because they can’t. I don’t know if anyone told you but people can’t read minds. Sorry. You need to speak up at every step of the process and let them know your thoughts, feelings, concerns and expectations.
In other words, don’t be Ross and Rachel.