Men dread it, women demand it, and it’s practically inevitable. Without it, opportunity may be lost, with it, ball and chain may be shackled. Determine the Relationship, or (DTR), is a conversation held between a couple deciding whether or not to pursue a relationship.

It determines not only whether or not a relationship is to be had, but also the terms of future contact. Most people have had a DTR at one point or time in their life, even if they didn’t know it. Unless unusual circumstances abide, a DTR should be put off for a few dates.

”Honey, I think it’s time for the DTR.”

“Ugh… okay? What is that?”

“Well, I just want to know if this is going somewhere… you know?”

“Oh. I see.” (Gulps)

DTR’s aren’t always as blunt as this. Often they can be much more subtle.

    Men, these are your warning signs
  • You’re alone with her.
  • Your woman demands eye contact.
  • She starts talking about how you first met, or how you’re the most wonderful man she’s ever met, or any sort of mention about parents – i.e. family dinner, my mom asked about you, etc.
  • No matter how much you attempt to change the subject, she’ll keep talking about you as a couple.

Of course it’s not always the girl who starts these conversations, but stereotypically speaking, it is. A man who wants to have a DTR has a lot more to lose. Rejection. If a guy rejects a girl’s call for a relationship, things may still be on course, they may still even date. But if a girl rejects a guy’s call for a DTR, you’re likely either in, or you’re out. This can also be true vice versa, but not to the same extreme. A girl who rejects a DTR knows the guy is already committed and may feel like he will become needy. You see, when guys make up their minds, they make up their minds, and girls seem to know this.

How not to bring up the DTR
Pressure from family and friends to push the DTR should not be included in your decision making process. I spoke with one of my friends who explained her awkward situation.

”It’s usually the girl that always brings it up. I just think guys don't care about that kind of stuff. They just think, just as long we are together then it doesn't matter. So with Jason, he's pretty quiet and doesn't open up to people so it had to be me to do it. Plus, my mom and dad wanted to know if we were serious or not. I had no clue how to bring it up. That was what made it awkward.”

So I just said, "So Jason, I was just thinking what you thought about us and my parents have been questioning me about whether we are serious or not.

So are we?”

Better simplified
Not only did that show the desperation of the situation, but put out the blunt question out in the open. The word serious can be misleading as well. It’s a pretty ambiguous word. To one person it may mean, “We only date each other.” To another it may mean, “Let’s get married.” There’s no fool proof way to say it, however. But it may make it less awkward if it is simplified. “Would you like to be my boyfriend/girlfriend?”

Keep it casual
Don’t scream your affection with “I love you.” Hollywood over dramatizes this. Even if you feel like you do love them, wait well into the relationship before uttering those words. They are invitation to rejection. This is especially important if you haven’t known each other very long. There is love at first sight to consider, but if it isn’t mutual…

Commit together, not alone
Saying, “I only want to date you,” is okay. Better would be, however, “What do you think about us only dating each other?” It insinuates you want to commit, but won’t do it without them. Taking steps together is exactly what relationship building is about.

”We can take this slow.”
Words that melt a women. Words that won’t scare a man. Patience is love’s favorite virtue.

Flirting creates casual. If they flirt back, that’s even better. If you can flirt with someone, that’s a good sign that you can have a relationship with them.

Lastly, a word of dating advice to consider, before the DTR
”Your beliefs are important because they determine the relationship (or lack of relationship) you end up with. For example, if you believe that all men cheat, you'll attract cheaters. If you believe that men resist commitment, you'll probably end up with a guy who's in no hurry to sit for an engagement photo. If you believe you don't have what it takes to meet a guy who'll love you for the rest of your life, guess what? You're right. Change your beliefs, and you'll change the type of men --and relationships -- you attract.” (Ezine Articles)

My friend’s awkward moment.
Dare I say, personal experience?

Oh, how bile rose in my throat when reading the oh-so-politically correct title of this node.

Whatever happened to merely allowing things between two mature people to take their course? Buddhists like myself believe that life is written in a book and cannot be changed, so we must therefore embrace each precious moment and enjoy it to its fullest. Conversely, if you're having a spat, do whatever you can to talk it out like responsible adults, and accept the fact that he/she may indeed not be the one you're going to spend the rest of your life with.

Perhaps those of you who're wondering what the hell I mean by "take their course" need intelligencing.

There was a time when milestones in a relationship included:

  • The couple's first sexual encounter, closely followed by (oh, you fucking prudes, get over it; shit happens):
  • A gift of significance given to the young woman by the young man (it can work backwards these days, thanks to feminism)
  • The thrill of the "plateau;" a relationship unfettered by tradition no matter how often parents/relatives poke at the two persons involved in the relationship demanding to know when they're going to 'get serious,' 'hook up and have some kids/grandchildren' — or the more overt version: 'when're you gonna get married.'
  • The telling of those who'd like to know when you're going to "tie the knot" to fuck off and if they insist on involving themselves in other's intimacies to write a letter to Dear Abby or Ann Landers or whatever other hand-wringer gets published in the local propaganda sheet.

If any, I repeat, any of the preceding are contingent upon a discussion of "determining your relationship" I'm afraid you're just friends and there's precious little chance that your relationship will, in a one-, two- or three-hour conversation suddenly morph into an engagement. It is the ultimate act of un-chivalry (hey! I just coined a word!) to have a deep discussion about a relationship prior to ending up with man (or woman) on bended knee offering an exorbitantly expensive article of jewellry to their beloved and then (by the way) asking for a lifetime commitment to love, cherish in sickness and in health until death do you part. Or one of you kills the other one.

Such "engagement" commitment must be later consummated perhaps in the company of a small group of friends with a few precious vows uttered or in a cathedral with no fewer than three hundred souls in attendance. The three hundred souls in attendance part is only appropriate if someone (traditionally the father of the bride) feels like spending about $350 per person entertaining them at a party following the exchange of vows.

Let's face it — if there're doubts, any doubts, on the part of either party it just ain't gonna be a good idea to get married. Beside, you'll be really embarrassed having to return the toasters, blenders, crystal vases and other knick-knacks you've just been gifted with at your shower/stag. Which brings me to another topic I'd be doing us both a disservice not to mention:  I refuse to lower myself to giving any thought whatsoever to the current feminist-driven "Jack and Jill" shower merely because the idea of having a pre-party for the sole purpose of getting gifts prior to the wedding day is the 'progressive' thing to do. Suffice it to say that the guests at the wedding are typically obliged to part with a small envelope containing a check for far more than what the host of the reception has paid to have them take part in the festivities.

I guess what I'm saying is that in the name of all that's holy, we know that the women are gonna be giving the bride-to-be baby clothes and the guys are gonna want to act like drunken assholes sometime shortly prior to the wedding so that they get it out of their system by the time they don their rented formal wear and accompany their best buddy in the front row of the church and at the dais at the reception.

Let me finish with some bullet-points which demonstrate just how silly the idea of "determining one's relationship" is:

  • "Er, uh, I think we ought to get married" says the guy. Get on bended knee and ask her, you fool!
  • "I want a commitment." Commit yourself to an insane asylum, darling. If you can't trust him you ought not to marry him.
  • I ask you, how hard is it to pledge to live the remainder of your life with the guy/gal who makes your head spin and gives you goosebumps every time you touch them?
  • To repeat: let's get real — if there're doubts, any doubts, on the part of either party it just ain't gonna be a good idea to get married.

ADDENDUM: Okay, so you have doubts but you're a sex goddess and he's 98 years old and worth about a billion dollars. You go, girl! Think how much classier you can be than the late Anna Nicole Smith.

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