Down To DTR and How I Actually Did It - V for Vadge


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Down To DTR and How I Actually Did It

Posted December 29, 2016 by Kimani in About Me

Down To DTR? One Millennial’s Struggle to ‘Define The Relationship’.

At the risk of sounding problematic, I get serious anxiety thinking about defining the relationship; how soon is too soon?

How do I ask? Do I ask? Is it just implied…?

I don’t know about anyone else, and I definitely haven’t had that many experiences where having to define the relationship have been that difficult. In fact, my last boyfriend told my mom we were exclusive before I even knew we were exclusive. One could say I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I’m the person my family makes fun of for a seriously concerning addiction to made for TV RomComs and Lifetime specials, which has greatly influenced my highly unrealistic relationship expectations. It’s actually something that I have been working on (my expectations, not my Lifetime addiction), so when a friend brought up the DTR question as I was gushing to her about an older guy I had met a few months ago, I started to have a major internal breakdown.

Suddenly I’m thinking about whether or not I’m ready to DTR or ‘define the relationship’ with the guy I’ve been talking to every day for the past few months. The concept is definitely easier said than done, especially for someone like me who is riddled with anxiety when thrust into the simplest of situations. Suddenly, Childish Gambino lyrics flooded my mind;

“are we dating, are we fucking, are we best friends, are we something?”


I basically mustered just about every ounce of bravery I had in my body to send a simple “what are we?” text, but I couldn’t do it. I worried about timing and if it was even necessary on my part because things were going good. Although my friends were looking out for me by giving the motivation I needed to gain the balls to ask, I was becoming more and more nervous about it. It wasn’t the question that had me in the cold sweats; it was more stressful thinking about his response, or worse, the outcome. What if he and I wanted two separate things? What if he ghosts me, a new harsh and irritating reality for millennials. The questions racing through my mind were giving me a headache and stressing me out. I could think of every negative scenario possible and none were worth having the conversation. I thought if I didn’t bring it up, nothing could go wrong. In reality I wasn’t ready for an answer I didn’t like.


I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t feel comfortable just asking a simple question like, “where do you see this, us, going?” or even working it into normal conversation, considering we talk like friends. We’re alike in just enough ways that it makes talking fun, plus we’re still learning about each other, so it’s definitely interesting. We don’t take each other or ourselves too seriously; everything comes naturally and effortlessly for the two of us. When evaluating the status of my relationship (or let’s be real, the lack thereof), I thought about the strenuous lengths we go to just to communicate, a solid indicator to me that things with us are going good. He and I can’t go on real dates because we live on opposite ends of the East Coast, with me just miles away from Miami and him in the heart of New York. Not to mention we both have very busy schedules — he works and has a young daughter, and I’m a reserve flight attendant always on the move. This leaves us with phone calls, daily text messages, and FaceTime to fill the void. It’s fun because FaceTime isn’t the most flattering option in the world, but once I overcame my shyness and having to be done up all the time, I slowly started to come out of my shell more during our chats. Hell, he’s seen my real ugly cry via my front facing iPhone camera. It feels nice to be vulnerable and receive no judgement; we use FaceTime during real, honest moments of our day, and I appreciate it because it feels like we’re together doing our regularly scheduled activities.

After a while, and a lot of thought, I felt like the time was right to DTR because I genuinely care about this guy and I felt like the feeling was mutual. When you talk to someone every single day about everything and nothing at all, you learn things about them that spark your interest. It’s not even about the amount of dates you go on (we’ve only gone out on one real, face-to-face date). We simply can’t because of the way our lives are set up, but we still make the time for each other. It’s always important, especially with a new relationship that seems to have potential for longevity to go above and beyond for each other, particularly if distance is a dominating factor. He drove three and half hours, crossing state lines on Black Friday to see me while I was on a layover. He put forth the effort and it spoke volumes to me. I was happy with the idea of our long distance relations becoming a long distance relationship.

Finally, during one of our frequent FaceTime calls, I just decided to go for it confidently, albeit awkwardly, and ask, “what are we doing?” I thought it was straight to the point but after repeating the question with a confused look on his face, he totally understood what I meant. Of course, while it wasn’t the answer I had been hoping for; “are you interested in taking this to the next level?” I was more so relieved he didn’t view me as just a hook up or a friend with benefits. He said we were “exploring what we have right now”, which I took as us having the potential to be something more if we continued on the track we’re on. After a moment of disappointment on my end we talked about it, and I came to realize that I had put too much stress on trying to define the relationship.



Everyone is different and every new relationship has a different dynamic. If you want to DTR with the guy you’ve been hooking up with for the past two months, do it, but do it on your own terms and don’t feel pressured because of what other people are telling you. Go with your gut, but most importantly, go with the flow. Have fun exploring in your new relationship and getting to know one another. Worrying about defining the relationship strips the other person of your full attentions, and that isn’t fair for them. There’s no definite timeline on when you should DTR, as long as you have the confidence to. And hey, if you’re anything like me and easily stressed about little things like having the talk, there are ways around that too. When you’re having fun and really interested in the person, the labels should be the last thing on your mind. But, if it’s what’s most important to you, bring it up casually, and don’t be offended if it’s not exactly what you had in mind because chances are, if you’re both as into each other as you think you are, it’ll get there. Now, if he says something totally and utterly exasperating, like you’re just a fuck buddy when you thought it was the real deal, dump his ass and keep it moving. Ain’t nobody got time for that.


Got questions? Want to DTR and need advice? Email and let’s chat! 

About the Author


A NY transplant in Florida, Kimani has taken on the task of educating the world on sexual health and education. The Mount Vernon native has seen AIDS and HIV spread through her community like wildfire, and hopes to cease the transmission of these and other diseases one person at a time. If you know better, you're inclined to do better.

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