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relationships PAGET: Getting the definition right in a new relationship

09:51  09 december  2022
09:51  09 december  2022 Source:   torontosun.com

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It’s called Defining the Relationship – also known as DTR – a gift we give ourselves. Labelling a relationship provides healthy boundaries and clarity around a new connection. It also allows us to communicate what we need and ensure the other person is on the same page. And yet, for many of us – myself included – the idea of asking to put a label on a relationship is so anxiety-inducing that it makes us feel like we’re about to board a rollercoaster after consuming a mixed-flavour Big Gulp.

  PAGET: Getting the definition right in a new relationship © Provided by Toronto Sun

So, if DTR is a healthy part of dating, why are we so afraid to have “the talk”?

This anxiety is common, says Suzannah Weiss, resident sexologist for the pleasure product brand Biird . “If someone wants something more serious than the other, this can bring up feelings of rejection, shame, and insecurity.” As Weiss explains, “by the time the ‘DTR’ conversation comes up, both people will likely have some level of attachment to each other. So, some people stall the conversation because they have a feeling that it will end the relationship.”

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The DTR talk isn’t a one-time occurrence, but rather a series of ongoing conversations. Weiss says it can even start with your dating profile, where you clearly state what you’re looking for (I.e. monogamy or a long-term relationship) – and continue on the first date. Weiss encourages people to talk about their previous dating experiences, to get a sense of what the other is looking for. “You can also ask a straightforward question like, ”so, what are you looking for on Hinge?” or “how did you end up on Bumble?”” she says.

The conversation gets deeper when things get physical. “Some people experience sexual regret because they have sex when thinking that the other person is looking for a relationship, and they aren’t,” says Weiss. “I would advise taking the opportunity, perhaps when you first kiss or if you are cuddling and sense that something more may happen, to say something like, ‘Hey, before things go further, I just wanted to check in and see if we’re on the same page. I’m looking for a relationship, and while I don’t need that to happen immediately, I want to see if that’s also what you’re looking for’,” she says.

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It can be helpful to label a relationship when you start to spend a consistent amount of time together. However, Weiss says, “I wouldn’t recommend trying to define the terms of the relationship less than two months after meeting; you don’t know each other well enough at that point, and you don’t want to jump into a relationship just to be in one,” says Weiss.

Weiss encourages people to start the conversation in a positive and low-pressure way.

“Let the person know how much you’ve enjoyed spending time with them, reiterate what you are looking for, and ask if that’s still something they’re looking for. If it is, let them know that they mean a lot to you and that you’d love for them to become even more of a fixture in your life, or however you’d like to phrase it,” she says.

It’s also important to decide beforehand what you’ll do if they’re not on the same page. “Otherwise, it is so easy to get swept up in the moment and agree to something that doesn’t sound great to you, or to convince yourselves you’re on the same page when you’re not,” says Weiss.

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Be wary of people who “don’t like labels.” As Weiss reminds us, even if a relationship isn’t serious, “labels are helpful in that they provide information about what to expect from each other.” She adds, refusing to label a relationship “can be a way to avoid communicating these important things, and misunderstandings can escalate.”

Therefore, “decide in advance what you’re willing to budge on (maybe you’re OK giving it more time before making it official as long as they do want to head in that direction) and what you will not budge on (maybe you’re not OK with only being hookup buddies),” says Weiss.

At the end of the day, while it may hurt to walk away from someone you’ve developed a connection with, it’s important to centre yourself and your own needs.

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This is interesting!