Monday, November 17, 2008


I don’t claim to have much insight into the inner workings of a man’s brain. Especially when it comes to relationships… or beginning a relationship…or trying to define a relationship. What men think and why they think it doesn’t always make sense to a rational person (read:woman). You see evidence of this all the time. Her profile reads in a relationship, his says single. She can’t wait to introduce him to all her friends, his friends have never heard her name. He can go months-- even years-- just hanging out, she is asking after a few dates where this is heading. She's trying to have the D.T.R.(define the relationship), and he's having none of it.

I am not stereotypically ‘female’ when it comes to labels and such. I have been known to drag my feet a bit at times but if I had to fall on one side of the fence, I would definitely say that I prefer knowing that we are reading the same page, and that in fact we are turning pages in the same direction, at roughly the same place. I believe it is important for sanity’s sake. But men tend to have a different definition of sanity, one that believes life is easier and more enjoyable when you don’t have to “define” anything. I shake my head in wonder when one of my guy friends laments over receiving the D.T.R., that may come in the form of a face-to-face conversation, phone call, email, or text. Just when things are going perfectly in their mind, she has to screw it up and try and make sense of it all. The audacity!

So in my attempts at understanding the male mind just a little bit better, I want to know what about defining a relationship is so unpleasant. Why do you break out in a cold sweat when the conversation begins with we need to talk…. Is it an all the time occurrence or does it depend on the specific relationship in question? I realize this doesn’t apply to all men and does apply to some women so anyone and everyone is free to add their two cents as we figure out this phenomenon together.


Bianca said...

I have no room to comment on this, but I can't wait to read the responses!

So, have YOU had and DTRs lately? :)

Daniel said...

Ms. Glenn,
Can you define "define"?

Anonymous said...

It depends on the guy and it depends on the relationship. Some guys are non committal period. At the point they are in their life they want to play the field and get as much ass as possible, or at least have a few steady sources, OR AT THE VERY LEAST, have one steady source with the option to commit or move on to something better if it happens to come along. Kinda like a month to month lease on an apartment.

On the other hand, some guys are not necessarily ruling out committment altogether, they just know they don't want to be committed to you. At least not yet.

I'll tell you this much, if someone you are dating in some capacity is uncomfortable with the attempt to DTR as you call it, that is a bad sign (assuming it's not super early in the relationship and you guys actually know each other fairly well). It means either he is not at a stage in his life when he wants to be committed, or he just knows he doesn't want to be committed to you, but he likes hanging out with you and doing whatever else yall are doing so he doesn't want to piss you off or drive you away.

I'll use myself as an example, back in 2001 (and the first few days of 2002) I was totally non-committal to anyone. I dated, had several "relationships" ongoing and was looking to create more. Luckily I had distance on my side in most cases which made avoiding committment pretty easy, but if the subject did come up I would certainly do my best to bullshit my way out of it and avoid defining our relationship because I knew the answer she was looking for was a long way from what I was going to give her. The truth was, I liked meeting up, hanging out, and going back to the house with these girls, but I knew there was no real future as far as girlfriend/marriage for whatever reason.

Then I meet this girl on Jan 5, 2002. I couldn't define that relationship (lock her down) quick enough. she was actually the one trying to avoid the DTR more than me! I think you may even know who I'm talking about, if you remember dates well anyway.

Dana said...


A lot of my guy friends are self-professed "playas" and they teach me a lot. These are actual friends...not people I would date - although I have had a couple of lemons (i.e. guys who say they are single and then I happen to find out the bastard was lying)!! Anywho... One of my "playa" friends told me that when a guy doesn't want to DTR, it's b/c they aren't really sure if they are feeling the "chick" they are with "like that" so they want to keep their options open "just in case". I thought that ish was HILARIOUS...until it happened to me!! DAMN!!

Before it happened to me, I was totally like, "WHAT self-respecting woman would fall for that ish?" After it happened to me, I saw how easy it was to get caught up in the moment and not pay attention to what was really going on and I'd totally lost respect for myself by allowing it...I think that's what happens to females when the guy they're feeling doesn't want to DTR. They are so caught up in him and want things to work so badly that they put up with foolishness just to keep him...and he's like, "Well, if she'll let me do it, I'm gonna do it!" Can't say I can hate on the dude's logic in that situation... I definitely don't condone it, but it is what it is. I think once the woman gets fed up and wants to actually DTR, it's at a point where it hasn't been defined for so long that the guy is like "Damn, why are you all of a sudden hassling me about this?" When she's actually been thinking about it since their relationship began, but didn't want to rock the boat.

So long story short, that's my theory... guys that don't want to DTR are keeping their options open just in case something "better" shows up. I'm sure it's the same for women as well who don't like to DTR... but I'll wait to hear the real from people that actually do that! ;-)

My advice (not that anyone asked for it, but whatev) would be to just man up and set expectations up front. If someone is secretive about their motives and doesn't want to DTR, it's usually b/c they're up to no good... no matter how "great" they might be otherwise. I don't think the real issue is what the non-DTRer is thinking - we already know...they don't want to define the relationship. It's actually about what the person that wants to DTR is thinking. I've heard of compromises, but if you want to DTR and you get with someone who doesn't want to DTR, the foundation of that relationship is not solid AND (ding ding ding) IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK!!! That's like buying an ugly pair of shoes and expecting them to look different after you get them home... it's not gonna happen. They may wear on you later and you settle, but why settle for ugly payless shoes when what you really want are some fab Jimmy Choo stilettos from the Spring 2009 collection??? Hahaha Why not just save (i.e. WAIT) for them? Don't attempt to say the payless shoes are just as great just to make yourself feel better. And don't blame the payless shoes when your feet start to hurt b/c they suck. It's your decision that sucked in choosing them when you knew it wasn't what you really wanted.

Sorry Bri...that was pretty long winded, but I had to get that out... It obviously hit a little too close to home for me! ;-) I'm so talking more to myself than anyone else... ;-) Me and my tangents... UGH

Jon Lustig said...

'Help me understand the mind of the modern man.' You don't ask for much do you?

As I've said before, I think it's a cultural problem more than anything. Where being in a serious relationship was once seen to be admirable and a sign of maturity and moving forward in one's life, today it's portrayed as being something stiff and restrictive and dull. Today men don't want to make choices, they want to keep all their choices available until the last possible moment. They don't want to put themselves in a situation where actions might have real consequences, consequences they might regret later. That's how you end up with people living together while having no plans to actually move their relationship forward. Today it's considered to be kind of normal, years ago it wasn't.

As for dreading/avoiding a D.T.R., I think it's self-confidence. If you're truly comfortable with who you are, you won't be afraid of knowing where you stand with someone and vice versa.

Dana said...

Anonymous's comment (directly above my first comment) reminds me of how my boys (the "playas") talk to me!! Haha Loves it!! ;-) I so want to hear more about miss January 5, 2002!! Hahaha Sounds kinda juicy and kinda karma'ish. Plus, I'm nosey!! ;-)

t.v. said...

Women are the most intelligent creatures on this earth, but when it comes to love and relationships they can be the most dense and simple minded beings around.

If a woman is having the talk with her man about DTR, then I would hope that's because she knows that the relationship is "doomed" and she's seeking confirmation by trying to DTR, so she can move on.
If that's not the case, then why try to DTR when things are going fine and are where they should be?

I´ve had a DTR moment and I was not in the mood for it and I brushed him off when he brought it up. I was not ready for that.(I think he knew that). I was more than comfortable with what we had and was not even feeling the him like that. Commitment just wasn't part of my plans. How dare he spoil everything by getting serious on me.
Thing is, he fell in love and I didn´t. And that's usually the problem, the defining moment when one falls and the other doesn't.

Staying in a relationship after trying to have the DTR talk that didn't go well or as planned, is plain ole disrespectful to oneself.

Tha BossMack TopSoil said...

Good Post babygurl.

Brianna said...

@ am i supposed to know who you are??? i am bad with dates but my guess would be M.U.

@ dana...GO JIMMY CHOO!!! i feel you. :)

@ john...yes, its definitely been a cultural shift.

@ t.v...i think that because men and women interpret things so differently, the talks are sometimes important so you can be on the same's more of just being aware of what you are dealing with.

t.v. said...

Kind of like the "women are from venus and men are from mars" theory?

Well I personally think that society is to blame.

Boys and girls think and behave the same as babies, however as they become older men are classically conditioned to behave as "men". (Nature vs Nurture theory). And that's where the riff takes place.
So now as adults we have to continue trying to keep up with each other to always make sure we're on the same page, especially where relationships are concern.

Men whom "feminine side" has been developed understands women so much better, however society looks down on them and labels them "funny". ;) smh.
So call "real men" can learn a thing or two from them. lol.

Rational_Thinker said...

I think the post from the top "anonymous" is fairly accurate. We (men) like to lead or believe that we're leading the relationship. Even if a guy is thinking about marriage, he still wants to be the one to bring it up first. You should know after a reasonable amount of time whether he wants more than just to hang out. Reasonable is fairly flexible but if the signs aren’t clear by three to six months, move on.

I mentioned this before, if a guy is interested, you WILL know. There won’t even be the need to DTR because all the long-term, committed communication will be there verbally and non-verbally. If he doesn’t hint at it and ignore your “playful” hints, he’s not interested in marriage. Don’t delude yourself into thinking the DTR conversation is going to make a guy commit.



Anonymous said...

Ladies if a man wishes to be in a relationship with you, he will have no problems let you know. But DTR are serious and I can understand why you ladies love it so much.

Anonymous said...

Dana, you've heard plenty about Miss January 5 on this blog already, trust me.

Jasmine said...

why must you ask the most unanswerable question?! ;)

Anonymous said...

I know you think I don't read your blog but I do.
If you want to have the talk, then here is as good as anywhere.
I am falling in love with you and would like to make it official.
You are the one I have always dreamed of and I want and see us growing old together.
You make me a better person.

Will you marry me?


Anonymous said...

sounds like "church-guy" isn't so perfect as you first believed. sorry the honeymoon is over.

Daniel said...

Are "we" (your faithful readers) invited?
I got a suit around here somewhere ...

Brianna said...

@ rational have such an appropriate name!!!

@ everyone else...I don't know who "me" is unfortunately. no wedding bells in the near future. (i have received plenty of emails and texts)

brit_brat said...

I'm not even going to try to put my two cents in here....
when it comes to relationships, and men in general, I SUCK!