During my freshman year in college, I was in one of those sketchy relationships where I was sort-of “that guy”. This girl was sweet, but I was definitely taking a minimalist view of “strings attached”. Anyway, one day we were washing her car, when she decided to initiate the dreaded “determine the relationship” (DTR) conversation. It went something like this:
THIS GIRL: So, I was talking to my aunt the other day and she asked if we were dating.
THAT GUY: What did you tell her?
THIS GIRL: I don’t know. What should I tell her?
THAT GUY: That we’re not.
THIS GIRL: …
Yep, I was a prince.
Over the years I got a little better at the relationship thing and my DTRs got progressively longer, some taking hours or even days. Reb and are in one that is now going into it’s 13th year. For the most part, I’m having fewer and fewer of these conversations.
I am, however, currently caught up in a differnent kind of DTR, with a different kind of friend…
We met about 15 years ago, on my 21st birthday, and have been seeing each other on and off pretty regularly since then. She’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy spending time with her, but lately things have been a little different. Don’t get me wrong: she’s delightful and sometimes she’s even exotic. But even though we’ve had some good times together – she’s great at a party and also in the still moments at home – I can get so caught up with her that I don’t pay attention to anything or anyone else. There have been times when we might hang out a 5 or 6 times a week and other times when I wouldn’t see her for a month or so. She mostly comes around when I’m hungry, angry, lonely or tired and she’s pretty good at mitigating those feelings, for a while at least. At her best, she’ll offer me a new perspective, or help me laugh a little easier, or even reveal the Mystery a little more clearly. But mostly she’s just selfish, and more often than not, she takes more than she gives. I can’t tell you how many times she’s left me an empty wallet or a splitting headache. But the worst part is that when we spend too much time together, she makes it really hard to connect meaningfuly with others, which is a nice way of saying she sometimes makes me look like an ass. She’s just sort of possessive and scary and sometimes and lately, I just don’t feel that safe around her. My mom likes her a lot, and my wife even enjoys having her around but lately, but I’m just not so sure.
So, we’re doing the DTR thing. Ultimately, I’d really like us to be friends; but I’m not willing to let her ruin my relationships with my friends, my family, my self. I hope she understands. And I hope this particular DTR is relatively brief and uneventful. If not, I’m afraid she’ll have to share some bad news with her aunt.