“What are we?” Three simple words, an even simpler question and still one of the most difficult and complicated one to articulate.

I think we’ve all been there. I know I was. I was so scared to ask the man I was dating, “Where do we stand?” or, “Are we boyfriend and girlfriend?” or, “Are we exclusive?” even though those questions were always at the back of my mind.

I was in something undefined. We were more than friends, less than a couple and it used to drive me insane.

But I couldn’t force myself to have the talk. That is one of the things I ended up regretting the most.

Time just flew right past me as I delayed the talk and he flew right out of my life as someone who meant the world to me, even though I never knew if he was entirely mine.

I fell into a trap of an almost relationship I never wanted to be a part of.

I always wanted the consistency and stability that a committed relationship provided.

I was just so scared of what he might say, I was scared I would lose him and all we had.

Guess what? I lost him anyway, the only difference being that it hurt so much more when he left than it would have if we’d had the talk in the beginning.

This way, we got the chance to create memories, share unforgettable moments that hurt so much more.

His kisses were imprinted on my skin, I missed his smell on my sheets before I fell asleep, I missed our little talks, I missed him, I missed us.

I was broken regardless of any labels but from this perspective, now that is all behind me, I wish I had confronted him and asked him, “What are we?”  

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

It wouldn’t have made any difference to my brokenness but it would have made a difference to my mind.

The time we shared would have been better if I had known I was his girlfriend.

His absence would have hurt less if I had known where I stood right from the start.

I wouldn’t have lost my energy, my time or my emotions on someone who had no intention of staying.

I made a mistake by not clearing things up with him right from the start.

The positive thing is that I never repeated that mistake again and I am here to help you not to make one either.

Before you can ask, “What are we?” make sure you have covered all the basics.

You can’t ask a man you barely know to label your relationship. There has to be a certain dating period. But never allow it to last too long.

Don’t rush the conversation and before you have the talk make sure you are on the same page and want the same things.

How do you go about doing that? How to know that he wants to be your boyfriend?

Well, there will be some obvious signs, you just need to know how to read them:

1. You spend a lot of time together

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

You always make time for each other, much more than you do for other people.

No matter how busy you are and what you have going on, something draws him to you and you to him.

2.  He doesn’t mind posting photos of you on his social media accounts

These days, social media speaks volumes.

If he is the type of guy who posts a lot on his social media accounts and he doesn’t mind posting a photo with you, it’s a good sign he is ready for the next step.

By doing that, he is letting other women know that he has something going on and that he is off the market.

3. Other people assume you are a couple

The chemistry between the two of you is so powerful that other people pick up on it too. They can clearly see that you are more than friends.

Also, if he gets confused when introducing you to other people, it’s a good sign to have the talk and see if you are at least headed toward the same goal.

4. You keep in touch on a regular basis

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

If you don’t spend time together, you at least text, Snapchat or call one another. Keeping in touch is very important to both of you.

If he doesn’t allow a day to go by without hearing from you, he is letting you know that he is already hooked.

5. He isn’t afraid to talk about the future

You make plans together and they can be short-term or long-term but the important thing is he doesn’t run away from them.

He wants to let you know that you are a big part of his future plans, no matter how tiny they might seem.

6. He includes you in his life and wants to be a part of yours

Of course, you won’t skip the other steps and meet each other’s parents right away but friends are a must.

If you know each other’s friends, or at least his friends know of you and send you their hellos when they speak to him, you are somebody important in his life.

What to do if he does none of the things listed above?

Talk to him anyway. There is nothing to fear.

If this is a guy you’ve been dating for a while and he is sending you mixed signals and driving you nuts with them, put your mind at peace and simply ask him, “What are we?”

Whatever his answer might be, you are better off knowing than not knowing.

If the only thing stopping you from asking the question you want to ask is your fear that you are going to lose him, ask yourself if there is something to lose and if this thing you have going on is headed on the right path.

Rely on your instincts.

You already know deep down what his answer will be; the only question is if that is something you want to hear or not.

If his answer is something you don’t want to hear, ask it anyway.

Staying in a casual relationship when you want a more committed one is not the answer either.

You will only accumulate dissatisfaction and you won’t be happy if the situation remains unchanged. So, there is no reason to stay.

On the other hand, if his answer is something you want to hear, what reason more do you need to simply ask the question and know for sure where you stand.

Timing is everything.

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

If you ask the question too soon, you can scare him away because he will have the impression that you are asking for too much too early on.

Choosing the right moment to have the talk is just as important, if not even more so, than what you have to say.

Give it a while and let everything develop naturally and if it doesn’t, give it a little push. You won’t be waiting around forever once you know.

“We need to talk,” is the worst conversation starter ever.

Those words immediately hit the panic button in the male mind and he is anxious about what you have to say.

It’s easy enough for guys these days to freak out and pull away— they don’t need any extra help.

“We need to talk,” creates a negative atmosphere and adds to the pressure of the whole situation. Avoid it at all costs.

Who says this conversation has to be serious?

Most people expect a serious conversation, where one side displays all their wishes and demands and the other side states how they feel about that.

That is a bit dull, puts pressure on both parties involved and is totally unnecessary.

It would be so much better if you wrapped it up as something funny with a serious note—e.g. “Will we couple up or is this fabulous ass of mine still on the market?” or, “I want to know where we stand so I can tell all the boys lined up at my front door to buzz off or try harder; it’s up to you.”

Be creative and imaginative, I am sure that there is a ton of things that will cross your mind or come up from a past conversation that will make you say the right words.

A simple, “What are we?” in a casual and laid-back context will have a greater impact than a forced conversation between the two of you, where you are nervous and pronouncing all the words wrong.

With all that said, there is one more thing you need to do and that is make sure you are both sober while having the conversation.

OK, maybe one drink to relax you but not a sip more.

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

Delaying the conversation about your relationship status is one of your constant thoughts and if you had a sip or two too many, you might say all the things you want to say but in the wrong way.

Words will just come out wrong, you will say some things you don’t mean, he will follow your lead and everything will turn into one big chaotic mess.

Simply avoid drinking with him until you know where you guys are at.

Whatever you do, don’t even think about texting him about it—have the talk in person.

It’s easier to look for an escape from a difficult conversation by hiding behind a screen.

It’s easier to text than to talk face-to-face. It’s easier but it’s not the best option.

Texting won’t give you insight into the whole situation.

You won’t be able to see his face, monitor his body movement or hear the sound of his voice when he gives you the answer.

Something gets lost between the written lines and it can never be a substitute for a real-life conversation between two people.

You lose the bond that links you together and that intimate feeling when you text.

Make sure you are physically close to him while asking your question.

Physical closeness builds intimacy and it will be more of a heartfelt conversation if you are next to him than, let’s say, across the table from him.

He is more relaxed when you are next to him and more attentive to your words.

Touching his arm while you speak is also a handy trick that you may or may not want to try out but it subconsciously soothes and calms him.

Take him down memory lane (no matter whether it’s a short or long trip).

Be confident, cocky and flirty. Tell him about the things you first liked about him when you just met.

Tell him something along the lines of, “I never knew that such an attractive face came with such an amazing personality,” or, “I don’t know about you but to me, this is starting to feel like a lot more than just a hookup?” or similar.

l him something along the lines of, “I never knew that such an attractive face came with such an amazing personality,” or, “I don’t know about you but to me, this is starting to feel like a lot more than just a hookup?” or similar.

It’s better and less threatening than asking him upfront about what you want to know.

While all you are trying to say comes down to ‘love me or leave me, there are no in-betweens’, let him read between the lines.

It won’t intimidate him and it will give him a sense of mystery and intrigue, which is always welcome.

Don’t keep your emotions bottled up inside.

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

If you’ve been dating for a long while now and you are waiting for him to make the move to the real relationship level and he doesn’t budge, it is without a doubt frustrating as hell.

That’s when all these scenarios start to line up in your head. You start to think that he is not feeling what you are feeling and that you are wasting your time.

Subconsciously, you are holding that against him and you are even angry at him to a certain extent because he is not clear about his feelings and you feel led on and used.

Still talking to him about your relationship status feels impossible and your fear of losing him is greater than your desires.

If you keep this up, you will lose him and you will lose yourself in the process.

We all know the gravity of the explosion of all those bottled up emotions and it won’t be pretty.

The longer you wait, the more things you will have to rub in his face and be dissatisfied with and by then it’s already too late to fix anything, let alone get back on the right track.

Don’t rush into the future.

Make sure you are talking about ‘what are we now’ instead of ‘what we can be in the future’.

If you start to talk about some more serious stuff, like moving in together, getting married or having babies who will be little pieces of the two of you, you are going to sabotage the whole thing.

That’s just rushing things and there’s no need to do that. It will scare him away. Take things slowly, go from dating to ‘into a relationship’ and then progress if there is a need for progression.

There’s no need to talk about the rest now; those things will fall into place if you discover that you are made for each other as you go down the line.

Stay along the lines of “I like what we have now and I would like to know if you feel the same?” or, “You are more than just a random hookup to me and I want to know if you feel the same about me?” and then after that, simply ask, “What are we?”

Don’t believe in the ‘if he is meant for you he will know right away’ BS.

Even though you want to know where you guys are at right this instant, he just might not know right away.

It’s not because he doesn’t care, it’s because men function at a slower pace than women.

Give him time if he asks for it but then allow him to take the lead. Go no contact.

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

No texts, no likes, no phone calls or Snapchats. Disappear from his life until he reaches out and gives you an answer.

If you don’t get an answer within a week, it’s safe to say the answer is no.

But if the answer is yes, the space you have provided him with will only make him miss you more and realize how strongly he feels for you.

Not hearing from you will make him think that he is losing you and if he doesn’t want that to happen, he will step up his game and be ready for a real relationship.

If he gives you an answer you don’t want to hear, don’t let it get you down too much.

It will be painful as hell if he rejects you. I won’t lie, I’ve been there. But what’s the alternative?

Wait around forever until he is ready? Be his casual hookup?

Get to love him deeper and deeper every day just to end up heartbroken because you were an almost-girlfriend?

I don’t know about you but I don’t like those alternatives. I would always rather know than not know, after the experience I had.

Having the ‘what are we’ talk is always the best option when you’ve dated someone for a while and you are unclear about where you stand.

Put it all out in the open. Don’t allow him to string you along and play you for a fool.

It’s better to be single and happy than with someone and be miserable because it’s lacking in a big way. Don’t you agree?

What Are We? All You Need To Know About Having ‘The Talk’

Leah Lee
Leah Lee – Writer. Dreamer. Adventurer. Eternal Optimist. I am an English language and literature professor and writing came naturally alongside that. It was something I did for me until I decided to share it with the rest of the world. I write about love, emotions, relationship issues and ways to solve them and most importantly about empowering women to become the best versions of themselves. My inspiration comes from all that I've been through in life, and it was a bumpy road but full of valuable lessons. I hope that my experience will do some good to all of those who like to read my work.
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