The Big DTR Talk

Everyone knows it. That moment in a relationship when someone has to be the first to break the ice and address all the gooey, relationship questions hanging in the air.

Personally, I love the drama of early dating. I’m thrilled to gather with friends and analyze voicemails for tone, content, duration, and timing. I enjoy receiving forwarded personal email for similar dissection. I can’t even imagine what must go on these days with texting, Facebook posts, tweets, and probably thirteen other forms of contact for which I am too old to understand or even know.

While I am thankful that I don’t have to do this kind of constant assessment in my marriage (that just seems like it would be unhealthy), I do sometimes miss examining email content from every angle. Billy actually enjoys relationship analysis as well, so we make a habit out of luring our single friends into sharing every detail with us for open discussion.

One of my greatest joys and frustrations in dating Billy was the lack of ambiguity. Since our very first outing where he originally tricked me into a date, I tried to ignore that our relationship was sparking. He continued to take me out, but I often insisted on paying for myself or made repeated comments to him that we were just friends.

He would smile and nod, pay for me anyway and kiss me goodnight. It was a losing battle.

Just like Billy was upfront with his immigration status, he was also quick to alert me to his “intentions,” if you will. I think it was something to the effect of: “I just want you to know that I am taking this relationship very seriously. I know you’re not ready for that, so just let me know when you are.”

To this day, I’m not really sure what an appropriate response is to that declaration.

All of that changed one day, though. I invited Billy to come speak to my students about his immigration experience.  En route to the classroom, a graduate student I knew shook his hand and looked at me asking, “Oh, is this your boyfriend?”

There it was.. someone forcing me to name it. After too long of a pause, I muttered “yep” and we moved on to the classroom.

Later that evening, while eating a Little Caesar’s $5 pepperoni pizza and watching Lord of the Rings, I suddenly paused the movie. “So…” I began. “Today when I said you were my boyfriend… how did you feel about that?”

“Fine. I consider you my girlfriend. How did it make you feel?” He asked, knowing I was the label-phobic one in the room. He took a bite of pizza.

“Fine,” I said.


I pushed “play” on the remote. The big “Define the Relationship” was over. We were dating. He was my boyfriend. There, I said it.

P.S. I've been writing a "series gone wild" about how my immigrant husband and I met and began dating. If you want to start from the beginning, click here or keep reading at When You Know It's Love.


  1. "Billy actually enjoys relationship analysis as well, so we make a habit out of luring our single friends into sharing every detail with us for open discussion."

    Hahaha I love picturing this. You need to be co-hosts of some sort of dating game.

    1. Few things would make us happier.... We've had some INCREDIBLE conversations!

  2. Love this. It's funny how even if it looks like a relationship, acts like a relationship, talks like a relationship...sometimes we are hesitant to just call it was it is!

    I did NOT want to define mine and my husband's relationship when we first started dating. We said I Love You, met each other's families, and he told me he wanted to marry me...and I still refused to call him my boyfriend!! Hhahaha. It's so silly looking back but at the time, putting a title on what we had seemed like the scariest thing.

    But when the time was right, I was the one who asked him to be my boyfriend. And it was ridiculous because of course he was my boyfriend all along even if I wouldn't say it. But I appreciated that he let me come to terms with it on my own time.

    You're inspiring me to want to do a "Our Love Story" segment on my own blog!


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