Friday, May 15, 2009


In my last post, I left off with the question of why people might avoid the DTR Talk. If you have not read that post yet, I encourage you to read it before going on with this one.

To reset the scene, I’m assuming some things about a relationship with person A and person B. I’m assuming that partner A is either more committed to the future than B or is, at least, thinking a lot more about the issue. Hence, person A is the one who wants to know now or soon where person B is at on the whole matter of a future. This is not something that usually (or should) happen early in the relationship. It’s something that becomes more and more of an issue over time. That’s because most people want to marry eventually. Most adults who are “in the market” for life-long love (the aspiration) are going to be less inclined to spend a lot of time with someone if they know that this someone does not see a future together.

So person A wants to know what person B is thinking and intending. While it’s easy to think of person A as a female and person B as a male, there are doubtless many situations that go any which way. The key is that one person, A, is more ready than the other, B.

Questions and Ideas of Answers

Why might person A avoid having The Talk? Person A might avoid having The Talk because person A has a hunch that person B either sees no future or that person B would run from the relationship if person A pushes it.

By the way, this relates to a painful reality about commitment: The person who is most committed has the least power. This is true, at least at this stage of a relationship, where the future is not nailed down.

Since person A loves person B, and knows he/she wants a future with person B, pushing the matter is scary. People tend to avoid scary things until they can’t put them off any longer.

The reasons why person B might avoid the talk seem more complex, in my view, but they all boil down to a sense of potential loss. Essentially, what I’m defining is a situation where person B likes the status quo. Whatever the relationship is right now, person B is happy not to rock the boat. It’s working, at least for now, so why mess with anything?

The Talk can bring person B the loss of something in one of at least three ways.

1. If person B is quite a bit less committed than person A, The TALK can lead to a break up. Person B’s answers can lead to person A to realize that what she or he wants is never going to happen. B avoids The Talk because of a desire to hang onto the present arrangement.

2. If person B is somewhat less committed than A but a future is at least possible, the talk leads to ongoing negotiation. One Talk will lead to other Talks because A sees the possibility of getting somewhere and will keep pressing it. B might not want to be in what starts to seem like a series of Talks because B does not like negotiating about change B really does not want, yet. The status quo is groovy for B and it’s not fun for either A or B to keep talking about something so difficult, tricky, and important.

3. Person B might avoid The Talk because the end result will be that B has to up the commitment. It’s sort of like playing poker. Both have their cards (their commitment cards and their attractiveness cards). Person A is throwing all in, and person B is being called to pony up or fold. Person B has to match the bet of person A and lay em down.

To put it briefly (something you may have figured out I don’t do easily!), person B avoids The Talk because it can lead to one of several types of loss:

Loss of the relationship due to break up.
Loss of peace in the relationship due to ongoing negotiation.
Loss of freedom due to having to match the bet of A or leave the game.

If you are counting, that’s three “dues” and it’s time to pay them.