Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ask Evan: When do I have The Talk?

Editor's Note: A couple weeks back, we started a new series called An Interview with a Guy I Kinda Sorta Had a Thing For.  My friend Evan was nice enough to be the first participant and his answers were so great, we offered him his very own advice column on the BLOW OFF.  If you have any questions for Evan, comment below or email us at theblowoffwtf@gmail.com

Dear Evan,
I've found that my major flaw in my dating/romantic life is having "the talk" with men in my life. Yes, "the talk." What are we? Are you seeing and/or sleeping with other people? I want to/don't want to be exclusive. What do you want? Do you want a relationship? Do you want a relationship with me?   I'm not talking about a guy that I have been on one date with or slept with once. I'm talking about men that have been in my life in a consistent way for a consistent period of time.  So, in short: Do I broach these subjects with them or wait for them to bring them up to me? When is an appropriate time to have this type of conversation? And what do I say to keep the mood breezy and not present these like they are an ultimatum.

20 LA Wannabe

So, 20 LA Wannabe,

First I have to say, it's your feelings and it's your body, and you're entitled to do whatever you feel to keep those things protected. Of course, that's probably what you've said to yourself 10 seconds before trying to have The Talk with someone who wasn't ready, or at least, didn't have the answers you were looking for. Second, if you're name means you live in Los Angeles, California, then I have bad news. You live in the city where boys from all over the world move so they never have to grow up. And unfortunately, The Talk is a conversation for grownups.

So what's a girl to do?

Well let me say this to start, if you've been seeing a guy for 6 months, or have had hmmm, let's say...40 sexual encounters, you have every right in the world to say "What are we doing here?" If he says you're rushing him, and he doesn't like putting labels on things, and I thought we were just having a good tiiiiime, put me on the phone with him.

Now, if you want to have The Talk before either of those two parameters, we require a little more nuance.

So for one thing, let's try to lowercase those capital letters. It sounds to me like you're turning "a chat" into "The Talk bum-bum-BUMMMMM" Tossing and turning, thinking of the right words and time, reactions to each of his possible reactions, spending whole dates with your stomach in a knot thinking "Maybe when we're picking dessert I'll ask how he would feel if he could only have the same flavor of ice cream for the rest of his-damn he just wants coffee and the check" Just stop. You're acting weird and ruining the date.

But unfortunately, like the douche in the earlier scenario, compared to women, most men don't like to rush, we don't like putting labels on things, and we do like to "just have fun" for as long as we can. (I'm excluding men who CAN'T WAIT to be in a relationship, for obvious reasons) The good news is, on what ends up being just a delayed timeline compared to women, we do reach a point where we can't imagine you not being in our life, and begrudgingly happily chivalrously realize we can't sleep with other women. And when we realize this, we're often so proud of ourselves that we tell you anyway.

The best case scenario of course would be to never even have a sit down, let's draw up the rules and definitions type of discussion. If you're with an emotionally mature man who finds you enthralling and just wants to spend his romantic time with you, then it should simply become obvious at some point. You're spending your free time together, he's emotionally available, etc. If you don't feel comfortable asking this wonderful man "Heyyy, you're not fucking anyone else are you?" cuz you're sure he'll fly off the handle and storm out of your life, then we need to start working on your abandonment issues.

But what you're probably asking me is, what do I do when I think a guy's amazing, and we've had some really amazing times, and I really want to let myself fall for him, but maybe he's just amazing ALL the time with everyone and I really have no idea if I'm even in his top 100 favorite people?

Well you know the signs. Is he making the effort to see you, or are you getting the "I'm just so busy" line? Are you spending meaningful time together, or are you just the person who answers his "U up?" mass text at 2 am? Have you met his friends/coworkers/parents, and if so, did they seem like they expected you to be around for awhile? (sidenote: My girlfriend had one of her friends sneak some So what's going on with you two? questions into a conversation at a party. Not the worst idea.) Do things between you two seem at about the same level as the other failed times you tried to have The Talk?

The answers to these questions should give you an idea if it's even necessary to have a conversation, and at least what the answer will be. Since it's such a problem for you, I'd suggest waiting til the very last second you can take before asking a probing question, then waiting another month.

In the end, it comes down to: Every situation is different Every man is different. There is no Right Time To Have The Talk (except after my 6 month/40 sexual encounters rule) My useless obvious advice is: Don't drive yourself crazy. If you can't have an adult conversation that he couldn't possibly be surprised you're having, then he's not The One. If you can't handle hearing that a guy you've been on 3.5 dates with isn't ready to settle down, then it's you that needs to settle down. Enjoy your time with the guy you like, but if Mr. Even More Wonderful comes around and you haven't been locked down already, then someone's gonna be upset he didn't have The Talk yet, right?

Oh, and never say "We need to talk..."



  1. I'm liking your 6 months/40 sexual encounters rule. But I still may need your phone number for you to chat with the guys...

  2. this is really great advice! I agree with Evan that it's a sign the relationship is going well when you don't even feel the need to have the talk. I once had the talk way too soon with a guy but mostly because i knew he was stringing me along-- i liked him too much to end it on my own, so i forced his hand just so I could officially have an answer and move forward with my life.

  3. This post came 4 days too late for me - I pushed the guy that I was dating, not to "define" our relationship so-to-speak, as we had already decided not to see other people (after less than 2 months), but although we talked and texted a lot, I wanted him to spend more time with me, like more than once or twice a week.

    He said I was pressuring him and bailed. Do you think this is kinda the same thing? Isn't it weird that he gave me the exclusivity but not the quality time...or did I totally jump the gun? Mostly, do you think I can salvage it and how?

    1. Penny, clearly I'm not an expert since I had to "Ask Evan" and have my own problems with men, but it seems to me like you shouldn't try to salvage it even if it is salvageable. You wanted more time and he didn't want to give it to you. Even if he wasn't spending that time dating other girls, he still wasn't giving you what you wanted or needed. I'm sure you miss him, but if you were happy with the situation as it was, you wouldn't have "pushed" aka stood up for yourself like an adult and asked for what you needed.

      If you were able to salvage it and get back with him under his terms you still wouldn't be fulfilled even though he was back in your life. If he comes back to you and says he's ready to give you what you wanted, that's a different story. But unless/until that happens I'd try to move on and find someone who wants to spend that time with you as much as you want to spend it with them.

    2. If he said you "were pressuring him and bailed," then this conversation was the spark more than the cause of a blowoff. I'm sure this wasn't the first moment he felt the pressure. We're not oblivious to the little hints, pokes, jokes-that-aren't-jokes, as well as outright demands from our ladies saying essentially "Let's be more serious!"
      It gets us in a lot of trouble to ignore these things, and ladies don't really get in trouble when they ignore our signals saying "Chill out please."
      I don't know if this guy was super busy and tired, hanging out with his friends every night, had interests prior to meeting you that he still enjoys, really wasn't that sure how he felt about you, or just hates even the slightest bit of pressure, but at some point I bet he told you, and he was ignored.
      Salvageable? Maybe, but trying to make that happen will just be the same pressure that made him bail.

    3. Thank you both for your replies. And I think you're both right. Evan, you're right I probably did ignore his "chill out" signals and that there is also no chill way to try and get back with someone. LA Wannabe, you're right too, if it was anything other than him coming back to me, things would still be on his terms and I would be right back where I started - in a situation where I was not getting what I needed. I guess it doesn't matter the reason he didn't want to spend more time with me - tired, busy, leisure activities, legitimate friend time - I deserve to find someone who wants to spend time with me as much as I want to spend time with them. That doesn't make it suck any less right now though.

      Staying hopeful, Penny <3

    4. Yes, stay hopeful! You do deserve that and you know it, which is half the battle. And take comfort in the fact that you didn't settle. xx