african-american-couple-arguing-337x4141There comes a time in every new thing when it feels necessary to define what’s going on between the two of you. You need to have “the talk.” Say things have been going well, feelings are mutual and developing rapidly. You know that you should talk about this, but the time never seems quite right! Maybe you don’t even have to talk about it, because clearly you two are on the same page. You are linked by pure love and mutual understanding and shimmering light between your heart chakras and one day, you’ll just wake up and know deep down this is your lobster. Who needs to talk when it all feels so right?

Consider this: one day you see a text message flash across your lobster’s phone when he’s in the bathroom at the bar. Like the grown woman you are, you refuse to pay it any mind, but the brief, tiny glance you did see is now seared indelibly in your mind, and, because you are a human being, it’s causing some unrest. You’re not snooping per se, but you just so happened to see something that you can’t shake — maybe a name you don’t recognize, or a string of suspect emoji. Your imagination runs wild, and you are now just manufacturing resentment, quietly shredding a napkin into strips and preparing your exit.

The easiest way to avoid this uncomfortable situation? Be a grownup and have “the talk.” You can’t live in the grey area forever, even if you really, really want to because it’s easier that way. Time to sit down and get it over with. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the feelings that a new relationship brings, so it’s understandable that you would assume that your lobster feels the same way about you. Why assume when you can just ask?  Yank your feelings out of the hole they’ve been living in, and let them see the light of  day. Be wary — there are good times and bad time to do this. Let’s explore:

Bad: On the way home, after a lot of drinks, and a very long night. Drinking has a tendency to let your inhibitions fall to the floor, and stir up a lot of feelings that were previously latent. If you intend to have a moment of clarity, best to wait until everyone’s had some water, some Aleve, and a good night’s rest. Just because you felt a certain way when you were drunk doesn’t mean that you won’t feel the same way the next morning, but your feelings will get the agency they deserve. This is an important conversation, and one that you want to be completely present for. Have the timing be correct, and come to the table intact.

Good: You’re taking this person to a wedding or other large function as your date. Say you want to attend a wedding with the person you’ve been seeing, partially as a way of fending off well-intending relatives inquiring about your personal life and partially because you know, you want to. Here’s the great news: this is an excellent time to segue naturally into this conversation without it being awkward for the both of you. Taking someone to an office holiday party is one thing, but a wedding or other significant life event in which you will be on display is a statement in itself. If you two haven’t already acknowledged any level of commitment, now would be a perfect time to do so. Don’t fret — this is a good sign! If you want to have this person at your side, it’s a very good sign.

Bad: During sex. Much like being wasted and being half asleep, no one is really equipped to answer serious questions while they’re having sex. Therefore, this is possibly the worst time to begin any sort of relationship conversation. Your mind is elsewhere when you’re having sex — and rightfully so! You’re having sex! Sex is awesome! If someone breathily asks you to be their girlfriend while they’re getting it in, who knows what your answer might be! If the sex is good, you’d say yes so that it keeps going. That’s a no brainer. Any hesitation on your part will both end the sex and create an awkward and uncomfortable situation. Be wary of anyone that decides to have this conversation while your private parts are touching.

Bad: Your first weekend away. It’d be nice to assume that to go away with someone, you’d have already had this conversation, but, really, who knows? Maybe you get invited to someone’s beach house, and you want to bring this person with you.  Going away with someone that you’re interested in being serious with is a really good way to figure out whether or not they’re going to work out. Taking anybody out of their element and watching how they react is so very telling, so it’s fine to go on a little weekend jaunt to pick apples or sit in a beach house with a bunch of your friends, just to see how they hang when they’re not in their comfort zone. It is less than ideal to try and define the relationship here only because if the talk goes poorly, there’s really no escape route. Imagine that sullen, uncomfortable car ride home.

Good/Bad/Whatever: Any time you really want to. The surprise 5th option is to fuck the rules, fuck the haters and just go with your gut. If you feel like you need to have the talk, just do it when the mood strikes! You can’t control your feelings, and you certainly can’t control what anyone else is going to do or day. If you’ve been with someone for a while, and it feels right, put yourself out there. Regardless of the outcome, you’ll get what you were looking for. Clarity.

The Frisky

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

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