Moving from just friends to lovers
You have been talking online for a while, and you feel it is time to take the next step. Everything seems perfect. You get along great, your dates are always epic, and you can truly see this girl or guy in your future. However, no matter how well you match, your approach to the relationship defining conversation may either make or break your bond.
A DTR (define the relationship) talk is something that many people avoid. However, its value when it comes to creating stronger and more stable relationships cannot be ignored. The important thing is to handle the matter delicately and maturely.
If you have no idea where to start, here are a few tips on how to have a relationship talk and how to define it.
How to handle the DTR conversation
When to have the relationship talk? Timing is everything!
Defining the relationship is something you need to find the perfect time for:
If you do it too early, it might seem like you are rushing things. On the other hand, if you wait too long, then you might end up getting too comfortable and simply never doing it at all.
There are no specific rules when it comes to the DTR talk timing as every relationship is different, but most people usually wait for a few weeks to about a month.
Do not force or get forced into the conversation
While timing is very important, you both need to be on the same page for it to work. Maybe you or your partner is not ready to settle down and needs a little more time before making such a big decision. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. If either of you is hesitant, then you should have time to get your head in the game.
There is no right or wrong status
There is a common misconception that DTR talks should always lead to committed and exclusive relationships. The truth is that you can brand your relationship whatever your heart desires. Whether you want to be friends with benefits or in a polyamorous arrangement, all that matters is that you both agree.
Consider not only your needs but also your partner’s
This conversation gives you a chance to voice your needs. However, do not be so focused on what you want that you forget your partner’s needs. If, for some reason, they do not align, you may want to consider a healthy compromise.
Be open and vulnerable
The conversation is likely to seem very formal and awkward at first. However, do not let this hinder you from opening up. Let your partner know exactly how you feel about them and the relationship. This vulnerability is very important for a successful DTR talk.
Make it an open conversation and not a Q&A
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when handling this conversation is treating it like a questions and answers session. Questions are, of course, inevitable, but they shouldn’t take up the bulk of the communication. So, stick to phrases like “I feel…” and “what do you think,” and you should be good.
Include your hard limits and non-negotiables
Most people focus only on their needs and expectations while having the ‘define the relationship’ conversation and completely ignore hard limits. Later on, these issues that you failed to mention start to crop up and could spell doom for your relationship. Instead of exposing yourself to the risk of being caught off guard, make sure to express what you are not willing to put up within the relationship.
You need to conclude on the same page
Every DTR conversation needs to end with a definitive description of where the relationship stands. If someone random stopped and asked you what you are after, you would have a one statement answer and “It’s complicated” is not it. If you are not on the same page about things like expectations, you may have to take a break and figure things out separately.
A few tips to help you start a DTR talk
Make sure they actually have feelings for you
It would be super awkward if you approached one of your guy friends for a ‘define the relationship’ talk only to find that you are deep into their friend zone. So, the most important tip before starting is figuring out how they feel. You could look for clues or just straight up ask them.
Let them know how you feel
A DTR conversation is all about touching base and figuring out where the other person’s head and heart are at. One of the most important steps is letting your love interest know how you feel as well – how you feel about them, how you feel about time spent together, and how you feel about the prospect of a future together.
Get their opinion on commitment first…
Before you hit them with the “be mine” line, it is always a great idea to figure out what they think about commitment in general and whether they feel ready for it. If he or she seems hesitant or completely unwilling to take the step, then just stop and regroup. However, if they seem open to the idea, then you are safe to proceed.
Then lay out what you would like to happen
You know how they feel about you and what their stand is on relationships and commitment. If it all seems possible, then this is when you take that leap of faith and let them know what you would like. It is important to be very clear and to ensure that you do not come across as being pushy or demanding.
Compromise where you can, but not at too much personal expense
Unfortunately, it is not always love and happy endings with DTR talks. Sometimes you have to compromise. Maybe your guy wants a little more time to consider a full commitment. It could be that she is interested in you but doesn’t want an exclusive sort of commitment. Just consider your options and compromise where you feel you comfortably can.
How to have the relationship talk is one of the burning questions of most would-be couples. After all, the DTR talk is what will ultimately help you get what you want out of the relationship. Make sure to read this dating guide for dummies.
Even though it may seem awkward at first, do not shy away from it! You’ll feel more at peace once you’ve had the conversation.
You may also like: What to Do When Someone Doesn’t Reply to Your Text.