Dating, Relationships

How To Have the “DTR” Conversation

“Soooo is he your boyfriend???” Asks everyone who knows you’ve been dating someone and you think to yourself “it’s only been two weeks!! Calm down people!” 😂 For those that are unfamiliar with the term “DTR,” it stands for “Defining The Relationship.” Urban Dictionary’s definition is “When two people discuss their mutual understanding of a romantic relationship (casual dating, serious boyfriend, etc)”

This can cause a lot of stress for women. How do you have that conversation? Who should initiate it? Do you even want him to be your boyfriend? Is it too soon to bring it up?? SO many questions about it! Ahhh!

Keep these three things in mind when you plan to have the talk: Acceptance, Compatibility, Timing (ACT)

Acceptance. This conversation can go one of two ways. One person may want a serious relationship but the other person may not be ready. Or, best case scenario, both people agree on the type of relationship they want (woohoo!!). Accept the possibility that the person may not be interested in a serious relationship AND, the most important part of this is, don’t take it personal. I’m just going to say it one more time…Don’t. Take. It. Personal. Maybe the other person is not ready to be in a relationship for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with you. You have to allow yourself to become vulnerable and know that even though it might hurt your heart, you will get through it and wouldn’t you rather have this information so you don’t waste your time and energy in the relationship? I’m not saying this is easy at all but you’ve got to find 15 minutes of courage (I know you have it) and either move on together or move on to the next person. I had two conversations with two guys who did not reciprocate my feelings. Yes, it hurt and I was sad but it didn’t last forever and I was able to move on until I found my person. I have to say that I was glad and appreciative that those two guys were honest about what they could or couldn’t give me.

Compatibility. Be honest with yourself about whether this person shares the same values and has the qualities that you are looking for in a partner. How long it takes to figure this out depends on each person. It can take a month or two to feel it out. For example, after I had written down what I was looking for in a relationship, it was really easy for me to know when I wanted to continue a relationship. At one point, I was dating two guys at the same time (one of which is now my husband). Both of them were great guys but when it came down to deciding which guy I wanted to pursue a long term relationship with, I just had to go back to what I’d written and it was so clear to see who I wanted to choose. One time, I knew within two days that I didn’t want to pursue a relationship!

Timing. Now that you’ve dated a while and you know what kind of relationship you want with this person, it’s time to have the talk. I hear so many women ask “is it too soon to have that talk??” Again, it really depends on each person. Maybe after two weeks you see enough red flags that you know this is not someone you want to be with…trust yourself and act on it…don’t waste their time or yours. Maybe after a month you realize that this person is worth investing your time and energy in…have the talk! If the person is not ready to respond, give them some time to think about it. This doesn’t have to be the first and only conversation you have about it…it can be one of two or three conversations.

I’d suggest having this convo when you’re both relaxing on the couch or out on a walk or even talking on the phone.  Below is an example of a DTR conversation. You don’t have to use these same exact words but it’s a starting point:

Julie: “Hey, can I talk to you about us and this relationship?

Chris: “Sure”

Julie: “In case you haven’t noticed I really like you (smile) and enjoy spending time with you. I’m at a point in my life where I’m dating with the intention of meeting someone that I can have a long term relationship with. I’d like for us to date exclusively and see where this can go. What do you think about that?”

Dig Deeper: Having this talk does not mean you’re marrying this person tomorrow. You are just saying “hey, I like you as a person. I like how I feel when I’m with you and I would like to date exclusively and see where this goes.” Sometimes the more important part of a difficult conversation is not the conversation itself but, the other person’s response to it. Did they get upset or make you feel bad about bringing up the topic? That’s not a good sign. In a marriage, you’re going to have to have A LOT of difficult conversations so this is a good way to get some insight into how the other person handles these types of conversations.


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