If you've been dating someone for some time, you may be deliberating over how to define the relationship (DTR). You like that person, see them often, communicate with them, and have gotten to know who they are while you've dated them. The thing is, DTR-ing takes courage, and it's something you may want to plan out, at least a little bit. It's important to communicate your thoughts and feelings, so if you want to define the relationship into, well, a relationship, that's a conversation worth having.
It's all too easy to date someone and think you're supposed to play this game where you both never share what you're feeling. It's like, who can act the least interested while simultaneously making the other person super interested in you for the longest? The "game" or whatever it is is not worth it. It's so much better to put your feelings on the line, find out if the other person is on the same page as you or not, and be with them or move on. So if you've been dating someone and you want to officially be with them, here's how you define the relationship.
Make sure you've gotten to know the person first.
If you DTR too soon, you may be committing to someone you don't fully know quite yet, and that could lead to possible fundamental arguments or disagreements, like politics, religion, or where you see the relationship going down the line.
But if you've gotten to know the person well enough and are communicating often, it may be time to have that conversation with them.
"Once you’ve got a strong connection, are talking and texting daily, it’s a good time to let the person know you’re enjoying the direction your relationship is going in," online dating expert Julie Spira told Elite Daily.
Open the conversation on the right note.
Shula Melamed, MA, MPH, and well-being coach told Elite Daily that you want to begin the conversation with an opener that won't set off alarms in that person's head. Melamed offers phrases like "I just love spending time with you," and "I feel so lucky that we have had this time to get to know each other" get the conversation off to the right foot, as opposed to something like "We need to talk," which can be kind of ominous.
"The anxiety bells might not be going off because the person is a commitment-phobe," Melamed said. "It's just that... most people will engage with conversation over confrontation any day of the week."
Literally define the relationship.
When having the conversation, lay out what you would want your relationship to look like. Beyond saying that you'd like to be committed to that person, really explain what that means to you.
"Getting a sense of what they are looking for, talking about future hopes and dreams, where they see themselves, how they would like to spend their days, what they want to do in their free time, how they relate to their family ... is a great information-gathering exercise," Melamed said.
Be clear about what you want.
Too often, we brush aside what we want in our dating lives in order to keep the status quo. If you like dating someone, and you're scared telling them you like them may scare them away, you're only hurting yourself from getting what you actually want: something more with that person.
If the other person has indicated they want a relationship, that could give you confidence to have a DTR conversation. If they've explicitly said they want to date around, maybe it's time to focus on other people to date.
"The number one thing I wish people would do is really listen to what's happening and what [their partner] is saying, not hearing what they want to hear," licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson told Elite Daily. "A lot of times, we hear what we want to hear and we see what we want to see, and that's when we get hurt."
Once you've laid down your thoughts and feelings for the other person, you see what they have to say. Then you take it from there. You'll either have a relationship or not, but at least you'll know.