It’s no secret that our generation is known for being somewhat averse to "defining the relationship." When our parents were dating, there seemed to be a linear progression when it came to commitment (start dating, become exclusive, get engaged, etc.). Nowadays, things have become slightly muddled for Gen-Y. We all share a common, relatable dilemma: you want something more, and they don’t want to DTR . In other words, you're excitedly dating someone new, and you're ready to take things to the next level — but they don't want to put a label on it, or define your situation in any way.
These days, it’s quite possible to date someone for months on end without ever labeling the connection. “It’s casual,” we say while shrugging our shoulders when friends ask what’s up with that new guy or girl we’re seeing. However, if you suspect you've caught feelings, you have a right to make them known — and figure out whether or not they're reciprocated.
Believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve been terrified to so much as hint at the fact that I want to pursue something series, or that I’m even just curious about where a relationship is headed. I’ve walked on eggshells so as not to potentially scare someone away. However, because of my trepidations, I ended up with some hefty regrets when the relationship didn’t pan out and I felt as if I’d wasted time with someone who couldn’t give me what I wanted. This past year, one of my best friends made a habit of fearlessly asking her dates the first time they met up: “So, what are you looking for?” This may have intimidated some — but those were the ones who obviously weren’t looking for a serious relationship. In other words, she weeded out the ones she believed didn't stand a chance at offering her real happiness. (Side note: In case you can’t tell, I fully support this strategy, no matter how scary it may feel at first).
That said, defining the relationship is a complex conversation. There is no right or wrong time to have it, as each relationship is obviously unique. Kate Stewart, psychotherapist and dating coach at Modern Therapy Seattle, believes that if the person you’ve been dating is resistant to defining the relationship after about a month, that could be a red flag. She may not be off the mark in her proposed timeline, either. A 2015 Google Consumer Survey conducted by Mic revealed that the majority of people have “the talk” in less than four weeks. Another survey conducted by Time Out found that people typically decide to become exclusive after about six dates. In other words, it doesn't take most of us very long to figure out that we want to be with someone.
Regardless of these results, when you choose to have "the talk" is up to you, and will probably depend on how much time you’ve been spending with that person, and whether you actually believe you're compatible long-term. Once you’ve mustered up the courage to bring it up, if your crush is hesitant to define things, there are several factors to consider when deciding your next move. I spoke to two experts about how to handle this all-too-common dating debacle — here's what they had to say.