DTR = Define The Relationship. It’s a conversation where two people discuss their mutual understanding of a romantic relationship. What are we? Friends? Courting? Casual dating? Serious relationship?
Sometimes a DTR just has to happen. You have every right to pull a relationship over and ask where it is going. There is no need to waste your or their time, and making expectations clear will save you a lot of drama.
When you should have a DTR:
- When you want to know where the relationship is going. Obviously, this is the purpose of the DTR! If you are curious, concerned or just needing clarification, it’s completely fine to ask the “what are we” question.
- If you want to take the relationship to the next level. If you have been hanging out with a guy for a while and wanting to make it A) exclusive B) romantic or C) something other than it currently is now. Many Christian women have a strong preference for the man to make the first move. If that is the case for you, then by all means, be patient! However, do not let the guy get away with half-dating you or dating multiple people because you are not bold enough to bring up the subject.
- If you need to take the relationship back to a different level. If you can tell that one of your guy friends has started to think of you as more than a friend and you do not reciprocate the feelings, please spare him. There is no need to tell someone, “I’m just not that into you” unless you know for certain that they have a crush. Or maybe you went on one or two dates with a guy and realized you do not really have romantic feelings for him but would love to maintain the friendship if possible. Whatever the case, sooner is better than later. Honesty and kindness are the best policy in this kind of DTR.
- If things have already gotten physical. If you two are friends who have already started putting arms around each other, kissing or showing signs of affection, then a DTR is overdue. Some prefer to save all physical activities for their future spouse; what if this guy thinks that is what you are but you feel casually? Out of respect to him, yourself and your future spouse, you owe it to each other to be exclusive before these things start going on or before they go too far. It is a recipe for heartbreak and confusion to wait any longer.
- Before it is too late. Let’s just say you have been crushing on the same person for a loooooong time. You think you are hanging out, maybe even dating, but you do not know for sure. Ask him! If this guy has been the object of your affection for a while now, it is better to know where you stand then leave things in the friend zone long enough for him to think you aren’t into the relationship. If you are both at a place in life where you are ready for something serious, staying casual for too long may open the doors for one or both of you to move on.
When you should not:
- Constantly. There is no need to bring down the relationship with repeated serious and dramatic conversations. Make sure you are having fun together! If you have just had a DTR last week, there is no need to question it – have confidence in the decision you both reached.
- Too soon. You definitely have to resist the urge to ask, “What is this between us right now?” at the end of your first coffee date. Neither of you know exactly where the relationship is headed because you just met. You might be thinking to yourself, “When is too late and when is too soon?” There is no exact answer that will work in all situations, of course, but just know that a few times of meeting someone is probably too soon unless you have had a long-distance thing for a while. Also, see above to know when the DTR is brewing to the point where it will boil.
- When you are feeling over-emotional. If something your guy has just done hurt your feelings (but is not a deal breaker), then that is probably not a good time to have this conversation. Deal with that issue first, then approach relationship status as a second one. Also, if you are upset or exhausted because of external factors, wait until you are in a more peaceful state of mind.
- If you just broke up. Especially if you were not the one initiating the breakup, this one will be hard. If you have just been dumped, you do not really need to know where you stand. You have the answer; it is just a hard one to accept. Resist the urge to want to hash it out over and over. For now, at least, you are not together romantically and you probably will not be able to be friends anytime soon, either. Instead of requesting a conversation with your ex, have some girlfriends over for a movie night or check out a new band in concert. IF you are meant to and your relationship is God’s will for your life, getting back together will happen, just not now.
Other DTR tips:
- These really should be done in person if AT ALL possible.
- Make sure you are listening as well as giving your input. Mutual conversation and understanding is key to getting on the same page.
- Do not RUSH to the Internet to spread the good news of your relationship status until you have had a chance to let it sink in and talk it over with friends, family and mentors.
- Pray about the relationship and conversation before they happen.
Have you ever had a DTR? Do you think you might be having one soon?