Ben Higgins Kaitlyn Bristowe The Mahogany Workplace

When Is the Right Time to Define the Relationship?

Who hasn’t been asked, “Did you DTR??” Having a define-the-relationship talk, or DTR as it’s known to many, is not easy. These conversations can actually take place in all sorts of scenarios:

  • Going from being friends to dating
  • Becoming “official” boyfriend/girlfriend after casually dating
  • Saying “I love you” at the right time
  • Moving from a serious relationship to getting engaged

The major concerns: What if the other person doesn’t feel the same way? Will I risk losing this person forever if we aren’t on the same page at the same time? Can I handle the horrible rejection of a DTR gone bad? The good news: You’re not alone. Nearly everyone has agonized over a dreaded DTR conversation. It’s normal — and we’re here to help.

Use your friends as a sounding board

Your friends should be a good source of influence concerning the timing of your DTR. If you want to tell someone you love them after two dates, they’d hopefully guide you to the decision that it’s not appropriate after such a short time. (There are exceptions… We’re just saying this isn’t usually the right timing.)

Your friends should be there to support you as you date.

They’ve likely heard about your relationship mishaps and milestones, and they know who you are and what you stand for enough to give you honest, sound advice. The likely scenario: Your friends will encourage you in the right direction. They’ll share their concerns, or cheer you on as you DTR.

Mature people can handle DTRs

I believe that mature individuals can handle a DTR. My wife and I frequently found ourselves at different relationship stages as we dated and got engaged. I was ready to be boyfriend and girlfriend before she was. She told me she liked me and saw us heading that direction, but that she was not there yet emotionally. She was mature and respectful, and she made it clear that she cared about me as a person. This reassured me that we were on the right track, even though it wasn’t the result I wanted at the time.

The worst case scenario probably won’t happen

Everyone has had a DTR gone wrong. It’s awkward and sad. But the world doesn’t end. I’ve asked out a girl, and the worst-case scenario — losing her as a friend — never came to fruition. Even better, she didn’t shout to the world that she rejected me. All things considered, I left the experience pretty unscathed. Being rejected hurts, but this rejection will guide you toward the right person at the right time.

You could miss out on happiness

What if you miss out on this relationship because you’re too afraid to ask? What if you miss out on all the great parts of moving on — yes, there are great parts — because the person never sees it happening and you never asked? The latter would hurt in the short term, but it’s information you need to know eventually. And it could lead you to finding happiness a whole lot sooner. That happiness just might look differently than you planned.

If you’ve been agonizing over a DTR, it’s probably time to move forward. Communication is key to any relationship, and it’s never a bad time to express your feelings.

Have you ever had a DTR gone wrong? Share your experiences in the comments below.

By Jordan Fuller with Ben Higgins

Image courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

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