10 Mistakes To Avoid When Defining The Relationship

Although initiating the conversation to define the relationship doesn’t have to be something only your partner does, you should tread carefully so as to prevent coming across as needy or missing out on an opportunity to get what you want. Here are some mistakes you should avoid making.

  1. Don’t forget to figure out if you trust them. Before you have the DTR chat, you need to know if you trust the person. If not, you might DTR out of insecurity because they’ve been dragging their heels in the relationship. Putting them on the spot might be about confirming what you already suspect: they’re not that interested in dating you. Save yourself the trouble. If you don’t trust that they’re truly into you, don’t waste your time by deciding to DTR. You already have your answer.
  2. Don’t avoid asking yourself why. It’s a good idea to ask yourself why you want to DTR before you jump in and do it, especially if you’re not really that sure if the person you’re seeing is the one you want to be with. Don’t just go through the motions!
  3. Don’t neglect their needs in all of this. It’s good to consider the other person and what they might require from this conversation. If you’ve been dating for quite some time, you’ll have a better idea of whether the person is an introvert or an extrovert. This is important because it will help you decide if you should give them some time to process things after the DTR chat, and can make the whole process feel much more comfortable for both of you.
  4. Don’t tell them you need to talk. That’s the worst thing to tell anyone, male or female! The best thing is to make the DTR chat a casual one and lead into it when you’re both relaxed and having a good time. Try to keep a positive energy going when you broach the subject of defining where you’re at instead of approaching it with heavy negative energy. That can make it a serious issue when it really doesn’t have to be.
  5. Don’t (necessarily) stick to the script. Talking about defining the relationship with your partner can be stressful, but you don’t have to go through everything you’ve practiced as though you’re giving them a speech. You can be sneaky and hint at where you’re going with your conversation. This will show you where they’re at without you having to directly ask them, “Where are we going and what do you want?” For example, you could start out by telling them that you really enjoy their company and you’ve been having such a great time with them over the last few weeks. Then stop and see what they say.
  6. Don’t be blind to what they’re showing you. For example, if they clam up and look super stressed out, that’s usually not a good sign that they want things to progress. And maybe that’s why they haven’t defined things. On the other hand, if they’re quick to tell you that they feel the same, that should put you at ease and make it easier to continue having the conversation.
  7. Don’t lie. One of the worst things you can do is think that the DTR chat is really about the other person and what they want. Hello, you should also get what you want out of this! Be honest about your feelings and tell the person that you like them and want to make things exclusive. If you tiptoe around the issue, this makes it easy for misunderstandings to occur. If you’re not ready to tell the person what you want, then you’re not ready to have this conversation.
  8. Don’t forget to listen. Once you’ve said what you wanted to say, it’s time to listen to what the other person has to say. The DTR conversation is really about seeing where both of you stand, so you want to give them a chance to express their needs and feelings. This is important because you want to see if you’re both on the same page when it comes to your relationship.
  9. Don’t avoid setting boundaries. Now, it might not be the case that you and your partner want the exact same thing moving forward. It could very well happen that you’re on slightly different pages. Maybe they want to keep things casual and low-key, which can be infuriating. The important thing is to set some boundaries. You don’t want to waste your time on this person because they might never want to make things more serious. So, tell them what you won’t put up with, like that you’re not going to be okay with them dating other people. The whole point of defining things is to define them, after all!
  10. Don’t do it via text. Defining the relationship is something serious. In a way, it can be said to be a relationship milestone in and of itself, so you want to treat it with care and respect. Same goes for your partner. If you’re deciding to DTR via text, that can seem like you’re not really interested in the relationship, or that you’re too afraid to have the chat in person. Don’t be. You’ll be fine no matter what happens.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.