#hotgoss Redux: How Speak About It can help you DTR
Thank you for joining us for #hotgoss episode 2: DTR. If you missed it, catch up here on Facebook. Looking for advice on how to define your relationship? We did a bunch of Googling so you don't have to, and put together this handy guide below.
What is the DTR talk?
DTR = define(ing) the relationship.
You know it: it's that "What are we?" talk that inevitably happens in any relationship, serious or casual. It can take a lot of different forms: from trying to figure out if this is a one-time thing or a serious relationship, to whether you call each other girlfriends, partners, or bae. These conversations are an opportunity to define your desires and boundaries for a romantic (or not!) relationship.
When do you have the DTR talk?
So many sources say different things. Some articles advise not to do it at all. Others, like this Bustle article, provide great examples of instances and feelings you've probably had where the DTR talk may be in store.
At Speak About It, we think it's never too early to define your relationship.
We’re not saying to rush in and label a new thing if you don’t want to. But we do think it's important to communicate early and often about the direction of any romantic or sexual relationship. Obviously, if you’re on a first date, maybe it’s weird to bring up long term commitment. But, it’s always good to know what the other person is looking for: for the night and/or further in the future.
We don't think there's any harm in asking, “What are you looking for in a hook up?” or “Are you looking for a long term relationship right now?” somewhat early on. Even if the person doesn’t really know, it gets them thinking, and you’ve broken the ice for a future chat.
If you set a standard of discussing boundaries and desires early in any sort relationship or hookup, that “dreaded" DTR conversation becomes a lot more natural. It’s just another communication about what you want. You may find in the course of your relationship, that a cumulative number of small relationship defining talks may actually supersede the need to have one, big, devastating, end-all-be-all 'THE TALK.'
DTR = talking about what you want, when you want it. Sound familiar? Seems a lot like the kind of language we use surrounding consent! :)
Why are people so afraid of DTR?
And we get it, relationships never fall into neat categories of "dating" and "not dating." Having to define a relationship asks some big questions of yourself and another person. It asks you to be vulnerable. It asks you to stop pretending to be chill. You have to be prepared for your partner's vision of the relationship to not necessarily be the same as yours, and that can hurt. But being honest about your feelings throughout any relationship builds trust, and can save from a long term hurt.
Breathe through the awkwardness. Trust us, it’s way more valuable to know where you stand with someone than to keep guessing or playing games. Even if you’re just casually dating or hooking up, it’s good to know that’s what both people honestly want from the relationship. Do you just want to smooch and watch Stranger Things? Cool. Are you hoping to bring this cutie home for Thanksgiving? Tell them!
Think about all the times you’ve been so relieved and impressed by someone who knows what they want, and then says it. Have the DTR talk and that person could be you!
Here are some great tips for having the talk with your partner:
- 1. You don't need to go in cold. Practice! There's nothing wrong with planning ahead for how you're going to have the conversation. Practice in the mirror, write it down, or talk it through with a trusted friend.
- 2. Don't do it over text. We say this when it comes to consent too: what you say over text is not the same as saying it in person. Being physically in the same space is so important for conversations like this.
- 3. Reframe it. The DTR talk isn't the end all be all to every relationship ever. It's just an opportunity to state your desires, which if you're getting consent, should be something you're already doing. We like to think about it think about it as a venn diagram of desire. A Venn Desire-gram. You and your person have different goals, boundaries, and needs. You need to figure out where they overlap, and if they overlap at all. What you both collectively want together is informed by your respective desires.
Relationship Venn Desire-grams
- 4. Figure out what you want before going in. Don't you hate when people ask you questions that they, themselves, can't answer? Don't be that person! Think about what you want from your relationship before you talk to your partner, and strive to be confident in your desires. It's so much more chill to know what you want, than it is to pretend that you don't care.
- 5. Be ready to listen. We <3 this bit of advice from HelloGiggles. “Far too often, one person in a relationship wants to have the 'what are we talk' and gets so wrapped up in the scary part of sharing their own feelings that they forget to acknowledge the other person...When a person tells you something, listen to them and believe them. Pushing someone into a situation they don’t want is going to lead to heartache, no doubt."
- 6. Be ready for the answer you may not want to hear. Just because you know what you're looking for, doesn't mean that your partner is always looking for the same thing. It's okay to feel sad that your desires don't match someone else's, but its's also not a negative reflection on either of you if you want different things.
- 7. Find a good time and space to have the conversation. Pick a good place to have the talk--a place where both of you feel comfortable. You may need to give the other person some time to think about their feelings before they have to answer in the moment. A loud, noisy bar or train station may not be an ideal setting for getting intimate. Neither are the 15 minutes before you have to meet your friends for dinner. It's okay to put the conversation on hold for a little bit, until you find a time and space where both people feel like they can listen and be heard.
- 8. Don't avoid the conversation. There's also a lot of totally whack advice out there saying to manipulate your way around having the DTR conversation. Remember, there's no replacement for good, open communication. If you want a step-by-step guide for what not to do, this is article is it, and worth a read for just how bad the advice actually is. :)
With that, go forward and fearlessly DTR! Have a great story about how you DTR'd your last relationship? Share it with us!
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