Dating For Two Months? When Is It Time To Have A DTR Conversation?

Updated May 29, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Defining your relationship can be an important part of any progressing relationship. It may be especially important when you are in a new relationship and feel uncertain about where your partnership is heading. Although dating without labels and boundaries certainly works for a time, and might work well for some couples, many people (if not most) are better able to understand and work within a relationship that has some framework or structure in place. While dating someone, you may want to discuss the future at some point, such as at the two-month mark. Initiating or asking for a DTR conversation can help you determine whether if things are moving in the same direction for both of you, or if the early stages of the relationship show signs that you are not meant to be together long term.

Wondering how to start a DTR conversation?

What exactly is a DTR?

DTR stands for "define the relationship." For some, a DTR might mean breaking up, while others conclude this conversation with a step forward toward a more committed relationship. Others might do nothing at all, citing satisfaction in the current state of their relationship. If you ask a relationship coach, dating coach, or dating expert, they may say that the clearest sign of a stable relationship is one that you don’t need to question. However, if you are anxious, nervous, or tend to be insecure, it may ease your mind to ask where you stand. 

Define the relationship conversations can be a pleasant experience but can also carry with them some amount of stress. Although one part of the partnership might feel ready to give the relationship a definition, the other party might not - which can create anxiety surrounding even asking to have this type of discussion. DTR conversations do not have to be painful, overwhelming, or embarrassing, provided that both partners come to the table with honesty, openness, and understanding.

When should you have a DTR?

It may be challenging to figure out the ideal time to have a DTR conversation because every relationship is different and goes by a unique timeline. In general, there is no one right answer when it comes to when you should define the relationship. However, dating coaches and experts tend to agree that sometime between the 1-3-month mark could be an appropriate time to have this conversation. The two-month mark happens to fall right in the middle of the average passage of time before couples have these discussions. 

If you have been dating consistently for two months, a DTR conversation is in no way outside the realm of reason and may even be expected. It can be natural for anyone who gets to the two-month mark of a relationship to want to know where they stand with the other person. 

Having this type of conversation is also dependent upon the individuals in the relationship. If you average seeing each other only once per week, with very little communication in between, this type of talk might not materialize for 3-5 months. If you spend almost every waking moment together, though, and are in constant communication, it could be a matter of days or weeks before one of you wants to talk about defining or labeling your relationship.

How soon is too soon?

Too soon is relative where definitions are concerned; as long as both parties are in agreement, a DTR could come after only a few days or weeks of seeing one another. If you and your dating partner are not on the same page, however, anything earlier than one month of steady dating could prove too fast. Before you decide to ask for this type of conversation, try to feel out where your partner seems to be. Do they play everything close to the belt, and refrain from displays of affection, verbal, physical, or otherwise? Do they seem extremely cautious and careful in everything they do? If so, it might be too soon for a talk, as your paramour seems to be keeping some distance, and maintaining strong boundaries.

If, on the other hand, the two of you are already expressing plenty of affection for one another, you spend most of your time together, and you both seem just to click and feel safe and at home around one another, there might not be a "too soon," as you both may want the same thing: to be together. When deciding how soon is too soon, your intuition is likely to be one of your safest guides, and there may be no exact or precise answer in these cases. It can be essential to keep in mind that every relationship is unique and moves at a different pace.

Are DTRs always necessary?

Some relationships do not last long enough for a DTR to become necessary. Some seem to progress without having a definitive, sit-down talk naturally. Having an official relationship talk might not always be necessary, but usually does offer some peace of mind, clarity, and comfort for both partners within a relationship. Those wanting a healthy relationship can benefit from learning strong and effective communication, which is typically at the heart of a "define the relationship talk"; these talks are all about owning where you are, holding space for someone else, and finding a resolution you can both agree to.

What do DTRs involve?

The content of a DTR can also depend on the couple. For some, a DTR is a simple definition. "Are you my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner?" may be the only question within the discussion. For others, this discussion exists on something of an incline: "Are you my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner?" "Okay, what does that mean to you?" "Okay. Are you looking for something long-term or short-term?" "Great. Do you believe in monogamy, or were you hoping for something more open-ended?"

The type of DTR you have can depend on the length of your relationship, the depth of your relationship, and the level of your interest. You might not want to have all of the answers right now; you might simply be looking to find out if you are allowed to ask someone else out while you are dating this person. You might be wondering whether or not your partner is also someone else's partner. Then again, you might want to know what a relationship with your dating partner might look like before you step into that role. A DTR is as involved, distant, intense, or simplistic as the couple in question wants it to be, and can encompass a myriad of different approaches, questions, and possibilities.

DTRs are rarely one-off conversations. Usually, a DTR occurs, and as other relationship milestones occur (a 6-month anniversary, for instance, or attending a family wedding together), another DTR will come up to determine where the relationship is and whether both of you are interested in it progressing.

When a DTR goes awry

Unfortunately, there are some cases when a DTR conversation goes awry, and a relationship falls apart as a result. This usually occurs when partners are not on the same page, despite thinking they are, or when one partner grows angry, defensive, or aggressive in response to being on different wavelengths. Before entering into this type of conversation, it can be important to recognize and make room for the possibility of not getting your way. 

You might want a casual relationship, while the person you are dating wants to get married. The two of you can decide to compromise and enter into an exclusive relationship, without a definitive end goal or end date, or you can decide to go your separate ways. Either way, though, shouting, degrading, or mocking one another is in no way appropriate. You can put safeguards in place (perhaps have the conversation in a public place, or with the understanding that one or both of you might need some time to cool off) if you know that you, yourself, are prone to outbursts, or a swift temper.

DTRs can place an immense strain on the people involved, and making sure you are both in a safe, calm headspace can help you each prepare for the possibly difficult conversation you are about to enter into. This can involve something simple, such as meditating before the conversation and going in with a written plan, or as involved as meeting with a therapist, mapping out your conversation and potential responses, and making a plan with friends to spend time together if the conversation is in any way unpleasant or difficult.

The heart of the DTR

Communication is what DTRs are all about, and communication is an essential part of any healthy, strong romantic relationship. Although there is often a lot of cloak and dagger involved in a romance, these types of interactions often bring about more heartache, confusion, and feelings of rejection than any semblance of romance or excitement. Uncertainty in a relationship is often glorified in print and media but is rarely a pleasant experience when carried over from the imagination into reality.

Wondering how to start a DTR conversation?

A DTR is ultimately an act of respect and consideration for yourself and the person to whom you are attached to. Keeping your feelings and ideas about your relationship to yourself might seem to be the norm, or may feel like the right thing to do, but a healthy, mature relationship is one that can stand up under the weight of honest communication and a straightforward attitude regarding where you are, where you want to be, and whether that is in alignment with the person you are seeing.

DTRs can be frightening because they can mean that a relationship you were excited about has to come to a close. After all, if you are looking for a serious, long-term commitment, and your dating partner is only interested in a casual fling, it is very likely unwise to continue further, as you can both hurt one another through unmet or excessive expectations. Although they may not always be necessary, they are usually an expected, reasonable part of a mature, adult relationship.

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Online counseling with Regain

It can be intimidating to have a DTR conversation with someone you’re dating. If you’re not sure how to approach the topic or are experiencing nerves or anxiety about it, consider speaking with an online counseling. Regain offers online counseling from the comfort of your home or anywhere else you have an internet connection. Instead of adding more stress to your plate by having to drive long distances or wait on a waiting list, you can begin getting mental health support when you need it most. Whether you want to seek therapy by yourself or with your significant other, Regain can meet you where you’re at and offer care regardless of what you’re facing. 

The efficacy of online counseling 

Online counseling can be effective for individuals as well as couples who are dating, married, or are otherwise in long-term relationships. In one study, researchers found that couples therapy delivered via videoconferencing was “a viable alternative to face-to-face interventions.” Not only did it increase participants’ access to care, but it also improved the alliance between therapist and client over time. Those who completed the intervention experienced improvements in relationship satisfaction, mental health, and all other outcome scores.

Takeaway

Dating can bring with it a whirlwind of emotions. When you fall for someone, it’s only natural to want them to like you back in the same way. Whether couples choose to have a DTR conversation early on or later in the dating process is up to them. There is no one right answer for when these discussions are most appropriate. Those struggling with an undefined relationship may find comfort from confiding in an online professional, like a licensed relationship counselor.  

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