Ah the million dollar question: when to define the relationship. How do you make sure you don't do it too early? Or do you risk doing it too late that they could end up with someone else? On this week's brunch talk we're talking about why time isn't a factor into the DTR convo, how to have a series of low pressure chats starting early on, and why the focus should actually NOT be on defining the relationship (but rather something else).
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#brunchtalk: When Should I have the DTR convo?
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This episode is brought to you by drizzly. If you look for it, every day has cause for celebration, celebrate a friend for their promotion, baby, wedding life thing, celebrate yourself for keeping the couch warm. It's no easy feat, especially if it's a big couch. Or maybe you just want to celebrate living in 2022, where you can get beer, wine, and spirits deliver from drizzly in under 60 minutes without leaving, said, couch. No wonder drizzly is the number one app for alcohol delivery. And remember to share the love, you can get alcohol delivered to your friends and your coworkers and a nice surprise. Right now, drizzly is giving all new customers $5 off their first order, with the code fast 5. So download the drizzly app or go to drizzly dot com that spelled DRI Z, LY dot com and use the promo code fast 5 that spelled FAST number 5 for $5 off your first order. You're welcome. The dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that The Huffington Post calls one of the top ten podcasts about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about everything from sex parties to sex droughts, date fails to diaper fetishes and first moves to first gloves. I'm your host, USU, former dating coach turned dating sociologist. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Kraft chick as we explore this crazy dateable world. Nom nom nom is a time for brunch? It smells delicious. Welcome to brunch talk by the dateable podcast. Hope you're munching and drinking as we keep talking. I feel like that should be an ad for brunch. Yes, exactly. That should be on your real UA. Amongst many other things. I feel like every time I brushed out, I think of you saying that and I will see. Actually, you can see if you go to YouTube, you can see, you plug facial expression as she was doing that. Really, really good plug. I am so excited for brunch this coming weekend because I'm getting all you can eat dim sum. Oh. Oh, I'm super, super jealous. That sounds freaky amazing. If it's good, I'll take you when you come to LA. $24, all you can eat, and it's like everything on the menu. Okay, well, let me know because I'll be booking my LA trip like next week. But we are bringing our pepto bismol just in case. Like a responsible 40 year old that we are bringing all the medicine just in case. Oh my God. That's how you know you're about to go to a solid restaurant when you show up with the pepto to get ahead of it. Yeah, I'm not, I'm not expecting high quality food, but I do also think my chances of getting food poisoning are probably around 20 to 30%. So don't want to risk it. I love it. You know, I don't actually have any brunch plans this weekend, but I do think that one of my favorite times and actually when I was single it was also and it's carried over to having a partner is in the board egg, I wake up, make eggs, hash browns, toast, basically what you would get at most brunch spots, right? Very traditional brunch. Open the window, get the fresh air coming through. It just enjoy that meal, like simple pleasure. It's so satisfying. And now I do that with my partner. So I love that. It's a great trick, too, because why go to a restaurant where you have stand in line, wait for the food, and you're just getting eggs and toast anyway. Make it at home. And then go for a walk and drink your coffee. It's a great idea. Exactly, it's so relaxing, so French can come in all shapes and forms. That's how included, but not ideally. Pepto maybe need it for this question. I don't know. Maybe. It could help. But here's the question for this episode. The question is, when is the right time to ask for exclusivity or DTR, define the relationship when you've been dating someone? Yeah, and some more context, this person wrote in and said, I was curious because I was pretty close to the two women I had been dating for two months. I lost both. One of them already became exclusive with someone else. While the timing thing and we've talked about this before, there's really no right timing. This is a very individual question. So if you feel like you're ready to define the relationship with someone, whether that's on the third day or the 5th date or the temp date doesn't matter if you feel it, it's right time. That's right time. I think sometimes we feel like we're racing against some sort of timeline. Like, oh, it's been on. We've been on three dates. Shouldn't we have the DTR conversation already, or how can we still haven't had that conversation? Don't put that pressure on yourself. A relationship already gives you a lot of pressure and anxiety.
00:05:01 - 00:10:04
Why have those external forces stress you out? So my first initial thought is, let's figure out when do you think is the right time? And that's the right time. It's interesting because we've heard a lot of people say like they view exclusivity different than defining the relationship, really. Defining the relationship almost feels more serious, more committed. And I think that, you know, I was a little skeptical of this at first, but the more and more I'm coming around to it, because I do think there is an ease in. And I don't think that, you know, if you really are truly looking for a committed relationship, just being like, I'm exclusive in this person not giving you what you're looking for. I don't think that's a solution either. But what it is nice for is it can start these conversations. And especially if sex is on the table, that's a really easy area to bring up that, hey, you know, like I'm at this place in my life that I want to be exclusive before having sex because I want to be sleeping with one person and know they're doing the same. And I think with COVID, that is not an unreasonable ask whatsoever. So I think that's totally fair game pending that is what you want if you don't want that, then of course you don't need to say that. And I think though the other piece is not being afraid to say notions of a committed relationship, even before you have this official DTR convo. And we've talked about it before, we don't think this needs to be like this. Sit down and let's hash it out convo. It can just be a simple. Yeah, it doesn't need to be that, but I think even before you get to a point where it's more formalized, you can say like, hey, I'm looking for a committed relationship. Like even knowing that you both are on the same page is a huge step. Yeah, and the timing of all of this can be a little tricky. You know, my favorite show, the bachelor, which is no longer my favorite show. I've been watching the last two seasons. A complete lie. But if you watch all the other like a hundred seasons of it, you know that the bachelor always falls in love simultaneously with multiple women, and some relationships just move faster than the other, so then he ends up choosing the one where he felt like the relationship progressed the most. So when we're in a dating culture where we do date multiple people, it could happen that someone could have feelings with someone else much faster than they do with you. And that is okay, right? Like you might see that as you losing that person, but maybe at the end of the day, see it as that person found their match. So that gives you the chance to find yours as well. We all want people to be happy in relationships. So you didn't lose this person is that this person found a better match and you just go find one for yourself too. Totally. I've had so many situations that I remember being the person that they didn't move forward with. And two of them that are coming to mind are now married to the people that they did. So it's like clearly this was a good match for them and a good fit for them. And now that I've found my person, I'm like, you know, I'm freaking happy for them. Good for that. We just weren't the right fit. So I think there is that what you were saying is there's going to always be the situation that you can't control if someone jives better with someone else. That being said, I think you can put your best foot forward to be connecting with dates as much as you possibly can. And there may be a time that it's just not enough. But I think by putting out there, what is it that are common goals are? Letting this person know that you also are looking for a committed relationship if that's what you're looking for. And then using that time to get to know them and connect on a deeper level that this person feels deeply seen and heard with you. And if that's the case, even if they're dating someone else in this person ask them for exclusivity, they're going to be like, well, I have this other person that's interesting in my pipeline, but if they are dating multiple people and you've never said anything, you are having superficial conversations on dates. Of course, they're going to take this other option, right? Because they probably have a better vibe going with them. But I think ultimately, if they really did have that vibe with you, they would probably come to you at that stage and say like, hey, this is what's going on for me. Where are you at too? What intrigues me about this question, Julie, is that this person said, two women that I've been seeing, I lost them both. Also means you were not committed yourself, were you? You were also mitigating risk, hedging your bets, and sometimes when you do that too much, you know what I'm saying, this person is, but people can feel it on dates. Yes, they can. If you're not fully devoted to creating connection or you're not fully present, they can feel it. And of course, they will go with someone else who is more in it than you are. So I get it. You don't want to put all your eggs in one basket, you're dating around. But if you truly feel strongly about one person, show them. Tell them. Let them know. Because in today's dating world, it's like, you never know how many people the person you're seeing is also seeing.
00:10:04 - 00:15:02
No, I would so much rather shoot my shot in them, say, I actually don't want this with you. And then you can move on. They can move on to find the person that's a better suited match for them. I think this goes back to the fact that we view dating as a game and we're so achievement focused that this whole notion of losing this person and not doing it fast enough. You should do it when you and this person have a connection and you're like, I can't imagine not dating this person, not because you're like hedging your bets with multiple people and afraid they're going to go off with someone else. This isn't like, I don't know, The Hunger Games or something where you need to get your phone and move forward, right? I think a lot of people would describe the dating scene as hunger games and stuff. That might resonate with a lot of people. Yeah, I remember you also don't want to pressure the other person. I remember this one time. I was seeing two guys. I felt like my feelings were much stronger with one of them. So I was breaking up the other one, and he said, with things change, if I told you right now that your mind and your my girlfriend and I want to take you on a vacation and we're going to do this. And I'm like, no, you can't force it. I already have feelings for someone else. So even that, he tried to win in the situation. It just made me cringey remorse. No, I've already told you how I feel. But I think that's what it comes down to. Instead of focusing on when's the right time to have this conversation, focus on how do you make those feelings so strong with one another, that it's undeniable that it's the right connection. I remember when I met my now partner, I wasn't even dating other people, because I just felt strongly about him, and I was like, I've dated enough to know what's out there. I've had enough interactions in my life, Friends wise to know who I jive with. There's something interesting here, and then I wasn't even thinking about defining the relationship, but because we did have that connection, it was something that was brought up really early. And you know, we had these conversations, probably within the first month. But it felt right. And I think other people, I've also either wanted to have that conversation and they didn't or I could feel that. So it wasn't even like I had the conversation. And I think ultimately you know if things are moving in the direction of a defined relationship, like I had another my most serious acts before, this partner, I remember, I don't know, I think it was like a couple months that we didn't define the relationship, but we were doing all this stuff together. It was very clear that it was going in that direction. And then one day we were just walking down the street and he's like, oh yeah, you're my girlfriend, right? Like that was our DTR convo. I'm like, obviously, right? Yeah, it's the DTR doesn't need to be so contrived. I feel like when you feel like it's right, it's probably right. And it doesn't have to be like my partner was very defiant to labels. He did not want labels. And so we didn't define the relationship for at least 5 months, I would say, but we were with each other. I don't know how he had time for other people because we were basically together that whole time. And it didn't give me anxiety after kind of like spending so much time with him. It's just like, I just knew that this was something. So it doesn't have to be so formal. You are this to me or on this to you. It's like you feel like it's the right moment and you just tell each other. That's it. Yeah, I think mine kind of came in stages too. It gets started off as like the exclusivity chat because we were like getting intimate. So it started that way. And then it became more of us deciding that we're going to both delete the app. So we kind of did that together and got rid of them. And then I think I just called him my boyfriend in front of friends. Because we had had these convos, but we didn't necessarily have this, are we officially boyfriend girlfriend, but we take it all these other steps, and then when he heard me say it, he's like, oh yeah, of course, this sounds good. I'm gonna say it back. That's like a great test. I don't want to say Tess, but it is kind of a test when you are around your friends or his friends. Introduce you. Yeah, that's kind of like, um, how is he gonna introduce me that right? Interesting. Or take the reins yourself, right? Yes. Yes. But I know a lot of people asking this question want a definitive answer. Is it like in the first month? Is it in the first three dates? And that is not the way to look at this. There is no answer for you and also your first three dates could be extremely intense and intimate or your first three dates are like walking coffee date for 30 minutes each. So it's hard for us to tell you a definitive timeline. It's really based on your gut feeling. I'm spending time with this person. I really like them. I actually don't want to see other people. And me on the receiving end of that person would be like, I want to hear that.
00:15:02 - 00:20:03
I would want to do that. That's why we can't be afraid to have these conversations and they can be a series of conversations. They don't need to be this, sit down and chat conversation. It can be something as simple like, hey, I'm like really digging our time together. That is positive reinforcement that is not putting anything out there, but then of course if they have someone else, if you guys are sharing this moment of we're really bonding, we're really loving this. This is so exciting. If someone else comes around ask that person for exclusivity, they're going to be like, wait, I have this other person. Talk about it. I think to the point around the number of dates is such a good one, because we're so achievement focused. So numeric focus. And I've definitely been victim of this too of like by day three. We need to be intimate in some ways. We need to feel like we're moving into being a couple. And it doesn't work that way because three dates to could be we've heard people say that they've been dating for months and they go on one date every month or one day every three months and it's like that's not the same as if you're seeing this person, you know, multiple times a week. And for me, for instance, with my current partner, I've actually never defined the relationship as soon as we had. And I think one was that I just felt right really early. It felt different, but also we saw each other multiple times in a week. Like it wasn't just like this one time a week, maybe once every other week. I think there's just so many variables that can say what the connection is. And even if you're seeing someone once a week, we said in the last week's episode, you could have totally surface level conversations or you can really get to know this person. Yeah. And maybe someone's asking like, when do I know that's where we're at? Maybe some of us are not as in tune with like maybe we're feeling towards the other person. I guess for me, the time marker has always been the time when I decided that I didn't want to go on any more dates, I just want to keep hanging out with this person. And the times where you're still formalizing the dates, when is our next date? Let's schedule next day. That probably doesn't feel as much of a relationship as like, hey, want to hang out Friday. Let's do something. You just saw each other yesterday at your already making plans to see each other. I think that's so key because I mean, for me, when I met my current partner, I wasn't dating other people just because of just the way it happened to time out and I've also moved past the stage of feeling like it needs to be a numbers game and lighting up multiple dates. So I was not dating anyone. He was dating a he had gone on a few dates and was like actively chatting on the apps and he had shared with me before we had some of these exclusivity conversations like I have these people that have reached out to be on the apps, but I decided I don't want to respond because I'm really enjoying this and I want to focus on this. And I think it wasn't saying like we need to be exclusive right now. It's just sharing where you're at and I know there is an element of bravery that comes with that. But I think you again, I think you know deep down like if this person's going to be receptive or not. Because I was super into him. I was psyched to hear that. But if I wasn't, it would have freaked me out, but then at the same time, that wouldn't have lasted anyways, right? Yeah, good. Good. Yeah, if it freaks you out, then get out. Stop waiting each other's time. Yeah. I'm a big proponent of this move. So I think that before you've had a DTR conversation or anything, how can you start to move yourself as a couple a little more? And start to feel that way. So for instance, when you do early dates, you're typically meeting at a location. And how can you start transitioning that into you are arriving at this location together? Like you would if you were a couple. So for instance, what I would love to do is have someone come over first and clearly you need to get to the point that you're comfortable with this person in your home, but hopefully if you're trying to have a relationship with them, you are getting to that point. And if you're not, that probably says that you're not ready and not there yet. And one of the things that I would do is I would like either they would offer to be like, oh, let me come to your house first. If they kind of took the initiative, or if they weren't taking that initiative, I'd be like, hey, do you want to come over first for some wine and cheese? And then we can go to the restaurant. Something that makes it. We're now operating as a couple. I think that is a huge step forward. So then when these conversations happen, it's like you're already doing the motion. And it's an obvious next step. I truly, truly love that. That is such a great way to build connection with each other. And if you live in a big city where you don't have a car because I really love the whole picking up on dates. Yeah. Other I'm picking someone up or they're picking me up, but in a city like San Francisco or New York, you're not picking people up by car. You can still pick them up by foot. I'll meet you at your doorstep, and then we'll walk to the restaurant together. Maybe we'll get some coffee along the way, or I want to show you this statue that I really love.
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So then you start having shared experiences versus like, yeah, waiting for someone to show up at a restaurant on a bar feels very much me versus you. It does not feel like you're on the same team yet. So that's a really great way to build that connection. Show up together. I love what you said too, is like even if you're not comfortable having this person in the house, meet at your doorstep. There's many different things that you can do to get those wheels turning. And I remember my boyfriend picking me up. Even to go to his house to make dinner or something. And it was so nice because it made it feel like I'm one caring for you, but also like we're in it together to take this next move. Yeah, that's so great. So there you go, like shifting your focus less on how many dates you've been on, should you DTR is not the right time to how can I build a connection with this person where we feel more like a team so that we know we get a glimpse of what's like to be in a relationship with each other before we make that decision to DTR or be exclusive. Then you're not losing anyone, you're just, you know, that person was to be someone else. That's a better fit for them. You just need to accept that. Like if you, I really believe if you can feel like you're doing all you can, you can not control the way the other person reacts. If you're not putting your full self out there, then there's always this what if. Like what if I had actually showed a little more interest or what if I had made my intentions more clear? So how can we move that we don't have any of these what ifs? And then just accept everything else will fall into place. Whether that's what you want or even if it's not what you want in that moment. That's great. No regrets. No looking back. Oh my God, I had so many years that I just didn't make moves because I was like waiting or afraid or whatever. And I wish I just did and then at least I would have an answer. Yes, yes, and then fucking move on. Exactly. The answer move on. So you can go to brunch, damn it. Yes, exactly. Okay, last thing to add here, though, with this get the answer move on. I think if you are early, like within the first month, maybe not everyone is there, isn't there yet? And that's okay too. As long as you feel like this connection is building and there's a chance it will get there. But I think we do need to be cognizant that people move at different speeds and ultimately if someone's not moving at the speed you want to, then of course it's your decision then to be like, this isn't the right fit because we're not aligned, but I think especially if we're going to say like, I want to be with someone from date one. That just might not be realistic either. Anything else? No, I think that's it. Happy brunching. Yeah, we'll leave you all to brunching, sending your questions. You can email us hello at a dateable podcast dot com or you can DM us on Instagram at dateable podcasts. We love the questions. Keep them coming because we're not stopping these episodes. So we need the questions. Yep, if you're not already subscribed to the podcast, make sure to do that because you'll get these episodes as soon as they drop. Just a reminder that our primary episode drops on Tuesdays and now our brunch talk drops on Sundays. So if you're subscribed, you will get access. First, so make sure you're subscribed. Yeah, subscribe. Ding, ding, ding. Okay, happy brunching. We'll see you all next time. Brunch talk. Bye. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network. Find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tag us in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those pose. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos, and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect, analyze, and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitcher radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. 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