TR is a way to propel your relationship forward. At times, it is a necessary step. Otherwise, it can be a simple conversation that sets the stage for something greater in the future. Whatever your DTR conversation may be, there are ways to start the conversation in both good and not as good ways. For example, you never want to start the conversation with “We need to talk” because it is intimidating for the other partner. Instead, go for conversation starters that are questions, such as posing the “We need to talk” as a question. Other conversation starters will be discussed in this article such as:

  • How to start the conversation
  • Best conversation starters and where to go from there
  • Things to avoid
Man holding baby's breath behind his back for a woman that is blurred
Each person in the relationship may have different wants and needs going forward, but getting the conversation started is always a good idea.

How to start the DTR conversation

There are a variety of possible conversation starters, and these are just a few

The best way to begin to discuss DTR is to be open and honest. This includes sharing what is on your mind as well as what you want out of the relationship. Sharing with your partner what you want will allow them to open up as well, only leading to positive conversations.

Starting the conversation on DTR means discussing whether you want to be exclusive. This may mean different things to different people. For example, some people may find that being exclusive means solely being with the one person you are dating. Other people may think that it is more of a suggestion, and that dating is still an open possibility.

This is where DTR comes into play. You can discuss what being exclusive means to each of you, and come to an agreement of sorts. In this way, the conversation starters can vary and encompass a wide range of possibilities.

DTR Conversation Starter #1: "I love spending time with you"

To start, one good conversation starter can begin with something along the lines of “I love spending time with you.” This can gradually transition into more insightful conversation about whether or not you are looking to become exclusive. This also avoids the awkward tension that will most likely arise if you simply start the conversation with something more blunt about simply stating that you need to talk. “I love spending time with you” is more of a sweet way to start the conversation, and you are opening a door for further discussion.

DTR Conversation Starter #2: "I feel lucky we've gotten to know each other"

Another good conversation starter is by expressing gratitude that you have gotten to know one another. This can go along the lines of “I feel lucky that we’ve had this time to get to know one another,” or something to that effect. This simple way of opening up the door to a deeper conversation allows for a broad possibility of further conversation to happen. Additionally, your partner will feel appreciative of how you have started the conversation, and this will lead them to have a greater desire to open up to you! Make it a casual yet meaningful conversation and both of you will feel great about the possibilities to come.

DTR Conversation Starter #3: "Spending time with you makes me feel..."

Yet another way to start the DTR conversation is to express your feelings. This can be a conversation starter along the lines of “It makes me feel [fill in the blank] when we hang out.” Being open and honest about how you are feeling, whether that is happy, giddy, great, grand, overwhelmed with positive feelings, or any other wide range of feelings will push the other person you are talking to into a more open space. Starting out with the simplicity of how you are feeling about the other person when you are spending time with each other is sure to spark a deeper conversation. Additionally, the conversation doesn’t necessarily have to be a deep, life changing conversation, for instance. It can simply be a check in of where you are and where your partner is--how you are both feeling and where things look to be going in the future. Then, later down the line, you can have those more complicated discussions that are sure to be life changing.

DTR Conversation Starter #4: "I really like what we have going here"

Another conversation starter can be something along the lines of “I really like what we’ve got going. How would you feel about making it exclusive?” This may be overwhelming to read and seems too straight to the point, but that is exactly why it’s a good way to start the DTR conversation. Be open and honest, and that is what will be reciprocated to you from your partner. Getting straight to the point makes it all the more possible for your partner to feel comfortable about responding in such a way. At the same time, you can find much success in opening up and even if you think that it will be too much of a shock to your partner, you will be able to find the truth in where you stand.

DTR Conversation Starter #5: "Just checking in on expectations"

Three other good questions to pose that are not too intimidating for your partner are “How do you think our relationship is going?” “I’m having a lot of fun and am wondering how you’re feeling. How do you see us moving forward?” And lastly, “How do you feel about us only seeing each other?” All of these questions avoid the terms ‘commitment’ or ‘exclusivity’, which can be overwhelming, as we mentioned above. Instead, they focus on the positive aspects of the relationship. Additionally, all of these questions are succinct and allow for a wide range of follow up questions and inquiries. This will allow your partner the possibility of a wide range of answers, and then you will be sure of where the relationship is going. On the other hand, you may be scared that this will lead your partner to answer in a way that you do not want to hear. This is all part of the process, even though it may be nerve wracking and scary. It is better to be open and vulnerable and then have someone answer in a way you are not sure of rather than never open up at all and never be certain of where your relationship is or where it is going.

Man and woman lying in the gras with their faces close to one another
Opening up about where you want to be in the relationship will lead to your partner to do the same. Even if it isn’t the answer you are looking for, it will be all the better when you are open and vulnerable.

The best conversation starters and where to go once you have DTR

Some conversation starters are better than others, and then can lead to positive outcomes

As mentioned above, the best conversation starters to DTR include open ended questions or statements that allow the person on the receiving end to be as open and vulnerable as the person seeking the answer. Once you have begun the conversation, the rest will hopefully flow smoothly and you will get the answers you have been looking for! This can be in a number of things, such as whether or not you are exclusive with your partner, how the relationship will look moving forward, as well as a wide range of various other topics where the conversation can go.

Once you have DTR, you will be able to move forward in positive strides with your relationship knowing where you stand and how your partner feels about the situation. It will be magical how well you are on the same page and how you know what each other is thinking.

Man and woman with their faces close together
Opening up can be nerve wracking, so avoiding some particular no-nos is important.

Things to avoid when starting the DTR conversation

Overall the experience should be a positive one, so avoid a few no-nos

As mentioned above, it is best to avoid some key trigger words that are difficult for some partners to either grasp or fully get the full meaning behind, whether they are scared of the commitment  or just nervous about some specific aspects of DTR. These words can be ‘commitment’ and ‘exclusivity’ specifically, but other trigger words that you have discussed with your partner or have lacked in discussing may come to mind for you.

There are a number of ways to start the DTR conversation. Above are some, just to name a few, and can open up the conversation even more than you have ever thought in your wildest dreams. Be open and honest, and prepare for a number of responses. Then, you will be sure to have an experience that you won’t forget, and hopefully remember fondly for the rest of your life.

Originally published 2/1/22.

Jan 19, 2024