By Griffin Wynne

Wondering how to have the “what are we” conversation? DTR may feel uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. My interview with Bustle offers best practices: #DTR #datingadvice

Griffin writes, “As your feelings continue to grow for someone you’ve been hanging out with, it may feel like it’s time to set sound boundaries. And even if you know that you’re looking for a capital-P Partner, you may be at a loss when it comes to telling your situationship you’re looking for a relationship.

According to Damona Hoffman, certified dating coach and host of The Dates & Mates Podcast, a “situationship” is somewhere in between friends with benefits (FWB) and a committed relationship. But unlike a strict FWB situation or an official relationship, the marking of a situationship is a lack of commitment, labels, and any sort of DTR. You may know how you feel, but you have no idea what you are — hookups? Lovers? Seeing each other?

As Susan Winter bestselling author and relationship expert, tells Bustle, sometimes you don’t know what an initial connection will turn into. “Relationships always hold the ability to evolve beyond the point from which they began,” Winter tells Bustle. “Whether that happens or not depends upon the mentality, disposition, and desire of the individuals involved.”

While leaving space for your connection to grow can feel good, Winter and Hoffman agree that too much ambiguity can lead to heartache. If you’ve been spending a lot of time with someone and started to have deeper feelings for them, it’s natural to crave some type of clarity commitment.

“The issue with many daters today which causes them to feel stuck and dissatisfied is that not enough people are willing to express what they truly want due to fear of rejection,” Hoffman says. “If you’re seeing someone casually and want it to be something more, you owe it to yourself and to them to express how you’re feeling.”

How To Ask “What Are We?” In A Situationship

If you hate confrontation or get nervous asking for things, the “What are we?” talk can feel intimidating. Yet, Hoffman shares that starting this conversation is the only way to turn a situationship into a real relationship. Hoffman suggests starting the conversations with a “personal share,” or a statement of your own feelings like, “I really like spending time with you, and I’m starting to have more serious feelings,” or “I’m decided I’m going to delete my Tinder, I’m not going to see anyone else right now.”

Using “I statements” avoids putting them directly on the spot. After opening the conversation, Hoffman and Winter suggest taking a moment to let your date process. While you may be eager to hear their thoughts, giving them some time to formulate their response can help them feel more comfortable.

Winter says that editing yourself or softening your desires will only lead to further miscommunication and potential resentment. In other words, if you want a committed serious partnership, you don’t need to pretend to be “chill” about it.”

Continue Reading: