Let me paint you a word picture of dating in 2022. You’re seeing someone. You like them. You kind of want to know where they stand, too. You’re paralysed with fear at the thought of the “what are we” talk.

I get it, you watched too many gently misogynistic rom-coms in the early 2000s and now you having crippling anxiety around intimacy. We’ve all been there, babes!

The “what are we” talk is fkn scary. But with Valentine’s Day rearing its ugly, pink, Guylian chocolate-seashell-flavoured head, it’s always a good idea to figure out where you stand in a relationship.

Enter DTR-ing: AKA Defining The Relationship. In essence, DTR-ing is about figuring out if your situationship is a potential relationship or a simply situation.

Welcome to the wild, horny world of modern dating. We have to keep making up words to keep track of what’s going on.

But the situationship isn’t going anywhere. According to Hinge, one in three of its users has been in a situationship in the last year.

So if you want to suss the next step of your relationship, having a convo about it is the best way forward.

Logan Ury, Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science (the only science I’m into) broke down some hot tips for approaching the convo.

“Bring up the conversation when you feel like you’re ready to stop seeing other people and would feel comfortable making it official,” she said.

“This is different for everyone. If you know you’re someone who rushes into things, check in with a few friends for a gut check on your timing.”

This is the ultimate rule of friendship. When you’re blinded by your love and/or lust goggles, your besties usually know what’s up.

Ury also recommended talking in person, which I fully support. Who hasn’t tried to have a serious convo over text only for it to fully devolve into panicked chaos?

“One trick for tough talks is to start by announcing how awkward you feel,” Ury said.

“This alerts the person to the fact that you feel vulnerable, which helps elicit a more empathetic response. Try an opener like “I feel awkward bringing this up, but . . .” or “It’s always hard to ask this, but . . .”

“Obviously, you could just straight up ask, “are we dating?”. If that feels too direct, one technique is to say, “My friends are asking me what we are. What should I tell them?””

Ah, the old “my friends want to know” trick. Works every time.

You should also make it clear to the other person what you want to know from them.

“Are you looking for clarity on your labels? Do you want to know if you’re sexually exclusive? Are you hoping to complete the ultimate modern-day romantic ritual: deleting your dating apps? You may not get the response you want,” Ury said.

“Remember, this is a conversation, not a negotiation. Respect what the other person says. Listen. This is about learning how they feel, not persuading them to give you what you want.

“Even if you don’t receive the answer you hoped for, at least you have additional information.”

Who doesn’t love a bit of empirical data at the end of the day?

So if you’re in a situationship and want to take it a step further, don’t be afraid to Define The Relationship this Valentine’s Day.

Yes, DTR sounds a little bit like a sex position. But at the end of the day, what’s more sexy than emotional intimacy? You know I’m right.

No one enjoys being hurt or confused in a relationship, casual or not. I hate to say it but honesty actually is the best policy.

So buy that pack of overpriced Valentine’s Day chocolates, have a chat with your mates and go forth. D that R.

Image: Dreamworks