If you’ve been casually dating someone and you want to make it official, it’s probably going to take — drumroll — a conversation that defines your relationship. If you’re confident they want the same thing and you love having chats about feelings and boundaries, this might be no biggie to you at all. But if you’re feeling iffy about saying how you feel out loud, you might be thinking of an alternative and wondering… can you make a relationship official over text?
God, that would be so easy, wouldn’t it? If they don’t want to be exclusive, you don’t have to wear a poker face and play it cool, and if they do, then you sorted it out in a few quick texts. While texting is a great, efficient, and totally acceptable form of communication, some things can be lost via text. Words could be misconstrued, tone can be misread, and you miss the information you absorb from facial expressions and general vibe during an in-person conversation. So, first consider why you’d rather DTR over text instead of IRL.
If your reasoning for wanting to text instead of talk in person is that you’re too shy to do it face-to-face or uncertain about the other person’s response, you might be jumping the gun. Although every situation is different, online dating expert Julie Spira knows how to be sure you’re not DTR-ing too early. "Remember, you’re just getting to know someone, and both of you are on [your] best behavior," Spira tells Elite Daily. "You also don’t know if the person you’re dating is still dating others or has an active dating profile up. Once you’ve got a strong connection, are talking and texting daily, it’s a good time to let the person know you’re enjoying the direction your relationship is going in."
If, like Spira says, you and your bae are talking and texting daily, and you feel comfortable bringing up the subject of exclusivity, texting might feel like a natural extension of your day-to-day contact. Let’s say you decide to text your boo so you craft the perfect message, take a deep breath, and hit send. Now what? Get comfortable and prepare to stare at your phone for hours and hours?
Please don’t — go out and live your amazing life and don’t panic if you don’t hear back immediately. Kali Rogers, CEO and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, says to be sure to give the other person time to think and respond. You just threw that person some realness and they might need a moment to process, gather their feelings, and write back. "Some [people] take longer to work through feelings than others," she says. "Be patient and allow time for processing."
If they aren’t sure what they want or how they feel, they might not respond for a while, which could be nerve-wracking. (I’d probably be pacing my living room wondering, "Are they freaking out? Are they laughing at me? Are they moving to Mars?" until they eventually responded.) But if you were having the conversation in person, you could read their body language and facial expression, and get a lot more information about how they’re really feeling.
So while a face-to-face conversation is likely to provide you with a better sense of their reaction and possibly give you a more immediate answer, there’s not one right way to bring up the subject of defining your relationship. Rogers tells Elite Daily, "As long as you’re honest, there probably isn’t a ‘right’ way to start the conversation."
The most important things to know going into this chat is how you feel, what you want, and knowing that no matter their response — you will be just fine. If you’re more comfortable with texting and feel confident you’re not choosing texting out of avoidance, go ahead and type away.
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