How do I start the “Let’s be exclusive” conversation?

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Eventer66 asks:

I’m wondering when you have the conversation on being exclusive? I have been seeing a guy steadily for four months. Things have been good. He recently got out of a relationship of two years. We agreed to start as friends and that  we’d take things slow. Never been in a relationship or anything before and he is about 5 years older. He is respectful and we took things slow. I am not seeing anyone else and as far as I know he isn’t ether. My question is when and how to bring up the exclusive conversation? He said he was looking for a long-term relationship and so was I. Am I rushing things? What would you guys do or how do you bring up the convo? I’m a 22F.

Thank you!


Demetrius says:

I think if you had a conversation today about becoming official that’d be okay. 4 months might seem like a small amount of time to be dating someone, so let’s put 4 months into perspective, with MATH. You’re 22 years old which means that you’ve lived at least 1144 months in your life. If you’ve been dating this guy for 4 months, that means that you’ve been dating him for about 0.35% of your entire life. I think if you’ve invested about a third of 1% of your entire life to dating someone, you can bring up being exclusive. I dunno, just my opinion. I’m a big believer in the idea that time is a precious resource and as of today, you’ve given him a fairly significant amount of your time. I think that more than earns you, at minimum, a conversation.

Now, with that said, here’s a bit of a reality check. Let me first say, this isn’t about you specifically, it’s about dating in general.  In your case it’s okay to bring up an exclusivity talk, and I think that in most cases by the 3rd month of dating you can bring up an exclusivity talk. BUT, even if doing so at the 3 month mark is the right thing to do, it doesn’t mean these conversations will always go off without a hitch. Sometimes, even if you do everything right in how you progress from meeting, to dating, to trying to get into an exclusive and monogamous relationship, the person you’re interested in could still turn things around and make it seem like you’re moving too fast. Some people use “too fast too soon” as an easy way out of a dating situation they weren’t all that excited about to begin with. Or they really do mean it, and they just prefer to take a much longer time to decide on exclusivity than other people. Or, and in the interest of transparency I’ll say that this was my primary tactic when someone tried to have a relationship defining talk with me before I hit my 30s, they’re reluctant to commit and stalling for time. There will never be a “right” time to have a conversation about exclusivity with someone who is wrong for you.

The best way to bring up an exclusivity talk is to do so as a dialogue, rather than a demand. I’m not saying that if this guy says he’s not ready for an exclusive commitment you have to keep dating him. What I’m saying is that these sort of conversations can go much smoother if you ask if someone wants to be exclusive with you rather than telling them it’s either a commitment or goodbye. That can be the case, but you don’t want to start a conversation with a demand first. If you want a basic script for how to bring up the conversation, you can use this one (If you’re a dater in a similar situation, swap out 4 months with however long you’ve been dating your boo/beau):

 "Hey, we've been dating for 4 months and I like how things are going, but I'd love to have a conversation about exclusivity. No pressure, just want to talk about it"

Beyond that, all I can say is best of luck to you. If he’s commit minded, and interested in continuing to date you, I can’t see how saying that to him will freak him out. Seriously, that’s as innocuous as you can get as far as asking about someone’s level of interest in a relationship. If he freaks out, he’s probably a lot less commitment minded then you think.

Good Luck Out There.

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