When Should You Become Exclusive in a Relationship?

List: Posted: 08/09/11

So you've been a dating a great guy for a long enough time to see everything is moving well and that there may be a possible future.  You both seem to have a real connection, and you see yourself spending more time with him.  The next question you begin to consider is whether or not it's time to move your relationship to the next level by becoming exclusive, or to continue taking things slow. 


Ultimately, the answer should be a joint decision between you and your love interest.  Moving your relationship to a committed and exclusive level can be considered a milestone, which means it shouldn't be rushed.  You might be wondering when the time is to have a DTR (Define The Relationship) talk. 


Before you become a nagging woman that may scare her man away, approach the conversation with necessary precautions.


Exclusivity Rule #1: Know What You Want

Before you ask your man to commit and become exclusive, you have to ensure that this is definitely what you want.  Are you doing this because your feelings are continuing to grow, or is it more like you are asking because you think it is expected?  As soon as you know you want to become more serious with him, then that's the right time to ask him if he wants the same.  However, be sure to set realistic expectations.  Expecting to get engaged after a few months of dating is setting the bar too high, and your frequent hints that you should both stop by the jewelers to look at rings can cause strain on the budding relationship.


Exclusivity Rule #2: Do a Background Check

Essentially, you're the best judge on how much genuine interest he has in in you.  There is no point in asking your man to be exclusive if he has mentioned (or acts like) he has no intention of having a long term relationship.  To ask an uncommitted man for a future will only be the signal for him to freak out and leave you. 


Ask yourself if you've been able to trust everything he says.  When he talks about the future, does he include you in it?  Also, have you met any of his friends or family?   If not, and there's no good reason for it, you should start to wonder what he may be hiding (it may be you).


Exclusivity Rule #3: Plan the Next Step

There's no denying that the amount of time spent in your relationship can determine if it should become an exclusive one.  The more time you spend together, the more you become familiar with each other's personalities, and grow aware of what works. 


If you like what you see and have positive feelings about where things are going, then you may have a good chance of having a successful, long term relationship with him.  It is also through time that you establish trust between the two of you, and learn how to create effective channels of communication that will help your relationship grow stronger and survive long term.

To be in an exclusive relationship can be the best thing that can happen to you and your partner.  Only the two of you can really tell when it is best to be exclusive, or if the relationship is even fit enough to become one.  You can pick up on the small, mundane clues that can best tell if your man is willing to make you his lady, but you have to be sure that he wants the same as you, too

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